With the NBA Draft looming on Thursday this week, of the five former Kentucky Wildcats slated to be picked early, John Wall is the only one that we can really predict where he will end up. Obviously, the Washington Wizards are slated to pick the beloved one and doner.
As soon as the lottery happened and the Wizards looked like a lock to select Wall, I began wondering what Wizards fans thought about the point guard we came to know, love, and obsess over. As ‘Cats fans, we will be arm in arm with Wizards fans during the course of Wall’s career, because former ‘Cats function as the center of our NBA consciousness, just ask Rajon Rondo and Tayshaun Prince.
With that in mind, the Pinkie brings you an interview with Kyle Weidie of TruthAboutIt.net, a Washington Wizards blog and member of the ESPN TrueHoop Network. I think the answers will give you some clarity in the expectations that Wall will face and how Wizards fans are thinking about the start of the Wall era. This is a bit long, so we’ll do this in two parts over the course of this Monday.
First of all, tell us about the site. How did you guys get started and how did you come up with the name?
Truth About It.net went into full force in October 2007. I’d reserved the URL for a blog, in which I obviously wanted to convey the “truth about it” — whatever “it” is — before actually deciding what the main topic or premise of the blog would be. Well, it didn’t take long to realize that my love for basketball, the Wizards in particular, would easy to write about on a regular basis. And I just kept the TruthAboutIt.net domain name … because I still want to speak the truth about my Wiz.
From there, I’ve just spent a ton of time covering and writing about the team. I’ve lost a lot of sleep, but I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. In the Summer of 2009 I joined the ESPN TrueHoop Network and subsequently gained media credentials to cover the team in September of last year. I ended up going to every home game in 2009-10, learned a lot about covering a team in a professional media setting, and probably know more about the Wizards than most people on this earth. It was an interesting experience — going into the locker room and interviewing players — that I wouldn’t trade for anything, despite the Wizards playing some horrible basketball last year and having one of the biggest let-down seasons in Washington, D.C. sports history.
As UK fans, we’re always curious to know what people think of us. So, what are your impressions of Big Blue Nation?
UK basketball fans are passionate and travel to see their team better than any other school in the country. But at times, seems like many times, they have irrational expectations and react unreasonably when the Cats fall short of those.
Being a Mississippi State grad, I have a good familiarity with fans from across the SEC and can honestly say that I’ve never really had a problem with UK fans. I’ve found them to be refreshingly knowledgeable about basketball and overall, good folk.
In just a year or so, DC sports (not unlike the UK basketball program under Calipari) has gone from a bit depressing to the home of some of the best young talent around. Ovechkin’s been around, but the Nats have added back to back number one picks in Strasburg and Harper. Assuming John Wall is picked, where how do you see him fitting into the galaxy of stars in DC?
D.C. sports has really been up and down as of late. When the Wizards were self imploding, the Redskins were deplorable, and everyone was shrugging their shoulders at the Nationals, the Capitals were Stanley Cup hopefuls. But by the end of May, people became uber excited about those other teams (via the respective arrivals of Mike Shanahan, Donovan McNabb, Stephen Strasburg and John Wall) while the very bad taste of the Caps losing to an 8-seed in the first round of the NHL playoffs still remained.
The Caps are still expected to remain a contender next season, and along with the mounting excitement (on various levels) surrounding other three of the big four pro sports teams, this is the most positive the D.C. sporting landscape has been in memory … and the topper, of course, is winning the draft lottery and knowing Wall will be in D.C.
Ultimately, Wall will fit in wherever winning takes him. People in Washington are desperate to root for a winner. This is a Redskins area first and foremost, but if the Wizards start playing exciting, team basketball again, the hoops crazies in D.C. will awaken with a passion. It can only get better from here, right?
How about NBA Draft Lottery night? ‘Cats fans were tuned in to see who would win the Wall sweepstakes. Tell us about the emotions of the average die hard Wizards fan on that night.
Leading up to the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery, I went through various superstitious act hoping my 19-win team would luck out and land Blake Griffin … after 2008-09 fell way short of planned because of somewhat surprising injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood before the season.
The Wizards had the second best odds and slipped to fifth, their worst position possible. It wasn’t meant to be. And after the dreadful 2009-10 campaign, Wizards fans wondered if it would ever be meant to be.
For the 2010 Draft Lottery, I did nothing, fully buying into the idea around D.C. that our pro basketball team and luck simply do not go hand and hand. I fixed myself a drink and quietly prepared to watch the announced draft order at home, eschewing any ideas of going to a bar or organizing a watching event.
One of my boys ended up stopping by as I assumed the worst … landing the 8th pick and likely someone like Cole Aldrich. Yikes indeed.
Well, lo and behold, the Wizards won. And I was shocked. Too shocked to even go out and celebrate. And I’m still kinda shocked … not sure when reality will set in. Stay tuned.
That’s it for part one of the interview. Log back on early this afternoon and we’ll be talking about Gilbert Arenas, the John Wall dance, and the upcoming off-season for the Wizards. In the meantime, check out Kyle interviewing me for Truth About It.