Getting excluded out of events and awards haven’t been out of the ordinary for John Wall in his basketball career. The former first overall pick has flown under the radar since coming out of Kentucky and playing for a rebuilding team hasn’t helped either. Wall is hardly showcased in any events, commercials, and he’ll now be excluded out of USA Basketball competition throughout the World Championships and 2016 Summer Olympics. For Wall, getting excluded is just something he’s become used to over the past several years. Like all those other things he’s missed, such as getting snubbed out of starting in the All-Star game and Rookie of the Year, Wall vows to use his exclusion from Team USA as motivation.
I been through it before. The main thing for me is try to be professional. I went out there and played. I did it the right way,” Wall said of his experiences with Team USA minicamp. “I just use it as more motivation. It’s nothing I could do. It’s nothing I can say, and I don’t want nobody to babysit me or try to make it work for me. They made their list, they made their decision and that’s what they’re happy with, and I just have to look past that. It’s more motivation because I didn’t make McDonald’s game. I wasn’t national player of the year. I wasn’t rookie of the year. So those are just tabs I keep to motivate myself to prove people wrong.
Despite not participating in USA Mini-Camp this past summer, John Wall’s teammate, Bradley Beal, received an invite to join the team of superstars for the world events. Wall isn’t the first player to get snubbed out of Team USA despite obviously deserving a spot to compete with the rest of the pool of players, as Rajon Rondo experienced a similar situation in 2010. Like Wall, Rajon Rondo doesn’t have the most reliable jump shot, and the USA coaches are evidently looking for players who could shoot from the perimeter. Other countries play zone defense against the United States, trying to prevent penetration to the basket, but it hasn’t been very successful over the past few international events. Mike Krzyzewski has wanted guards on his team that could handle the ball and shoot from the perimeter and it doesn’t seem like John Wall fit the bill.
Wall could theoretically be added to the pool of 28-players before the start of the events, but I wouldn’t view his exclusion as entirely negative either. Wall’s been better than most of the guards included in the pool, so it’s obviously isn’t related to his level of talent. The Wizards need John Wall to stay healthy and participating in international competition will only increase his chances of getting hurt. Frankly, Team USA won’t have a problem winning on the world stage with or without John Wall. Although it would’ve been nice to have Wall represent the Wizards for Team USA, his exclusion will allow him to focus on his game without having to risk injury in international play.
For now, Bradley Beal will get the chance to represent Washington amongst a group of elite players and I’m sure he’ll get the opportunity to improve his game with the likes of Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, and possibly even LeBron James.