Wall: ‘I just got to do a bet­ter job as a leader’

Baltimore Sun - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Can­dace Buck­ner

WASH­ING­TON — Through the start of his sev­enth sea­son, John Wall has con­sis­tently spo­ken about lead­er­ship, specif­i­cally his pri­mary role with the Wash­ing­ton Wizards. How­ever, af­ter re­ceiv­ing two ejec­tions in as many games, Wall rec­og­nized that if he is to lead his team, he must re­main on the floor.

“For me to be the leader,” Wall said Thurs­day, “I got to be able to stay in games and close out games and lead my team un­til the end.”

Wall ex­plained how his game-long frus­tra­tions boiled over and he de­cided to com­mit a hard foul against Bos­ton Celtics guard Mar­cus Smart in the fi­nal quar­ter of Wash­ing­ton’s 118-93 win Wed­nes­day night. Af­ter a re­view, of­fi­cials ruled the foul as a fla­grant-2 — “un­nec­es­sary and ex­ces­sive con­tact com­mit­ted by a player against an op­po­nent,” ac­cord­ing to the NBA rule book — and Wall was ejected. In the early hours of Thurs­day morn­ing, Wall sent an apolo­getic tweet di­rected at his team­mates and coaches.

“In a game like that with five min­utes left, the game’s never over. They could’ve had an op­por­tu­nity to fight back and have a chance to win the game. I just got to do a bet­ter job as a leader,” Wall said Thurs­day at the team’s prac­tice fa­cil­ity.

“That’s not my in­ten­tions to be a dirty player or any­thing. It’s just frus­tra­tion got into it where things weren’t go­ing the right way. With the game, it was fine, but I’m talk­ing about cer­tain calls and get­ting beat up. So I let frus­tra­tion get the best of me.”

Af­ter seven games played, Wall leads the NBA with three points from fla­grant penal­ties (two points from the fla­grant-2, and an­other point from his fla­grant-1 foul against Mem­phis Griz­zlies vet­eran Vince Carter on Oct. 30). If Wall’s sea­son to­tal grows to five points, he will au­to­mat­i­cally be sus­pended for one game.

“You got to con­trol your­self,” said coach Scott Brooks, who re­minded Wall of his point to­tal. “The last thing you want to do is have your points add up or have your tech­ni­cals add up and miss games. That puts a lot of pres­sure on your team­mates. You want to be able to be there at all times.

“Part of be­ing a good bas­ket­ball player and a good bas­ket­ball team is keep­ing your com­po­sure in some tough sit­u­a­tions. When you’re up 20, noth­ing should bother you. The only thing you should be fo­cus­ing on is clos­ing out the game and think­ing about the game. He’s learned from it and he’s moved on.

“He’s a very com­pet­i­tive guy, which I like. I don’t ever want to take that away from him. I like that about him. I want him to keep do­ing that.” Tonight, 7 TV: Com­cast Sport­sNet

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