Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On John Wall and Joey Logano

A couple of thoughts on a couple of teenagers who are about the same age and who are both considered prodigies in their respective sports:

John Wall says he's going to the University of Kentucky and playing for its new coach John Calipari, which has been the rumor since Calipari left Memphis for Lexington.

Wall and Calipari will probably be a good fit for a variety of reasons and here's what is going to happen next.

Incidentally, Duke and UNC will somehow survive this. N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe might not, but Duke and UNC have had players better than Wall before and will have players better than he is once again. All the boo-hooing to the contrary is just plain silly and partly a product of the fact that Wall dragged out his recruitment for so long, even into college basketball's dead period where there's nothing much else to talk about.

Wall will play for the Big Blue at Rupp Arena for a season and, ultimately, expectations won't be met. You know why? Because in Lexington, only a national championship will do. I covered the Wildcats on a day-to-day basis for 3 years for a Kentucky newspaper back in the day. Believe me, it's even worse there in terms of unrealistic expectations than it is in Chapel Hill or Durham.

And then Wall will be gone to the NBA. One and done, I'm still predicting. I just don't think this kid is cut out for college long-term.

And that will be that.

In any case, I'm so-o-o glad his recruitment is over. Talk about an endless process. I'm ready to watch Wall play, but I'm mostly glad I don't have to read another story detailing his incredibly long list of "finalists."

2. I wrote a column on NASCAR driver Joey Logano for Wednesday's Charlotte Observer. Here's the link.

Unlike Wall, the 18-year-old Logano is already competing in his sport's top series. He has struggled in the Sprint Cup so far -- he's currently 30th in points -- but has finished in the top 10 in 2 of the past 3 points events and is a force on the Nationwide Series.

Some people undoubtedly are tired of both Wall and Logano. Mark Martin said Logano could be one of the "all-time greats" when Logano was only 15, and the hype machine has been cranked up on high most of the time since then.

But Logano is refreshing in person -- he knows he hasn't done anything in Sprint Cup to write home about yet, but he thinks he may be getting close to doing it. He turns 19 on Sunday, when he will race the Coca-Cola 600 for the first time.


Warren T said...

Scott, ol' friend. A national championship is not an unreal expectation when your school has already done it seven times. Besides, without such expectations, how did you expect us to get rid of that piece-of-trash Gillispie? lol

Anonymous said...

We'll have to see if any of these recruits will qualify -- not m(any) have met the minimum SAT standard for the NCAA.

Anonymous said...

Why UNC is even mentioned as a final candidate for Wall is beyond me.

Roy never seriously pursued Wall, who was never offered a scholly.

Good luck at UK and in the NBA, John.

James D said...

Yeh kentucky has won three national titles in the past fifty years with only two since the field was expanded to the current format and none in the past decade. So yeh Warren I would say it is perfectly fine to think that a national title is expected. This isn't the 50's and rupp isn't about to walk threw those doors.

Anonymous said...

Heels have more national championships in the past five years than KU has had in the past twenty five!

Matt said...

Anonymous #2 is correct, Wall never showed any interest in UNC at any point in time, and UNC never made any real effort to pursue Wall.

That being said, Wall will be at Kentucky one season and then straight off to the NBA. Enjoy.