Skip to main content

LOOK: John Wall meets Kentucky head coach Mark Pope for the first time

Jack PIlgrimby:Jack Pilgrim05/18/24

John Wall promised he wasn’t going anywhere when John Calipari left Kentucky and Mark Pope took over in Lexington. The former Wildcat star admitted it was sad seeing the change and how it all unfolded in March, but at the end of the day, he still bled blue through and through.

“It’s sad to see him leave,” Wall said on his podcast Point Game. “I’m still part of Kentucky. I’m still going to be Big Blue Nation. They gave me the opportunity to play on the highest level you can in college basketball in D1, one of the biggest schools ever, and then get an opportunity to go to the NBA. That’s always family. I have the jersey tatted on me. I’m in the Hall of Fame. It’s always love and support for Kentucky, and that’s never going to change.”

Wall showed just how real his words were in his first interaction with the new head coach at Kentucky, introducing himself in Indianapolis at Nike EYBL Session III. With Pope and assistant coach Jason Hart sitting courtside on the recruiting trail, the former Wildcat came up and introduced himself, sharing a hug on the baseline.

Nothing has changed with Calipari either — Wall immediately walked over and sat with his former coach for a moment before getting settled in with his own crew in a separate section.

“I’m always going to support Cal too, no matter what school he’s at,” Wall said at the time of the departure. “I think, like he said, it was time. It’s sad to see a breakup like that happen, but I think it was time. … You can see it and hear it in his voice. Like, he had a lot more joy. He’s getting that excitement back now and he’s getting to start fresh. Sometimes you need a new fresh start, even though you might want to be with that person and stay with that person. I think he needed a fresh start and he’s doing what’s best for him and his family.

Sometimes change is good for both parties, and that’s the case with Kentucky and Coach Cal. And Wall won’t be picking sides in the breakup.

Discuss This Article

Comments have moved.

Join the conversation and talk about this article and all things Kentucky Sports in the new KSR Message Board.