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John Wall challenges Obama

John Wall just completed his predraft workout and his first news conference at Verizon Center, where he is expected to play this season as the No. 1 overall pick of the Washington Wizards in the June 24 NBA draft. Wall spoke at length with the overflow media contingent and covered just about every topic you could imagine, from being the guy annointed to revive the franchise to playing with Gilbert Arenas to getting to know Alex Ovechkin and Stephen Strasburg.

But the highlight of Wall's session with the media was a challenge directed at President Obama for a game of one-on-one and/or horse, preferably at the White House. Wall met the president last year and issued a similar challenge, but Wall said he was politely rebuffed.

"Hopefully I'll get picked by the Wizards," Wall said, "and if I do, yeah I want [Obama] to come to the games, but before that, I want to play him in that game of horse. I challenged him to a game of one-on-one and horse, but as the president, I guess he backed down. He didn't want to play, so I'll convince him into that first and then invite him to some games."

Wall worked out by himself this morning on the Verizon Center auxiliary court, and among those in attendance were new Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis as well as GM Ernie Grunfeld and forward Andray Blatche. During the portion of the workout open to media, Wall performed several drills, including taking jumpers from the ends of the foul line and dunking with his left and right hands as well as two-handed.

After he finished those drills, Wall met privately with Grunfeld and also took time to post the following on Twitter: Just got done workin out. . . Went well!! Then he stepped to the podium and began taking questions from the media, and among the first asked was if he has spoken with Arenas by telephone.

"Nah, I talked to him on BlackBerry messenger. That's about it," said Wall, who disclosed Arenas asked about where Wall was working out and how he was handling the process. "Hopefully on draft night they'll pick me."


By Gene Wang  |  June 17, 2010; 1:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

"Hopefully on draft night they'll pick me."

I dunno, maybe they will take Turner...not!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | June 17, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me Andray Blatche became the company man

Posted by: merajc86 | June 17, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin > Wall + Strasburg

Posted by: laugh_riot | June 17, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Andray is smarter than I thought. He showed up to let his presence known to Wall, the guy who will end up throwing amazing alley oop passes to him for some serious highlight reel. Dare me to say, Wall could be the key to Dre making it to the next all star game as a reserve???

Posted by: Bullzards80 | June 17, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, well, well if it isn't Dray Blatche in the role of respected vet!

Posted by: divi3 | June 17, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Andray is smarter than I thought. He showed up to let his presence known to Wall, the guy who will end up throwing amazing alley oop passes to him for some serious highlight reel. Dare me to say, Wall could be the key to Dre making it to the next all star game as a reserve???

Posted by: Bullzards80

I'm not normally one for premature All-Star hype, but that one I actually agree with. Dray put up great numbers on his own. Playing with someone like Wall could make him better, at least take some of the focus off (along with Gil) and get him some easy looks theoretically. Plus, with the #1 pick on the team, and Gil back, the team will have more (positive) spotlight than they did after the blow up last year. Having Gil back and Wall there could also cause his numbers to dip.

We'll see. Dray has to up for replicating his effort in the second half of the season over the long haul.

Posted by: ts35 | June 17, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

So we're ALL in agreement. 'Dre stands to be the biggest beneficiary of Walls talents and that it could help take him to the next level of success? No Naysayers? I'm holding my breath.

Posted by: WestCoastBullet | June 17, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Actually I think McGee will be a bigger beneficiary of playing with Wall.

Dray can get a lot of points on his own playing in the lowpost. This will be the season that we see if he makes the full transition to being a real NBA regular. I'll hold off on nominating Dray to the Allstars til we see how he handles the workload of be EXPECTED to be a 20/10 guy. He does that then we're talking Allstar.

McGee needs a guy that can find him when he flashes to the hoop. Wall will be that guy, McGee's got to hit the defensive boards and get out and run in transition. Wall will find him for lots of Sports Center highlights...

When the kid gets a few of those, his whole game gets better.
GM

GM

Posted by: flohrtv | June 17, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Props to 'Dre for taking on that leadership role we've been waiting for. Let's hope his tear to end last season continues into something special.

As for the biggest beneficiary of Wall's talents? I'm going with Javale, especially if we don't find another suitable starting center this offseason. Highlight-reel city between the two of them. I'm envisioning a Chris Paul - Tyson Chandler type relationship there (but obviously not on the same level...yet).

Posted by: psps23 | June 17, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I can live with that assessment Flohr. The biggest beneficiaries will hopefully be us. Although, it may be a year or two before we really get to enjoy the show. Nobody asked, but, i'm going to throw this out there since there isnt much more that can be said about Blatche watching Wall doing drills by himself. Nick Young can GO as far as I am concerned. Where McGee and Blatche have showed improvement, Nick Young has really not taken advantage of the opportunities he's been given.

Posted by: WestCoastBullet | June 17, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Showing up to watch a perfunctory PR workout months before the season starts falls pretty well short of "taking on a leadership role." Leadership is about responsibility and sacrifice. It remains to be seen how much of that Blatche is willing and able to carry.

"I'm not normally one for premature All-Star hype, but that one I actually agree with. Dray put up great numbers on his own. "

Yep. But his willingness to do it on his own (but not when he was asked to play a team role) is potentially part of the problem. How he responds when asked to put his individual goals aside an take a reduced role remains in question until he proves otherwise.

"Having Gil back and Wall there could also cause his numbers to dip."

It almost certainly will. But that shouldn't matter as long as his effort and focus remains the same. But his hsitory suggests that that's hardly something to be taken for granted.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 17, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

McGee will also improve under Wall's watch but I still think Dre will benefit a bit more because he's the one folks are expecting to continue his path to stardom. I know I am one of those guys not only pulling for him but also convinced that he's a changed man. Has anyone else read reports that he has become a gym rat? Proof is his body shape...he is noticeably thicker (muscle, not bacon).

Posted by: Bullzards80 | June 17, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Blatche said many times towards the end of last season he couldnt wait to get some more talent on the floor so he wasnt constantly double and triple teamed. The kid scores easily on just about any player in the league you want to put in front of him, and my guess is he'll be thrilled to see Gil and hopefully Wall drawing doubles and leaving him free.

Posted by: divi3 | June 17, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"Showing up to watch a perfunctory PR workout months before the season starts falls pretty well short of "taking on a leadership role." Leadership is about responsibility and sacrifice."

Which other players were there? Who else is in DC in June working out and being around the facility? Who else was available at VC the day after draft night?

There's a void and he's trying to fill it, nothing but positives to take from that. And it's a far cry from getting fat and playing video games in Carolinas like every previous June.

Posted by: divi3 | June 17, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

With all the serious issues on his plate I would hope that the President of the United States would have better things to do than "shoot hoops" with a social-climbing, glory seeking jock that hasn't earned a nickel as a basketball player yet. It's stupid for the Post to even give credibility to the idea. Basketball is just a game; life on the outside is serious.

Posted by: qball43 | June 17, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I think every one benefit from a pass 1st PG.AB will havce 17 PPG and 8.5 RPG,1.5 BPG and 3.5 APG with 48%shooting.This is what we have to expect from what we saw in the second half of last season.If he did a little bit better than this ,he will be in all star.

Posted by: gtefferra | June 17, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I think it's very encouraging to hear that Blatche was the only Wiz player to come to the workout. It's no secret that a huge bit of Dray and McGee's success next year will be based on Wall more than any other player that the team could acquire (I'm not even entertaining any possibility of getting LeBron), so to see Blatche excited to see his likely newest teammate in action is a good sight. Watching Wall run the court and throw lobs to McGee will be a sight to see

Posted by: TDAV | June 17, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I am loving this. Wall and what he brings to the flow of an UpTemPo offensive gameplan that is tailored to win will rock the VC.

I trust that Mr. Leonsis is not throwing up a smokescreen concerning Gilbert.

This team could be exciting and better than your average lottery team.

I am more excited about the prospects of this team than I was last year time.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | June 17, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is a childish, slime-bucket loser. He will never be a significant part of a contending team, and our team will never contend as long as he's a significant part of it.

All the talent in the world doesn't make up for a bad attitude and a taste for prostitutes.

Posted by: genericOnlineID | June 17, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Showing up to watch a perfunctory PR workout months before the season starts falls pretty well short of "taking on a leadership role." Leadership is about responsibility and sacrifice. It remains to be seen how much of that Blatche is willing and able to carry.

Agreed. At least it's a start. Or at least it shows that Blatche is smart enough to recognize where his bread is going to be buttered.

But his willingness to do it on his own (but not when he was asked to play a team role) is potentially part of the problem. How he responds when asked to put his individual goals aside an take a reduced role remains in question until he proves otherwise.

Agreed. I actually don't think it we be a problem with respect to Wall, but more with Gil, if Gil decides he still wants to be a volume shooter and is less willing to work through AB in the post to get his shots.

"Having Gil back and Wall there could also cause his numbers to dip."

It almost certainly will. But that shouldn't matter as long as his effort and focus remains the same. But his hsitory suggests that that's hardly something to be taken for granted.

Hard to believe his scoring won't dip with Gil back out there. But he should still do well because he should see a little less attention and have more chances for rebounds/putbacks/dishes off of Wall's or maybe Arenas' drives. But exactly as you say, he's got to have the focus and mentality and effort to take advantage and be content to not have 60% of the offense run through him.

Posted by: ts35 | June 17, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

All the talent in the world doesn't make up for a bad attitude and a taste for prostitutes.

Posted by: genericOnlineID

Tell that to Eddie Murphy =)

Posted by: ts35 | June 17, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I don’t know. Wall is obviously talented, and probably should be the first pick in the draft. Even so, there’s something about this kid’s attitude that makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it was his statement shortly after the lottery that he needed to play point guard and have the ball in his hands. None of that, “I’ll play whatever position the coach asks me to play,” for this kid. Maybe it’s Wall challenging the President to a game of HORSE… again. Dude, why are you worrying about playing the President? How about working on getting acclimated to the NBA and being a professional before you start talking about grandstanding at the White House. In my opinion, Wall seems a little long on brashness and a little short on humility. I sure hope I’m wrong, especially assuming that the Wizards draft him.

Posted by: sonny2 | June 17, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

All the talent in the world doesn't make up for a bad attitude and a taste for prostitutes.

Posted by: genericOnlineID


tell that to Lawrence Taylor

Posted by: merajc86 | June 17, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with others here, McGhee is the one that will benefit from Wall joininig the team. He gets up and down the court very quickly. Dray will be good this year and Wall and McGhee will work well together.

Posted by: TJDemo | June 17, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"Agreed. I actually don't think it we be a problem with respect to Wall, but more with Gil, if Gil decides he still wants to be a volume shooter and is less willing to work through AB in the post to get his shots."

Does Gil get to decide that? I hope not. The most positive change I saw after the trades last year was that suddenly the offense was happening within 15ft rather than on the outside. If playing Gil means it switches back to a perimeter oriented offense, that's a step backwards in my book.

Posted by: divi3 | June 17, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: dlts2041 | June 17, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

How about working on getting acclimated to the NBA and being a professional before you start talking about grandstanding at the White House. In my opinion, Wall seems a little long on brashness and a little short on humility. I sure hope I’m wrong, especially assuming that the Wizards draft him.

Posted by: sonny2 | June 17, 2010 4:43 PM

All reports are that he's been working out 4-6hrs a day, so I can take the ego as long as the dedication to the game is there in equal abundance.

Agreed challenging the Prez comes off immature, but hey, he IS 19yrs old. Kid is on top of the world, just became a millionaire and is about to be picked #1 in the nba draft....he's going to be on cloud9 until he starts getting his butt whipped in the league

Posted by: divi3 | June 17, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

he challenged the prez because he had a convo with him during his season at Kentucky....kind of like a follow up since then.

Posted by: merajc86 | June 17, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Please, the stuff with the Pres is just jokes. Plus, I don't mind him going after the Pres a bit given that Obama lives here, but still pulls for the Bulls.

Posted by: ts35 | June 17, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

You know, if I had a son that actually was drafted into the NBA, and somebody called him a slime-bucket loser, and childish to my face, I might just have to just whip his arse.

But since Blatche ain't my son, I guess it really should not matter to me why people just show blatant disrespect to people for no reason at all.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | June 17, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

People latch on to the most insignificant news. So Blatche watched Wall's workout, who cares? He probably happened to be in the vicinity and popped his head in to check out a future teammate. I'm looking forward to the next bulletin where we find out that Javale McGee was spotted drinking an orange flavored gatorade earlier today after his workout.

Posted by: randysbailin | June 17, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

John never met the President, only spoke to him on the phone (Hoops for Haiti). He'll meet him soon enough. All Wizards fans will be in love with him by the tenth game.

Posted by: comhendbear | June 17, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

You know, if I had a son that actually was drafted into the NBA, and somebody called him a slime-bucket loser, and childish to my face, I might just have to just whip his arse.

But since Blatche ain't my son, I guess it really should not matter to me why people just show blatant disrespect to people for no reason at all.

LarryInClintonMD.

Larry, I really don't understand how people get like that. Must be something in their upbringing.

People latch on to the most insignificant news. So Blatche watched Wall's workout, who cares? He probably happened to be in the vicinity and popped his head in to check out a future teammate. I'm looking forward to the next bulletin where we find out that Javale McGee was spotted drinking an orange flavored gatorade earlier today after his workout.

Posted by: randysbailin

And you have time to read and actually comment on the "insignificant news?" Can we just have a little fun without wet blankets trying to get in the way?

Posted by: GoEagles | June 17, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Big Yawn -- much like POTUS -- a lot of talk, but nothing yet to back it up -- this guy will NOT be worthy of the #1 pick, but Bullets will make the mistake and not trade this pick for a player in his early prime with size.

Posted by: jwing14 | June 17, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Teddy L can improve this team. He just need to weed out the low lifes that are so-called Wizards fans.

Posted by: Rocc00 | June 17, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

People latch on to the most insignificant news. So Blatche watched Wall's workout, who cares? He probably happened to be in the vicinity and popped his head in to check out a future teammate. I'm looking forward to the next bulletin where we find out that Javale McGee was spotted drinking an orange flavored gatorade earlier today after his workout.

Posted by: randysbailin

And you have time to read and actually comment on the "insignificant news?" Can we just have a little fun without wet blankets trying to get in the way?

Posted by: GoEagles | June 17, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mean to interfere w/ your exciting banter about Blatche standing there watching Wall run through some cones.

Posted by: randysbailin | June 17, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

"Basketball is just a game; life on the outside is serious.Posted by: qball43"

By any chance are you in the slammer?

Posted by: Samson151 | June 18, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

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