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Wizards' star John Wall goes in-depth on racism and events in Charlottesville

Wizards' star John Wall goes in-depth on racism and events in Charlottesville

John Wall has always been one to speak his mind and answer questions directly, though politics isn't often his game. During the preseason last fall he was asked who he was voting for between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and his response was evasive. He didn't want to go there.

But the past week's events, starting with the protests in Charlottesville that included a woman getting killed by a white supremacist driving through a crowd, have clearly weighed on the Wizards' star point guard. Wall spoke at length about the current state of affairs at his charity event at Rosedale Community Center in Northeast Washington on a broiling Friday afternoon.

Wall met with the media, but first made an address to the kids and parents who showed up for his backpack giveaway and other charity efforts. He began by referencing Charlottesville.

"I know this week has been tough for our country with things not going the way we would want them to, but the most important thing is that you can't use that as retaliation. We've all got to treat each other as the same. No matter what color you are, we are all family. We're all in this world trying to make it more peaceful and promising than anything," he said.

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Afterwards, Wall spoke further about how this last week has affected him.

"It's very important [to give back], especially with what has been going on the past week or so in our country and the tough times that we're dealing with. I want the kids to understand that no matter what goes on, you can't use that to try to target nobody else. We're all one whole family. Even though we're different races, we're still one big family. We have to work to try to get things to as best the situation we can and keep it positive," he explained.

"It's been difficult [the last week]," Wall continued. "It's been tough. We go through times where things are going in the right direction for us and our country is going in positive ways, then we revert back to the stuff we try to tell our kids not to do, that our parents told us not to be. We are going through what we went through in the past when we thought we got away from that. It's kind of amazing to think that in 2017 and going into 2018, that we're still dealing with the same type of things that our great, great grandparents dealt with. We thought we were going in a positive direction. All we can do is not use it in retaliation. Try to stay positive and understand that we need to give these kids a brighter [outlook]. Don't use it to go back at these people."

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Wall was asked about the fact he's speaking out, as many athletes don't and he in the past hasn't been someone to delve into politics and current events. He feels now like he has no choice.

"If it's something I feel like I need to speak on, I will speak on it. I feel like with what we're going through, it's kind of tough. What everybody is saying is totally right. We thought we got past those things. Every year there is something that is reverting right back to it. It's something that we're going to have to deal with for the rest of our lives. But as long as we educate our kids and educate our people that we are role models to, and show them that we can't revert back to that, I think we'll be totally fine."

Wall has a platform as an NBA superstar and one that happens to play in Washington, where policies and laws are set. He relishes the power as someone kids look up to, knowing he can make a difference with what he says and does.

"It's me and my personality and what my mom wanted me to be growing up: not just a great basketball player, but having character as a young man. That's what a lot of people look at first. They look at the talents and the things that I do on the basketball court, but they understand how I carry myself off the court, with a clean image and trying to not do things to get in trouble. That's what I pride myself off of."

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by Nick Ashooh and Stefon Marquis to talk NBA Draft. 

They broke down five prospects and their potential fit with the Wizards: Moe Wagner of Michigan, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, Grayson Allen of Duke, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Omari Spellman of Villanova.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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