Welcome Guest. Login/Signup.
ACC Sports Journal Logo

What's Next After John Wall?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:28pm

By now, you've probably heard the news. If not, let me break it to you.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that John Wall has finally made up his mind - choosing Kentucky on Monday night.

Wall's decision immediately turns John Calipari's first Kentucky team into a monster (while also making the Wildcats' scholarship situation even more interesting). But we'll let the SEC websites handle that analysis.

We're all things ACC here, so let's examine the impact Wall's decision will have on the two teams that lost out to Kentucky - Duke and Miami.

Whether you think the Blue Devils were desperate in pursuing Wall or were just logically pursuing an uber-talented player from just down the road, it's clear this is a loss for Duke. Having Wall at the head of an attack that would feature Jon Scheyer and Elliot Williams on the wings and Kyle Singler and Mason Plumlee down low would have made the Blue Devils a clear national title contender. Now, unless Nolan Smith makes a big leap in his play, Duke is a notch below.

As for Miami, John Wall could have a program-shifting get. He would have given Frank Haith's team instant national credibility and might have paved the way for future high-profile recruits to come to Coral Gables. Plus, putting Wall together with athletic wings like DeQuan Jones and Durand Scott and Dwayne Collins down low - assuming Collins pulls his name out of the NBA Draft - would have made Miami an ACC contender.

Still, it was not a total loss for the Blue Devils and Hurricanes. As Dave Telep pointed out in an article he wrote in the ACC Sports Journal, just getting in Wall's final grouping - and getting him to visit campus - gave Duke some serious "street cred." By showing it could attract the interest of a likely one-and-done player like Wall, Duke made itself a viable option for future talents on that level.

Miami, meanwhile, got a considerable boost in its recruiting profile by hanging in to the end for John Wall. Frank Haith had a huge mountain to climb to get Wall, but by getting within sight of the summit, he served notice that the Hurricanes can and will contend for top recruits in the future.

Now, what about the point guard situation at both schools? For some help with that, we turned to ACCSports.com recruiting analyst, Brick Oettinger.

Oettinger pointed out that Duke does have considerable point guard experience coming back next season in Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer. It's not John Wall, but it'll do in a pinch.

As for Miami, don't overlook Malcolm Grant, the Villanova transfer who will be eligible for the Hurricanes next season.

"Malcolm Grant's not going to score like Jack McClinton coming in but he is a better playmaker," Oettinger said. "He is more of a point guard than McClinton. I think he’s a starting caliber player."

What about beyond next season? What's the point guard pipeline look like for both schools?

Both Miami and Duke are chasing after Brandon Knight, who is widely considered to be the top point guard in the Class of 2010. Knight plays his high school basketball in Fort Lauderdale - right next door to Miami - but Oettinger thinks his likely destination will be Gainesville.

"I wouldn’t bet on Miami to get Knight over Florida," he said. "Especially since (incoming Florida freshman) Kenny Boynton and Knight are such good buddies. That doesn’t mean Miami isn't getting consideration. I just don’t think they’re the favorites."

That's basically the same story for the Blue Devils. Duke is also in hot pursuit of Kyrie Irving, a 2010 guard out of New Jersey.

"He is a scoring point guard," Oettinger said. "He's a better scorer than he is a playmaker.

"Right now if it's not not Knight or Irving, they'll probably just stick with Thornton."

"Thornton" would be Tyler Thornton, a Class of 2010 point guard who has already committed to the Blue Devils. Thornton isn't listed by recruiting analysts as being in the same class as Knight or Irving. Scout.com ranks Thornton as its No. 14 point guard in the class.

Apparently though, Duke feels differently.

"The bottom line is that Krzyzewski likes him," Oettinger said. "His weak point is shooting the basketball. But he is a good ball handler. He is a good defender, he is an alert playmaker and he is an athlete. The weak spot is the outside jump shot.

"I think (Krzyzewski) took the commitment early from Thornton because he likes him."

Does K like Thornton as much as John Wall? Probably not, but for Duke - and for Miami - the love affair with Wall is over.