Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Florida joins the John Wall sweepstakes
By Brendan Murphy
BRISTOL, Conn. -- John Wall, the No. 5 prospect in the ESPNU 100 and one of the nation's most sought-after unsigned recruits, has added Florida to his list of suitors. With the addition of the Gators, Wall says he's now considering nine programs at which he could potentially play college ball.
The Gators have come on strong in the past week or two, Wall said. Florida coach Billy Donovan recently visited Wall's mother while he was in Oregon participating in the Nike Hoops Summit.
Florida released 2009 commitment DeShawn Painter (Norfolk, Va./Hargrave Military Academy) from his scholarship earlier this week. That mutual decision, combined with the transfer of freshman forward Allan Chaney, has put the Gators one scholarship under the NCAA limit of 13 per season. (The Gators could have only 11 scholarship players if guard Nick Calathes stays in the NBA draft.)
Florida joins Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami, North Carolina and NC State as the programs competing for Wall's services.
"Most of the schools on my list, I feel like I am the missing piece for them," said Wall, who was in Bristol touring ESPN's campus before his appearance in the Jordan Brand All-American Game in New York. "If I am going to be in school for one or two years, I want to come in and win."
Another recent development in Wall's recruitment is the interest of North Carolina. He said he doesn't have any official offer, yet. However, as more players from UNC's title team declare for the draft, one should be forthcoming.
The fact that three ACC schools he's considering are located near his home in Raleigh bodes well for them.
"If I stay home, I think it would be a good [situation]," Wall said.
"If I go away, I want to make sure I feel at home."
Wall is scheduled to participate in Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden. After that, he plans to narrow his list of finalists down to a handful. He said he had no timetable for when he would make a final decision.
Brendan Murphy is a recruiting editor for ESPN.com.