WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Wall back, calls Lexington his second home

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - John Wall, the first Kentucky player ever to be selected number one overall in the NBA draft, was back in Lexington on Tuesday.

Wall, part of John Calipari's first recruiting class at UK, appeared at Camp One, a three-day basketball camp for kids held at Lexington Christian Academy.

"When you make it somewhere big, always the best thing you get out of it is to give back," Wall said before a camp session. "I always try to give back to the community and it's always great to come back to Lexington. I enjoy myself here."

So much so that Wall said after North Carolina, where he was born, Lexington is his second home.

"I feel like I've been welcome here ever since I took a visit in the 10th grade," Wall said. "I've always liked the campus, the way the students act and the fan base."

Wall said he keeps tabs on the Wildcats during the NBA season. He said like most UK fans, he was disappointed with last year.

UK coach John Calipari is bringing in one of the most highly-regarded recruiting classes in history. But Wall thinks his class (Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, Dodson and Hood) is still tops. Plus, Wall said, his class had an attitude about them.

"It's a pretty good class. They're right up there with us. I would just love to see if they've got the same dog as us," he said. "We had fun with it, but we had the dog at the same time. We'd go to war. I think he's got the right pieces to go to war, but you've got to wait and see."

He missed the beginning of this NBA season due to a knee injury. But when he came back in mid-January, Wall and the Wizards were one of the best teams in the league.

"That made me understand who I am and what it takes to stick with basketball. You sit out so long. All I could do was walk around. I couldn't dribble. I couldn't shoot. There was no point in touching a basketball."

"It made me a better leader because I never wanted to stay back at home and do treatment. I always wanted to go on the road and be with my teammates, be there and sit on the bench, to show those guys I'm into it, so they'll know what kind of a leader and person I am."

Wall said he expects the Wizards to make the playoffs next season for the first time since 2008.

"I'm not even going to talk about it. I'm just going to say playoffs," Wall said. "I feel like we were still 9-10 games away and we started off with a 5-28 record."


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