Had Kentucky not fired Billy Gillispie in 2009, the program would look a lot different today, of course. But specifically, NBA star John Wall would have never played for the Wildcats. He'd almost certainly be an alum of Memphis instead, as John Calipari was very much in with Wall at that point. (At the time, it was widely recognized that Wall was going wherever Cal was coaching for the 2009-10 season. And that's what happened.)
But here's the story. Wall was soured on Gillispie while on a visit to UK. There's long been a rumor that Wall was actually told to leave a Kentucky practice after his phone went off. Gillispie was bothered and asked the nation's top point guard prospect to leave his gym. We now know it happened, thanks to Wall confirming the story. He went on local Kentucky television Tuesday. "Hey Kentucky!" host Matt Jones asked Wall what he thought once Gillispie booted him.
"Oh, I could never play for this man," Wall said.
Check the video here.
Pretty interesting. What could have -- or wouldn't have -- been.
Safe to say Kentucky made the best call it possibly could have when it fired Gillispie and hired Calipari to replace him. UK has been a No. 1 seed three times, made four Final Fours and won a national title in the past seven seasons under Calipari. To this day, Wall ranks among the top three recruits/players of the Cal/UK era, finishing 2009-10 as the SEC Player of the Year, a consensus choice for First Team All-American, and was taken No. 1 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft.