People often bemoan the idea of One and Done players, saying they don’t build a connection with the University and the fans don’t get a chance to build a connection with them. I can understand the argument, but it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t hold water at UK. The passion from the big blue fan base and the intensity of the experience allow for any player to become one of The Family no matter how long their stay is here. This was proven earlier this week with one and done’s teaming up with four year players in two awesome ‘non-UK affiliated’ basketball games, but it’s also proven anytime you talk with John Wall or Demarcus Cousins about their time with the program.
While Wall was in Lexington, Eric Lindsey of coachcal.com had a chance to interview him, and the topic of what it means to be a member of the Kentucky family came up. Here’s what he had to say:
Question: What’s it like being back in Lexington?
Wall: It’s great, man. To this day I still think about what may have been. I would have been a junior here and still in school playing basketball. That’s one thing I still miss. But it was a great opportunity. It’s like second home to me. They took us all in and treated us all like their own kids.
Question: Even though you didn’t play with a lot of these guys on the Pros team, you all are joking around cutting up with each other like you’ve played together for years. What is it about UK that brings all the classes together?
Wall: This is like a family. Once you’re a part of it, you’re UK until you die. People would always tell me that before I got here: You go to Kentucky until you die. It’s great to come back here and be here with guys that started it way before use like Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo and Jodie Meeks. Those guys started the legacy and we’re just trying to follow behind.
The interview is full of cool quotes from Wall including his future plans for summers in Lexington and how he expects to have a better year the next chance he gets to play in the NBA. You can check the full transcript out here.