John Wall, whose full name is Johnathan Hildred Wall, Jr. was born September 6, 1990. Wall is the son of Frances Pulley and John Carroll Wall, Sr., who was in prison for most of Wall's childhood for robbery with a dangerous weapon. When Wall was 9 years old, his father was released from prison but died of liver cancer a month later, on August 24, 1999 at the age of 52. Throughout his childhood, Wall's mother worked multiple jobs to support Wall, his sister, Cierra, and his half-sister, Tonya.
Wall played his first two years of high school basketball at Garner Magnet High School in Garner, North Carolina. After his second season, his family moved to Raleigh, and Wall repeated his sophomore year at Needham B. Broughton High School. Despite a very impressive tryout, Wall was cut from the Broughton basketball team for attitude-related issues. As a result Wall transferred from Broughton High School to Word of God Christian Academy, also in Raleigh. In the summer of 2007, after his sophomore year of high school, Wall was invited to the 2007 Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia. Wall distinguished himself from the competition, scoring 28 points against a team that featured future lottery pick Brandon Jennings.
In 2008, Wall played in the Elite 24 Hoops Classic. Wall scored 10 points and earned co-MVP honors with Dominic Cheek,
Maalik Wayns and Lance Stephenson. As a fifth-year senior in the 2009, Wall averaged 19.7 points, 9 assists and over 8 rebounds for Word of God Christian Academy and was ranked as one of the best high school basketball players in his class. Wall led Word of God to the North Carolina Class 1A state championship where they were defeated by United Faith Christian Academy 56-53 after United Faith's Ian Miller hit a 40 foot shot at the buzzer. Wall scored 11 points in the game. He was selected to participate in the 2009 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon. He scored 13 points to go along with 11 assists and 5 steals. He was also selected to play in the 2009 Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden where he notched 6 assists.
Wall was originally recruited by the University of Kentucky, Duke University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Kansas. Wall committed to attend the University of Kentucky on May 19, 2009. Wall and his teammates were introduced to Kentucky fans through the annual Big Blue Madness event. At this event, which had more attention to it than normally given due to the anticipated recruiting class, players were introduced with music one at a time at a raised platform high above the arena. This is when John Wall first performed what has come to be known as the “John Wall Dance” – turning his right arm in a biceps “flex”, then rotating his hand out. This dance has taken on a life of its own through web viewings, photos of people doing the dance across the world, and more. He was suspended by the NCAA from Kentucky's first exhibition game and first regular season game, for travel benefits he received from his AAU coach, Brian Clifton, who was a certified agent at the time. In his first action as a Wildcat, in an exhibition game against Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Wall led his team with 27 points and 9 assists in 28 minutes of playing time.
- 11/16/09 – In his collegiate debut at Kentucky versus Miami University, Wall made the game winning shot with .5 seconds left on the clock to help then # 5 ranked Kentucky win. He finished with 19 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
- 11/19/09 – In his 2nd career game, against Sam Houston State, Wall topped his debut performance with 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists in a 102–92 winning effort.
- 11/21/09 – In his 3rd career game, against Rider, Wall scored 21 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, 11 assists, and having only 2 turnovers.
- 11/24/09 – In his 5th career game, against Stanford, Wall scored a career high 23 points, hitting 2 free throws with 2.4 seconds left to send the game in to overtime.
- 12/05/09 – In his 7th career game Wall and the Wildcats faced one of their major rivals, North Carolina, who was ranked #10 at the time. Wall battled cramping throughout the game but was able to lead his team to victory despite the fact that they squandered a double digit lead in the second half, with the final score being 68–66. Wall contributed 16 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
- 12/09/09 – In his first game in Madison Square Garden, against then-ranked #12 Connecticut, Wall scored a team-high 25 points, to go with 6 steals, and scored 12 of UK's last 15 points for a 64–61 victory, moving Kentucky to #3 on the AP polls.
- 12/12/09 – Against UK's rebuilding rival Indiana, Wall scored a career-low 11 points and turned the ball over once, while playing all but one minute of the game. This game marked the third time in Wall's 9-game career that he scored at least 10 points and had at least 8 assists, which leaves him 2 games away from tying a UK record, which was set by Wayne Turner.
- 12/29/09 – Against Hartford Wall set the UK single game assist record with 16, 11 in the 1st half, and only 1 turnover. The mark was previously held by Travis Ford, at 15, and was broken on Ford's 40th birthday. Wall failed to break double digits in scoring (9 points) for the first time in his college career.
On April 7, 2010, Wall announced that he would forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2010 NBA Draft, where he was expected to be the first overall selection for the Washington Wizards. On May 3, Wall signed with agent Dan Fegan.
On June 23, 2010, Reebok revealed Wall as its latest signing, casting him as the face of its latest basketball shoe, the ZigTech Slash. On June 24, 2010, Wall was drafted as the first overall pick by the Washington Wizards in the 2010 NBA Draft. On June 25, 2010, Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington D.C. declared June 25 as John Wall Day on a plaque handed to John Wall during his Washington Wizards' presser.
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Walter Cornett, of Glendale, Kentucky, is the owner and operator of Walter's Wildcat World. He founded WildcatWorld.com in 1998 making it one of the oldest Kentucky basketball fan sites in operation today.