Jul 30, 2010 4:00 PM by Mary Jo Perino
Brandon Knight is not John Wall.
He might be just as talented, just as smart, just as electrifying once he puts on that Kentucky uniform, but John Wall doesn't want his successor to have all that pressure.
"I hope people don't pressure him to do the same thing I did or be like me or anything like that," said the former UK point guard.
"Just let him come in and play his game and be Brandon Knight. You know, that's the best he can do because when you try to make somebody play like somebody else and be in their situation that can mess up their confidence. Brandon is a talented enough player, he's smart in the classroom, so I'm not worried about that part so hopefully he can have a great freshman season."
Wall is back in Lexington helping John Calipari with his pro camp. Like his former teammate Demarcus Cousins, he misses Kentucky and has found out that no matter how many fans he garners in Washington D.C., it will be nothing like the Big Blue Nation.
"It's nowhere near the same. Kentucky's always going to be on top, their fans are. There's just nothing I've seen that can beat it. D.C. has great fans but Kentucky is like another family to me so every opportunity I have to come back and be around the campers and be around the basketball program means a lot."
"There's just times you wished you were back in this situation. College is the best experience and like I said, being at Kentucky the way the fans and the school and all that makes you want to be back in this situation. When they know you're coming back, they're going to show you a very good welcome so every time I come back I'm going to have a good time."
For all the great memories he made in Lexington and all the joy he gave fans, there's still one thing he wants to do at Rupp Arena.
"Hopefully come back to the game and be one of those person's that throws up the Y at the end of the Kentucky song. 'That would mean a lot to you to be the Y?' Yeah, that's the biggest thing I want to do."
Wall has spent the last couple of months in hotel rooms and on airplanes traveling all over the country.
He spent a couple weeks in Las Vegas at the NBA summer league where he was named the most outstanding player. But every time another player held his own against Wall, that player let every one know. Wall, though, isn't worried.
"I don't feed in to it. Seems like in high school in college people had good games and had their moments against me but it's not all about one on one battles no more, this is not AAU or anything like that. It's about helping my program get better, or helping my team get better and winning games. That's what I was trying to do in Vegas. There were a couple of times they tried to make it in to a battle. The underdog is going to get the biggest crowds wild but I don't focus in to that. I just focus on my game and the game plan my coaching staff and I have and just try to win games," said Wall.
Yes it's been a whirlwind year for the face of the franchise in Washington. The Wizards are putting all their eggs in to the John Wall basket. As always, Wall relishes the challenge. It's not about him, it's about the game. It's about winning a championship, and he says he's ready for what's about to come his way.
"It's still a dream come true. Sometimes I sit back in my hotel room when I'm travelling and still be shocked and amazed that all of it happened. First you thank God for it, then my high school, then the University of Kentucky for helping me prepare for that stage. Now I just got to stay humble and hungry and keep working and listen to what the people in the Wizards organization tell me and just keep trying to prepare myself."