In case there was any doubt, last night John Wall showed why he is considered by many to be the best player in college basketball and the virtually unanimous No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
At Madison Square Garden, arguably the biggest stage in basketball, Wall put on a show and led his Kentucky Wildcats to a 64-61 victory over Connecticut.
Leading all scorers with 25 points, Wall emerged on top in a terrific one-on-one battle with UConn's senior leader Jerome Dyson.
"He's phenomenal, one of the best players out there," Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson said. "If we need a crunch-time basket, we give it to John and we know we are going to have the advantage. Pretty much when we need baskets we know who to get the ball to."
Coming from a player who decided to put the NBA on hold for a year, that is pretty special. Patterson also alludes to what truly separates Wall from most players. His calm demeanor on the court gives him the consistent edge. While fellow freshman sensation DeMarcus Cousins loses control of his emotions and commits silly fouls, Wall remains calm.
Although Wall did have seven turnovers last night and has a tendency to play out of control, his skill set and ability to turn nearly any play into an easy transition basket make him a constant and relentless threat. He is driven, but usually not reckless. He can shoot, but doesn't take unnecessary shots. He can dribble through anyone, but will find the open guy.
Assigned the difficult task over covering Wall, UConn's Kemba Walker spoke about the freshman after the game. "He's not a freshman, not at all," Walker said. "The ball is always in his hands, and that's good for him and his team."
After beating North Carolina and Connecticut in the same week, Kentucky looks like it could be depending on Wall through March—and they're just fine with that.