Just a Minute: June 13

13 Jun

John Wall broke out at the Rbk U camp in 2007. He was one of the best come from nowhere stories ever.

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report


Welcome to the week and welcome to this week’s Just a Minute. Help coming to Joplin, Missouri through basketball, who really “misses” – coaches or recruiting services, when John Wall emerged and more are all touched upon.

ANY WAY TO HELP

When Hurricane Katrina raped the Gulf Coast in 2005, I sat and watched in stunned disbelief just like everyone else did across the globe. It was heart-breaking.

Then I jumped into a car three weeks later with my dad, my brother and an army of men from Atlanta. We were armed with chainsaws, bottles of water and a silver of hope that we wanted to give to the people of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

We weren’t allowed to go any further inland than Hattiesburg which was fine with us. This was a city that needed hope and help. Trees were snapped like match sticks and the city was still paralyzed without power and, in some parts, running water.

We worked our hearts out for three days straight. We barely scratched the surface. I met a middle school basketball coach when we there. A giant tree divided his house right down the middle. He told the story of how he didn’t worry about the tree in his home. He was busy with his team of young teenagers doing the same thing we were doing – cutting down downed trees, helping those that needed the most help and trying to give the broken community a thread of hope.

I thought of that trip and the selfless act of this young coach and his young team in their time of trial this past week when I heard about the Missouri-Missouri Southern exhibition game on October 30. All of the proceeds will go to relief effort of the heart-breaking Joplin, Missouri tornado.

Kim English, the ever-present Missouri player on Twitter, is looking for his followers to help.

This game will be sold out, obviously. But there is more you (and I can do). To find out how you can help, click here.

Joplin, Missouri needs help. Basketball, like many other things, is a small connector of hope for the community that needs much more than chainsaws and exhibition games.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

http://twitter.com/#!/DWilluofA23/status/79417246971211777

I agree with Derrick Williams. Rankings don’t mean anything. Never have, never will. Here’s my issue (and not individually against Williams’ tweet) but as a whole to the knock against “proving people wrong” when it comes to rankings. Where is the “proving college coaches” wrong? They are the ones with scholarship offers. They are the ones with opportunities to be given.

Williams was offered by USC (and he accepted it and was planning on being a Trojan before a coaching change).

He immediately jumped on an offer to Arizona (clearly the best possible situation for him). Admittedly, Williams said he knew he wasn’t the prized recruit of his recruiting class.

“They were excited about our whole class, but I wasn’t the main one they were focused on. There were not many people around me at all,” Williams told Jeff Eisenburg of Yahoo! Sports in March.

Nevada was the only other school that aggressively recruited him during the high school season. UAB, Marquette and Santa Clara were also on the short list.

His high school coach summed up Williams perfectly.

“He was just one of those kids that flew under the radar,” La Mirada coach Steve Schuster said. “He’s not a loud, flashy player, he played for a smaller high school program and then he played on Jordan Hamilton’s AAU team. Everyone knows Jordan’s a volume shooter, so Derrick would have to clean up missed shots if he wanted the ball.”

Williams worked hard for everything he is getting. He was outstanding this year and helped put Arizona back on the national map a year or two earlier than most people realistically expected. He’s a success story but to say you proved the rankings and the sites wrong is a bit incomplete. He proved everyone wrong.

LOOKING BACK

(Every Monday in June and July, I’m going to the memory banks and re-tell the stories that I enjoyed the most from my time on the road with Rivals.com.)

I sat next to a huge college sports fan on my way home to Oregon from the 2011 BCS National Championship game at the start of the year. We, naturally, started talking about basketball.

“Tell me a great story from the road,” he said. “Tell me about the best player you ever saw that came out of nowhere.”

Enter John Wall.

I was at the inaugural Rbk U camp in Philadelphia with a checklist of players that I had to watch. Wall’s name was on top of the list. He was a stud from the outset.

Rarely, if ever, do players spark conversation in a gym where coaches leave their seats and migrate to one spot to watch the same player like they did that hot July day. Wall had everyone in the building talking.  This is what I wrote after watching him for the first time:

“Put the name John Wall on the high-major list for the class of 2009. The 6-foot-3 guard has sprinter speed and great body control when he changes of direction. Mix that all together and you have a player that was simply un-defendable from end to end. He’s been the biggest revelation of the camp so far in terms of being an unknown on a national scale.”

Wall has never left the spotlight.

His rise was one of the best stories I have ever covered.

NEWS & NOTES

  • The NBPA Top 100 camp is this week in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is one of the best events on the planet for prep players. Current and former players work closely with some of the nation’s top prep prospects and the games are incredibly intense and competitive. The Pangos camp wet the whistle for the argument of who is the top dog in the class of 2012. The NBA camp could be the time where the pecking order is clearly established. Can Andre Drummond, Shabazz Muhammad and Isaiah Austin are on spotlight again.
  • The 16U National Team roster was finalized over the weekend after a competitive trial session in Colorado Springs that featured 27 underclassmen. Here is the team. Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com was on hand for the session. He broke down the sessions: One, two and three.
  • The Rose City Showcase is coming this weekend and I’ll be there for the event and have full coverage here at the NHR. I’m looking forward to being back in the gym.

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

UNC Kendall Marshall snapped this picture and posted it to Twitter. This is fandom. And great razor work.

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