Friday, April 3, 2009

Highly recruited point guard hears from UNC

Brian Clifton, who heads the summer basketball program for which John Wall plays, confirmed that the highly recruited point guard got a call last night from North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, whose team is getting ready to face Villanova on Saturday in the NCAA Final Four.

UNC had not previously been among the universities Wall was seriously considering — Baylor, Memphis, N.C. State, Duke and Kansas — and Clifton has said he's not on talking terms with Carolina coaches.

"I have no desire to talk to, to be involved with, to visit, to contemplate in any shape, form or fashion John Wall going to play for Roy Williams. Zero," said Clifton, who runs the D-One sports program and has been advising the Raleigh Word of God senior but has insisted that the decision ultimately is Wall's to make.

Wall was leaning toward Memphis before its head coach, John Calipari, took the Kentucky job Tuesday. The 6-foot-4 guard told The N&O's Tim Stevens that he was still considering Memphis but that he no longer had a "leader" among potential destinations. Kentucky may be a possibility, but Clifton said today that he had not yet discussed UK with Wall, though he regularly stays in touch with Josh Pastner, a Memphis assistant coach who may join Calipari at Kentucky.

Clifton, who has accompanied Wall on campus visits, described Sunday's meeting with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski as "very good." When asked whether Wall's list of choices had changed, Clifton replied: "The emergence of Duke as a viable option, that in and of itself has caused a change."

"We all left the meeting with the conclusion that it was worth exploring further," said Clifton, who clearly was feeling better about Duke after his earlier concerns that the Blue Devils would not be a good fit for Wall. "I respect Coach K and the way that he goes about business. ... He was enough of a professional to deal with people based on who they really are, not on what he's heard they might be. I'd be comfortable with any of my guys learning from and being shaped and molded by a guy who's got that in his character."

There's been speculation that Memphis will turn to Baylor's Scott Drew to replace Calipari. Clifton's brother, Dwon, is on Drew's staff, but Brian Clifton said he had not heard anything from Drew indicating that he would leave Baylor.

In a previous interview, Clifton said he received a cool reception from UNC when he brought another potential recruit there. But Williams, who would not discuss specific coaches at the time, said he does deal with some summer coaches.

Regarding Clifton's statement that Williams' call came Thursday, the same day the one-week dead period of recruiting began, the dead period prohibits in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations, not a telephone call or letter from an institutional staff member. It's not a violation to call. -- Roger van der Horst


sam dwehji said...

Get off the kid's back! at the end of the day he's still a kid who just loves to play basketball wether its at carolina, duke, or a junior college somewhere it doesn't concern any of you one bit. This is his life he's going to make whatever decision he feels is right for him wether it makes him happy or his family (which is very important to him) happy he will make what he in his heart thinks is the right thing to do. You aren't being any better by sitting here judging a high school kid on where he wants to play. Yeah the rules in the NCAA are ridiculous but thats just how the procedure goes and John here doesn't have the power to change that. He is just a good kid doing what he loves and you all are using it for your entertainment wether its writing good about him or bad. Let him go where he wants, do what he wants, and pray that he gets to fulfuill his dreams rather then sitting back and hating on a kid who has nothing to do with the system at all he's just got this amazing talents and is trying to provide for himself and his family with it. Sitting here saying he's too stupid and his grades suck as if u know him just makes you look more ignorant then all of the people you sit there and criticize. God has a plan for this kid because he has been through so much and worked so hard to get to where he is now and things are going to work out for him because he is a VERY humble guy. So wherever he goes and w/e ends up happening to him just pray for him and be glad that you have such talent that you get to watch for you enjoyment.

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