John Wall: Can Fans Remember That These Are Still Just Kids?

Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IFebruary 3, 2010

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 02:  John Wall #11 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates during the SEC game against the Ole Miss Rebels on February 2, 2010 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 85-75.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

John Wall is 19 years old.

One year ago, John Wall was trying to figure out which girl to ask to the prom.

John Wall is about 500 miles away from his home in Raleigh, NC.

John Wall is on the cover of magazine after magazine.

John Wall can go nowhere without people wanting to touch him and have him sign their shirts and their hats and their babies.

John Wall was proclaimed the National Player of the Year after he had played about six college games.

John Wall has been declared, without question, the No. 1 draft choice for the NBA next season.

In the post-game interview last night, one of the ESPN court-side sports babes reminded him that 21 professional scouts were at Rupp last night.

John Wall is not allowed to have an agent or a PR rep.

John Wall finished his first semester at UK with a 3.2 GPA.

It is widely reported that John Wall is the first player at every practice, never late to a team meeting or film session.

And John Wall, after some mild criticism from his coach a few days ago, was quoted as saying, "I just have to learn not to listen to the coach and just go out and play basketball."

ESPN analysts last night interpreted the statement and said that what Wall probably meant was that he could not let the criticism affect his game.

But that quote was the subject of more analysis and more air time than the national budget with $1.6 trillion in deficit that the President sent to Congress this week.

What every fan forgets is everything that is written above. We forget that this is a kid.

We forget that he has been given more adulation at age 19 than anyone deserves for playing a game invented to occupy the time of young men when it was too cold to be outside playing football, which is really just another diversion anyway.

We forget that Wall has more pressure from more sources than almost any one of us fans will ever have brought to bear on us.

We forget that before too long he will be paid more money than most of us can even dream about, because he can run faster, jump higher, and pass more accurately than 99.9 percent of all the humans on earth.

We place our values in all the wrong places and live our lives vicariously through these young men in short pants.

We live and die with the ebbs and flows of our favorite team and hang on every newspaper article that is written about something dumb a 19-year-old kid said.

We take all of this way too seriously and as we are doing it we place expectations and pressure on a very fine young man that never asked for any of it and probably will never fully be able to understand it.

Let's remember that John Wall is, after all is said and done and over-analyzed, a kid.