The man of the year in Lexington may not be so happy currently. After a losing effort against South Carolina, coach John Calipari made it very evident to his phenomenal freshman that he played a less than stellar game.
"I just try not to listen to him and go out and play basketball and try and help my team win," was the comment John Wall made Saturday. Wall, seemingly frustrated with losing, showed some immaturity as a freshman and made some comments he realized he should not have made.
In the Kentucky Kernel, an on-campus newspaper, Wall stated "When you're frustrated, you're going to say a lot of things you don't mean." This is the first time UK has seen some turmoil appear in the locker room this season.
Wall realizes even if he was feeling that way and may still be it was not the right thing to comment about to a national audience. I do believe that this has been seen as being something bigger and much larger than it actually is. Almost every season a player on a team ranked nationally has a problem or two with their coach.
Take Xavier Henry from Kansas for example. When he first got to campus he did not see eye to eye with Bill Self. Most of these freshman have been winning their whole lives and they will get punched in the face a time or two in college and you measure them by how quickly they get back up.
John Wall has most likely never been questioned when it comes to his athletic prowess on the basketball court. His coaches have probably never told him he has had a bad game. This may have been the first time and Wall, like most other freshman, will take it as a learning experience.
Coach Cal knows what he is doing. He strives to get the best out of his players and when he knows they aren't performing to the best of their abilities he tries to motivate them. Wall needed motivation he knows the past couple games have not been his best and it bothers any athlete to go through what you may call a "slump."
John Calipari's motto this season for the Wildcats has been to just have fun. The 'Cats were having plenty of fun until they lost to the Gamecocks. Adversity struck and the Wildcats were tested. Rebounding from a loss is a tough thing to do but they were able to beat a very good Vanderbilt team to get them back to their winning ways.
Wall said he had not been having fun the past couple of weeks. It is tough to have fun when you are being double-teamed for most of the game. Your stats don't fall within their averages and it becomes frustrating.
Calipari did the right thing for Wall. He showed him that he was not playing well and made sure Wall took it to heart. It never feels good to hear you have not played well but it always helps in the long run.
The Wildcats square off tonight at 7 PM EST in Rupp Arena versus a very good Ole' Miss Rebel team. I expect John Wall to play an unbelievably sound game. No, he may not score 30 points, but he will do what he has been doing to become the best point guard in college basketball. He will get his teammates involved early and he will make the Rebels play at his pace.
There is no shortage of love in Lexington—after tonight's game there may be enough to go around for everyone.