John Wall only played at Kentucky for one season but his connection will last a lifetime

John Wall

When John Wall arrived as a freshman at the University of in 2010, it was an open secret that his stay in Lexington would last just one season. He was the top-ranked player out of high school, the headliner for the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class, and the consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft.

was in his first year as Kentucky’s coach and did not deny the one-and-done reality; he encouraged it. He had coached Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans at Memphis and made one request to his latest prized point guard: take the other guys to the NBA with you. Those other guys included fellow freshmen DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, and . Everyone was on board from the start except for one: Bledsoe.

“He used to come in and tell me, ‘Eric doesn’t believe he can do this, Coach,’ ” Calipari recalled in a telephone interview. “‘He doesn’t believe he’s an NBA player.’ I said, ‘What? We got a job then. We’re going to convince him that he is because he is. We’re going to get in his mind with the right stuff.’ ”

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