Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 at 12:05 pm  |  34 responses

Video: John Wall Ballislife Mixtape, Vol. 1

Words by Justin Walsh

Last year, the freshman class in the hoop game didn’t live up to the hype. Cats took a while to hit stride, jumpers took most of the conference schedule to start falling, post moves were weak, crosses got their cookies took and defense was shook. This year, the hype is high once more. In Kansas, Xavier Henry is expected to bring a banner to Jayhawk nation as a freshman. In Texas, Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton feel the need to bring the burnt orange to the Final Four. And in Kentucky, land of hardwood royalty, John Wall is expected to be the entire Justice League in the SEC.

Sure, Kentucky has a loaded frontcourt with three McDonald’s All-American jerseys in their closets, but it’s all about PG play in Kentucky. The weight of every failed season in the past decade for the Wildcats rests on John’s shoulders; each time he walks on campus, hometown heroes living through their favorite athlete give him the look of expectancy. He is expected to be great. He is expected to bring a national championship to Bluegrass land. He is expected to be that guy. Forget that he’s never played a college game yet or been adorned in Kentucky’s finest threads. Best believe John Wall has it sewed up.

Six foot four, arms stretched out like the horizon on the court, John will take your lunch. If you don’t protect the rock bringing it up the floor, get ready to change direction — not one of those ‘cross over your man’ changes of direction, but a ‘get your ass back on defense before he dunks on the home court rims.’ On offense, he might give you the ‘Stackhouse ‘em‘ Special.

Don’t get it twisted; he’s still a young buck. There are times on the court when he forces a drive to the hoop, where he might try to thread the needle in a spot where JKidd himself wouldn’t bother. He’s a young Brett Favre. He’ll take that risk from time to time, but when it’s on… “Got ‘em, coach.”

Will he live up to expectations? Nobody can be sure. PGs these days are so hit or miss. Will he go the way of Felipe Lopez, Kenny Anderson and Julius Hodge? Or will he be the next “Never slip, or he will torch” guard of our generation a la Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Deron Williams? As of yet, nobody can say, but one thing is certain: Opposing teams watch out, John Wall is a problem.

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  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Would have liked to have seen him shoot a few more jumpers.
    But, I am partial to tall point guards. We’ll see how he rolls. Too bad I don’t watch college basketball.

  • James

    no offense to allenp but whats up with people saying they would like to see more jumpshots in a highlight reel? a highlight reel/mixtapes or whatever they call them now a days consists of a player’s most spectacular players n with the kinda hops n handles john wall displays during his games i dont think there is any room in a highlight video to show him shooting jumpshots

  • James

    meant to moves not players*

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    I can’t figure out if the guy is left or right handed

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Well Allenp to be totally honest, he’s not much of a jump-shooting PG. He loves driving, he is a very good passer and as everybody knows, he’s lengthy and athletic as all h e l l.

  • Josh

    Kenny Anderson only went to a Final Four, was the second overall pick in the NBA draft, was an NBA All-Star in 1994 and played 15 years in the NBA. Maybe not the game-changing talent some thought, but doesn’t deserve to be “Lopez”‘d. Just because you’re probably too young to actually remember him playing doesn’t mean he wasn’t good.

  • mike

    co-sign Josh mr. chibbs was no joke

  • Ken

    Good call Josh.

  • Steve

    You can’t put Rose up there under top pgs of this generation when he’s only played one year in the league. Kenny Anderson up to the same point wasn’t much worse.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I find breaking somebody off and then rising up to be beautiful. And, I wanted to see his jumper to see what he was working with. YOu can tell a lot in highlights based on form and whatnot. Anyway, Justin Walsh already addressed my comment, so I’m cool.

  • Matthew

    @Gerard, I was the same way until I saw him shoot a J. That’s a great feeling being a Kentucky fan. He’s right handed btw.

  • yao’s foot

    @matthew he’s actually ambidexterous

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Some of those passes are ridiculous. Good video. I look forward to seeing more of him.

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    I hope that he’ll go to a school that will refine his talent and get him ready for the league

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Josh, Kenny Anderson was NEVER what the hype had him poised to be, and don’t try and say he did. And I never said he wasn’t good. I just find a big difference between what he was and what the hype was. And I remember what both KA and Lopez played like. They were both raw, but never met the hype that they were given. John Wall is the next player that’s being given a ridiculous amount of hype out of HS. So yeah, it’s relevant.

  • mike

    Justin – Kenny Anderson’s career, however, should not be placed on par with the likes of Felipe Lopez and Julius Hodge. He was much more successful that either of those players. That is the mistake you made.

  • Zach

    It will be a bad season if Kentucky don’t put up the 8th banner this year

  • http://slamonline.com YKnot

    I got money on UNC and Dexter Strickland.

  • lawlow

    felipe lopez was sick

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Mike- I can see that view. YKnot Dex and UNC are loaded this year. Definitely nothing to mess with.

  • Jeremy Parker

    No doubt he will one day be one of the NBA’s best PGs. Yeah, he does need to improve his outside game, but the kid can still flat out shoot. Nobody can stop him from penatrating so as long as he is running the point, its gonna result is a beautiful dish and he’s throwing one down. I played against him in the state playoffs his junior year…this clip doesn’t even begin to describe his talent..WATCH OUT!!!

  • http://yahoo Big O.

    John Wall has very good handles, good passer, and can get to the rim at will. Not sure how well his game will translate to the college game. He lacks a reliable jump shot from the games I’ve seen him play. He shows an unwillness to play consistent defense. He is always trying to make the difficult pass and turns the ball over too much. I think the player that will rule the sec is Kenny Boynton, jr. He has the most complete game of any freshman; excellent handles, improving passing game, has nba range, gets to the rim at will, and his game is attack, attack, and more attack. He should be Sec player of the year.

  • http://nationofmillions.ca ciolkstar

    Wall sorta reminds me of Tyreke. Big athletic PG who can’t really shoot but finishes at the rim very well and is near impossible to guard off the dribble. In fact, that sorta describes Derrick Rose as well.
    In that offense with good talent around him he’ll be a monster. Especially if he’s willing to share the ball, play D and manages to mix a few jumpers in with spectacular drives and finishes..

  • mike

    He’s similar to rondo but with nicer form so there is hope that he can become a decent threat from the outside.

  • Erika Badu

    gonna be a stud. I’d trade Derrick Rose for him RIGHT NOW.

  • http://yahoo Big O.

    This kid has somewhat a similiar explosiveness as Derrick Rose. But its ridiculous to say that he will be a great point guard at the NBA level. At the high school level he dominated against inferior talent but the nba is a whole new level. He doesn’t have Derrick Rose skills as an elite point guard. But who knows if he could adjust his game to a more structure system when he gets to Kentucky, he could develop into an elite talent, but that remains to be seen

  • http://yahoo Ballerz

    John Wall or Kenny Boynton?

  • http://yahoo Big O.

    John Wall or Kenny Boynton? Who’s better?

  • http://flp1@cox.net floridafinest008@aim.com

    The future of Kentucky right here, I am pumped to be able to watch this kid in a UK uniform. Go Cat’s!!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Ball Is Life represent.

  • MR4U

    John Wall is the next Travis Ford. Go cats!

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Believe the hype.

  • dang

    wall is sick, ut he’s not fuckin with the boy rose. i mean, rose is cut from an entirely diff cloth.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dave

    If that’s his most spectacular plays I’m not impressed. Then again, the tape is edited so you can’t see the talent of the defenders he’s crossing – it speeds up on the dribble and slows down at the finish, and who can’t hit overhanded layups against guys who can’t play any defence whatsoever?
    But, y’know, I’m hard to please.