Apr
05

Why John Wall Should Not Go Pro…This Year

In the recent week since the downfall of the Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA Tourney, speculation has arisen about the status of John Wall, the Kentucky point guard, who by most analysts is expected to be the number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

There are reports that Wall is having second thoughts about an early entry into the NBA, which is understandable – he is nineteen years old, where most like he, are enjoying some of the greatest years of their lives, in college.

So, what is more important — another year in college or a fast break into one of the most unforgiving leagues in professional sports? One route almost guarantees lifelong success, while the other only dazzles dollars in exchange for a shortcut, which could inevitably be fateful in the worst possible way.

I could cite ridiculous examples of failures and successes until I’m blue in the face, but the fact is – getting to the league early only guarantees one thing – money.

David Stern had a plan when he conceived the ‘one-in-done’ rule. After all, John Wall is quoted saying that college has been more fun than he could have ever imagined.

So if you’re that agent looking at him as merely a business proposition, I challenge you to forget about your cut of the monetary gain and think about the person before the player. I challenge you to become an advisor before a business partner (for lack of a better word, an agent).

I expect Mr. Wall will have heard and will see nearly every voice and face in the sports industry. For him I would advise three things:

  1. Ask yourself; what do you want your legacy to be in the next 10, 15, or 20 years?
  2. How important is money to your short-term and long-term happiness?
  3. What would it mean to win an NCAA National Title and share this with your friends, family, and peers?

The glitz and excitement of what lies ahead will always be there – cheap and opportunitistic people will come and go, the draft will be there next year (if not, then in 2012), but your image and more importantly your legacy will live forever.

John Wall – I challenge you to define yourself before others define you.

  • http://dynastyreps.com Justin Herzig

    Wade, I commend you for taking a very original view when writing this piece. However, most of this is a bit ridiculous. John Wall has little to nothing to gain by staying at school. Look at all the arguments for staying in school: education, develop as a player/person, increase draft status, and legacy.

    First is education. Coming back for one year is not going to get him a degree. Let’s be honest here. Calipari does not have the greatest track record for combining basketball and education. Claiming he’ll get any educational benefits from returning is naive and silly.

    Next is self-development. There is no question the ultimate goal from an athletic perspective is to have success in the NBA. If Wall were to join the league now, he would immediately be given far more opportunities to become a better player than if he were to stay in school. He could focus more time to basketball and with NBA teams having deeper pockets than Kentucky (yes, even Kentucky), Wall could have the best staff available to make him the best he can be. As for developing as a person, he is still a kid and no matter where he spends the next year, growing up (while still dancing of course) is a huge part. The temptations in college won’t disappear; he’ll just need to continue dealing with them as they come.

    Increase draft status: N/A, almost guaranteed he goes 1, worst case is 2.

    Legacy: Sure you can sell him on the idea of winning an NCAA title but selling him on that is starting to sound like all those agents we don’t like. As Darren has said, “I’m not in the business of selling promises.” The chances of winning and NCAA tourney are so slim that if that’s the main reason you’re coming back, something’s wrong. You can always have a legacy, you just have to decide what it is.

    The main points are quite simple. You leave for the draft this year and you are the top pick. You are guaranteed >$8 million over the next 3 years and if managed correctly, that amount could provide for you and your family the rest of your lives. Returning for school one more year isn’t going to “almost guarantee lifelong success” as you put it. That kind of advice and language sounds very similar to the promises many agents regrettably make. If I were his agent, I would not worry about looking back at college, but focus solely on preparing for the future.

    • http://www.sportsagentblog.com Darren Heitner

      I agree with that statement in its entirety.

  • Wade Senti

    The spin I took on this was simple – just because you go to the NBA when others think it’s right, does not mean that it is most beneficial for you in the long-run. I know John Wall is good — yes he would be the number one pick, but that does not mean anything in regards to the game of basketball.

    Basketball being — not the money. What I am talking about is becoming a great player, not a good player, which Wall is already. It takes a lot more than speed and hops to become a great player. In college, he has the environment to really cultivate his game – yes there is pressure and yes there is a gamble about losing guaranteed money.

    If Wall is having second thoughts — then basketball means more to him than money. To be honest, I question whether or how good he will actually be in the league. Take Brandon Jennings – who was criticized almost to the point where people thought he would be a bust in the league — he turned out just fine.

    Unlike Wall, Jennings is a natural scorer as well as a leader. Wall can score, but on who? I’m not sure about leadership at this point.

    If you look at a guy like Evan Turner — he is the complete player; largely due to remaining patient and staying out of the NBA. Once you’re in the league, things change, sometimes a lot quicker than you develop as a person or a player.

    The names Sebastian Teflair, Darius Washington, to name a few come to mind when you talk about guys who to a large extent were touted as being the next ‘best thing’ in regards to guard play. Neither will be in the league for very long.

    Arguments can be made — but John Wall will not be a dominating guard in the league for at least 2 to 3 years– he has an inconsistent outside shot and he has not proven himself as a legitimate PG, especially at the professional level.

    • Jacob

      “Arguments can be made — but John Wall will not be a dominating guard in the league for at least 2 to 3 years– he has an inconsistent outside shot and he has not proven himself as a legitimate PG, especially at the professional level”

      Russell Westbrook, Tyreke Evans, and Derrick Rose all say hello. Will he improve as a player by staying in college? Sure. Will he improve as a player in the NBA? Sure. Bottom line is that his game is ready for the NBA now and he’s going to continue to improve whether its in Lexington or the NBA. If John Wall comes back (he won’t) the only guarantee is he will give NBA scouts a chance to find more things about him they don’t like, his draft status just can’t get any higher right now. Plus, next year’s PG class is loaded w/ a few potential 1-and-done guys: Josh Selby, Brandon Knight, Harrison Barnes, Tobias Harris, CJ Leslie, Perry Jones. If he comes back (w/o Patterson, Cousins, Orton, maybe Bledsoe) and struggles even slightly while the others excel, he could very well fall out of the top three or even five.

  • bobby rosenberg

    Wade
    This is like Darren telling Pete Parise that he got called up but he should stay in triple A where he is having alot of fun, a chance to win a PCL title , could fine tune his pitches and be a legend in Memphis. A very dumb and naive arguement.
    - bobby

    • http://www.sportsagentblog.com Darren Heitner

      I was actually telling Pete he should just stay in Memphis the other day. The BBQ is great! Haha.

  • Cleo

    I disagree…..If Cousins and Bledsoe leave, Wall should also leave. He is the best player in college basketball by far. He is better than Derrick Rose when he came out. In addition, the statistics will prove that also. He will be the number one pick of the draft and most likely rookie of the year. Who knows what could happen next year…He could tear his knee…..

  • Evan Schmidt

    Jacob and Cleo, I strongly agree. If you look at Westbrook and Rose’s stats from their last years at school, Wall matches them and if anything exceeds them. Staying another year leaves open injury possibilities or, as earlier said, time for scouts to find holes in his game.

    As far as his education is concerned, lets be realistic, how much did you learn in your sophomore year in college? You take classes and learn a little for your career, but his future career is professional basketball, something you can’t learn in a classroom setting.

  • JaxCat07

    Ask Noah, Horford and Green about their decision to return for their junior years, AFTER winning one national title. Believe it or not, it is NOT all about the money for some of these guys. Anyone who knows John personally knows that he is a stand-up individual with high moral character. I, for one, would love to see Wall, Bledsoe, Cousins, Patterson and Orton return to UK for one more year. Grow up and mature more, make more memories, leave a championship legacy, then go make your millions.

  • http://www.sportsagentblog.com Darren Heitner

    So if John Wall comes back for his soph year and in game 5 of the regular season he has a career ending injury, EVEN IF he has insurance, would it have been worth it?

    This is his chance to make great money that will support his lifestyle for quite sometime (as long as he is smart with his money). School isn’t going anywhere. If he wants to eventually get his degree, he can do that. Career ending injury bans a player from playing professionally..for ever.

  • Michael Lewenz

    This is a foolish article, never should a kid stay in school unless he can increase his stock by staying or comes from a wealthy family. John Wall is the #1 pick hands down and is about to get a contract with Nike anywhere from 25-50 Million. Yes college is fun but so is taking care of your family and having enough money to buy a Bentley. The person you should be writing an article like this about is Jordan Crawford, Lance Stephenson and Kyle Singler

  • http://Sportsagentblog Angel Ortiz

    John Wall made the right move by leaving college and going to the NBA early. He will be compared to Michael Jordan and will probably be better. I can almost guarantee that. I play basketball and should be in the pros. I just didn’t have the luck of playing my sophomore year in high school because of a bad sprain ankle where my team made it to the division finals. I struggled with my grades and ended getting in to trouble so I transferred to another high school but couldn’t play because I had to sit out a year as that was the rule. Anyhow, I went to a Division 1 University in hopes of walking on since I didn’t get a scholarship to play but it was virtually impossible with all the politics and rules of the NCAA. I just ended up playing basketball with the players in college just not on the team. I earned a bachelors degree and sure college was fun but now I have a huge loan to pay with no job and with the recession who knows when I will see my degree payoff. I can understand John Wall as a player not like you spectators that never played basketball but think you what a kid has to go through to get to where John wall is right now. Hey, let’s suppose he ends up being a bust, gets injured whatever; he’ll still have millions and can still go back to college. The NBA has an expiration date and you can’t play until your sixty unless your Michael Jordan but u can always go back to college. Good luck John Wall! The next level above superstar is where he will end up in the NBA. I said it here first, coming from a real baller who know talent when he sees it.