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Tyler Hansbrough Responds to John Wall, Denies He 'F--ked' Up UNC's Recruitment of PG

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13: John Wall #11 of the LA Clippers smiles during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

John Wall said during an interview on Theo Pinson's Run Your Race podcast this week that when he visited North Carolina as a basketball recruit before ultimately choosing Kentucky, Tyler Hansbrough gave him the coldest of shoulders and helped him make up his mind about choosing the Wildcats over the Tar Heels.

"So I go on the visit, Ty Lawson and them there," Wall said. "Tyler Hansbrough's got his own section. ... I'm the recruit, I walk up and say, 'What's up.' He said, 'I don't talk to recruits.' I was like, 'F--k you, I ain't coming here.' That f--ked it up right there."

Prep Hoops πŸ€ @PrepHoops

This story on why John Wall chose Kentucky over his "dream school" UNC is wild 🀯<br><br>Via <a href="https://twitter.com/tpinsonn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tpinsonn</a> <a href="https://t.co/kzxP0D2Cab">pic.twitter.com/kzxP0D2Cab</a>

But on Wednesday, Hansbrough denied ever being rude to Wall:

Tyler Hansbrough @THANS50

The story <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnWall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnWall</a> told on <a href="https://twitter.com/tpinsonn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tpinsonn</a> podcast DID NOT HAPPEN! 100% FALSE! I'm sure the bank of Calipari had nothing to do with him going to Kentucky

Wall said he had North Carolina atop his list when he made that fateful recruiting trip to Chapel Hill.

"I wanted to go to Carolina, that's my dream school," he said. "I'll tell you the story about that, a lot of people don't know that. They f--ked it up. They was the only one that could have gotten me not to go play for coach [John Calipari]."

While Wall and Hansbrough may dispute the details of that visit, the rest is nonetheless history. Wall chose Kentucky, was a 2009-10 first-team consensus All-America selection and led the Wildcats to a 35-3 record and a berth in the Elite Eight, where they were upset by West Virginia.

Hansbrough had been the National Player of the Year the season prior and led the Tar Heels to a national championship. He was a senior, however, and during Wall's freshman year, North Carolina didn't even make the NCAA tournament.

Wall also got some revenge when the two schools met in the regular season, with Kentucky winning 68–66. Wall had an average game by his own lofty standards, scoring 16 points and adding seven assists, but he said Hansbrough's slight definitely served as motivation.

"I really went up to shake his hand," Wall said of Hansbrough. "He's the National Player of the Year, just won a championship. ... I get to meet Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough, this is a dream come true for me. Dream school I loved growing up. He did that, and I was like, 'I got something for him.'"

Hansbrough remembers it differently. Whatever truly happened, it worked out quite well for Kentucky, if not for North Carolina.