John Wall. His name resonates with Kentucky Wildcat fans as much as any other player to ever put on a blue and white jersey. His high school basketball mixtape is perhaps one of the greatest ever on YouTube.
And what'd he do at UK?
- Hit a game winner against Miami University in his first collegiate appearance.
- Set the UK record for most assists in a game with 16.
- Set the UK record for most assists in a season with 241.
- Scored the most points in a season by a UK freshman.
- Was the first Wildcat ever to be drafter number one overall.
- Earned SEC Tournament MVP.
- Named to the First Team All-America Team by the U.S Basketball Writers Association.
So yeah, he was a big deal at Kentucky. But injuries have plagued his young career in the NBA. Wall suffered a series of foot and knee injuries during his rookie campaign that limited him to 69 of 82 games. Last season he played and started in every single regular season game averaging 16.3 points, 8 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. But he shot just 42.3 percent from the floor and 3-of-42 from 3-point range.
In September, the Wizards shut Wall down after an MRI revealed the early stages of an injury that could develop into a fractured patella. People began to speculate whether Wall would be able to play at all this season. Some wondered if he'd be a bust.
After undergoing rehabilitation, Wall returned to the court against the Atlanta Hawks Jan. 12 to a standing ovation. That game he recorded 14 points and dished out four assists.
Fast forward to last night. John Wall dropped a career-high 47 points against the Memphis Grizzlies. He also dished out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds in the 107-94 victory. Wall shot 13-of-22 from the field and added 19-of-24 from the charity stripe.
For Wall, tonight's performance was just another in a streak of good games in the month of March. He's averaging 20 points, 8 assists, and 4.3 rebounds on 51.6 (!) percent from the floor and 50 (!!) percent from three.
Without Wall on the floor, the Wizards are 5-28. With him? They are 21-16 and look like an Eastern Conference playoff team. Wall and his agent have been saying that he's worth the maximum contract. With a month like this, can you disagree? I don't think so.