There were few more highly touted prospects in the one-and-done era of men’s College Basketball than John Wall. Born and raised in Raleigh, N.C., it would make sense that he would want to attend the University of North Carolina. However, Wall alleges that a meeting with 2008-09 National Player of the Year — Tyler Hansbrough — changed his mind.
Wall made an appearance on Dallas Mavericks guard Theo Pinson’s podcast — Run your Race. He discussed getting traded from the Washington Wizards, being cut from his high school basketball team, and of course, his time at Kentucky. A period that he claims never would have happened if Hansbrough was nicer to him during his Chapel Hill visit.
“Tyler Hansbrough got his own section, him and his homeboys,” Wall said on the podcast. “I’m the recruit. I walk up and say, ‘what up.’ He said ‘I don’t talk to recruits.’”
How did Hansbrough respond?
Hansbrough has since jumped on Twitter to not only deny that he ever snubbed Wall, but he is also clearly holding onto the same opinions that he had of John Calipari when the Wildcats’ head coach took the job in 2009. An opinion he recklessly threw out, the same way a person with eyes could recklessly say similar things about the program he played for, and all of the other good ones throughout the history of time.
“I’m sure the Bank of Calipari had nothing to do with him going to Kentucky,” Hansbrough tweeted out.
He had better deny what happened because the season after he, Ty Lawson, and a loaded North Carolina team annihilated all comers on their way to a second National Championship in five seasons, the Tar Heels’ title defense produced feeble results.
What a North Carolina team it could have been
The main players from that 2008-09 championship declared for the NBA Draft and the Tar Heels finished 5-11 in ACC play the following season. If Wall was feeding Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Ed Davis the ball that record certainly would have been different.
Whenever Hansbrough takes a trip back to Chapel Hill he needs to be shouting from the highest points of campus that he did not snub a recruit who was a YouTube star before ever setting foot on a college campus with that sensational 2009 mixtape.
It could have been North Carolina undergrads misnaming “The Dougie,” “The John Wall.” They all could have performed the dance — without seasoning — all over campus and Spring Break beaches as UNC finally equaled rival Duke’s accomplishment of winning consecutive National Championships.
Instead, one of the greatest players the state of North Carolina ever produced ended up being Coach Cal’s first whale at Kentucky.
We need to find a way to take this case to trial in the court of public opinion. Make it a Verzuz battle, where witnesses who were present that night testify as to what happened.
We deserve answers, because this is one helluva sliding doors moment.