John Wall returned this week to the scene of the climb — a Reebok basketball camp in Philadelphia — the place where he ascended from an unknown to one of the top high school prospects in the nation.
It might be hard to believe, with him one year removed from going No. 1 overall in the NBA draft, but Wall was virtually unheard of outside of North Carolina nearly four years ago. But his performance before his junior year in high school at the Reebok Headliner tryout in Chicago — where he drove 18 hours from his home in Raleigh to attend — led to an invitation to the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia. While at the All-American camp, Wall scored 28 points in a game against the highly touted Brandon Jennings in an outing that propelled him to stardom.
Wall signed a lucrative contract with Reebok last summer, when his shoe company took a one-year hiatus from hosting a prep camp. Reebok has returned this summer with the inaugural Reebok Breakout Challenge at Philadelphia University and Wall has taken a prominent role. The new camp was created to help under-the-radar players get recognized and Wall worked out with the kids, participated in drills and offered some support. Jason Terry and Jameer Nelson are also involved in the camp.
He plans to participate in the camp through Saturday. “When I came here, I wasn’t anything special,’’ Wall told ESPN.com. “And I want these guys to know about that. If they come here and they work hard, you never know what could happen.”
Wall also spoke with Adam Zagoria about his journey in the video below.