John Wall and Tyler Hansbrough.
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images (left), Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images (right)

John Wall Nearly Picked UNC Over Kentucky, But Tyler Hansbrough “F***ed It Up”


John Wall was one of the best high school basketball recruits of all time back in 2009. The five-star point guard could have thrown a dart at a map and played for any blue-blood program in the country.

The budding prospect from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, originally wanted to play for the University of North Carolina, which he called his "dream school." In an interview on NBA player Theo Pinson's "Run Your Race" podcast, Wall told the recruiting story of how one player ruined any chances of him picking UNC: Tyler Hansbrough.

The John Wall-Tyler Hansbrough Recruiting Story

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Wall was set to choose North Carolina because he wanted to stay close to his mom, who got sick and had to shave "half her head bald," Wall explained.

"I wanted to go to Carolina. That's my dream school," he said. "They was the only one who could've got me not to go play for Coach Cal [Kentucky coach John Calipari]."

However, a recruiting trip to the school changed his mind when he met a supposedly arrogant Hansbrough. Hansbrough swept National Player of the Year awards in 2008 and led the Tar Heels to an NCAA championship in 2009. Wall said he wanted to meet the star player but was snubbed because he was a recruit.

"So I go on the visit, Ty Lawson and them are there. Tyler Hansbrough's got his own section ... I'm the recruit, I walk up and say, 'What's up.' He said, 'I don't talk to recruits.' I was like, 'F--- you, I ain't coming here.' That f----- it up right there." -- John Wall, via the "Run Your Race" podcast

Wall also said his other option, NC State, was too close and that he never would've been on campus if he attended there.


Hansbrough Rebuts Wall's Story

Hansbrough tweeted that the Wall story never happened.

"The story @JohnWall told on @tpinsonn podcast DID NOT HAPPEN! 100% FALSE! I'm sure the bank of Calipari had nothing to do with him going to Kentucky," Hansbrough wrote.

Whether Wall accepted money to attend Kentucky from the "bank of Calipari" remains to be seen, but there was the time Wall had to pay back $787.58 worth of travel expenses during his unofficial visits to schools his junior year of high school.


Wall went on to star at Kentucky, where he became the NBA's first-overall pick in 2010. Duke won the NCAA tournament in 2010, so Wall's decision didn't really impact too much, except potentially other recruits who wanted to follow in his footsteps. Either way, we're here for this drama. We'll see if Wall claps back.

MORE: What Happened to Tyler Hansbrough and Where is He Now?

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