John Calipari has had a multitude of massive recruits commit to play basketball in Lexington. Guys like: Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, the list goes on and on.
The most important commitment of all happened on this date 10 years ago today, when a lanky point guard from North Carolina left the blue bloods in his backyard to play for first year head coach John Calipari. Five-Star point guard John Wall announced his intentions to play basketball at Kentucky on this date ten years ago. Wall would be joined by players like DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton.
The Wall commitment was the spark that the new Kentucky head coach needed to help sell the vision that he had in Lexington. While his actual announcement was anticlimactic, once he reached Lexington it was anything but that.
Just about five months after this moment, Wall delivered one of the most underrated moments in Kentucky Basketball history. While it was as simple as him dancing while being introduced, it means so much more than that now.
For one, it was the first time a Kentucky fan got goosebumps during a moment in quite some time. Why? It just had a feeling that this was the start of something special and was no longer “just a dream.” The dancing by Wall also made the program fun again. When the camera zooms in through the smoke and Wall is shown, it is almost a metaphor for the dark cloud of the Gillispie era being lifted and a new era being born.
After Wall made his pick, Matt Jones wrote on this site the following paragraph with his thoughts on the commitment:
“I like to play devil’s advocate and attempt to look at things rationally and against the normal view held by others. Not this time. We are about to head on a historic run in which Kentucky WILL dominate basketball once again. Read that last sentence…process it and get it down into your pores. The era of Kentucky going to the NIT and making our head hurt is over….the Cats are back and for the next ten years, we will be Top 5 every year for the decade. Period.”
Other than the odd 2013 year, this has proven to come true. The Wall commitment changed not only just Kentucky Basketball, but also college basketball as a whole, because the Cats were back.
Today, we celebrate a big moment in the rebirth of Kentucky Basketball. If it wasn’t for John Wall pledging his commitment for the Cats on this date ten years ago, it is hard to say that the rebuild would have gone as quick as it did.