Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/28/13
John Wall and Martell Webster were soaking in a cold tub literally chilling after a voluntary workout at Verizon Center recently when Webster said he glanced over at Wall and asked “Do you feel any pressure?” Wall has dealt with nothing but pressure since the Washington Wizards drafted him No. 1 overall in 2010. After three seasons in which the franchise has failed to make the playoffs and he has failed to make an all-star team (while dealing with injuries to both knees) Wall was given an added bonus — and burden — this summer when the organization rewarded him with a five-year $80 million extension. “He goes: ‘No. Pressure for what? They extended me to play the way I’ve been playing’ ” Webster said he recalled Wall telling him. The massive contract represents the third-largest deal in franchise history and reflects the franchise’s belief in what the 23-year-old point guard will accomplish as the team’s leader. And as he enters what he called the “most anticipated” season of his career Wall isn’t afraid of the added responsibilities that he has to assume on a team that is seeking its first postseason appearance since the 2007-08 season. “Yeah I feel like the pressure is a lot more” Wall said Friday during the Wizards’ media day. “I embrace it. I love pressure. There is nothing to hide from. You hide from it you don’t need to be playing. That’s just something I have — a competitive edge and a dog I think I was born with.” Wall will be much more at ease when training camp gets underway Saturday at George Mason’s Patriot Center. He has the security of long-term stability recently purchased a $4.9 million home in Potomac and is on a team that believes it has legitimate postseason aspirations. More importantly Wall is healthy. That the Wizards’ journey toward respectability — and Wall’s personal path toward getting elite-level production out of his considerable potential — begins exactly one year after the team made the surprising announcement that he would miss significant time with a stress injury in his left knee isn’t lost on him. “It’s huge for me” said Wall who remains baffled about how he was injured before last season. “Certain things come from nowhere. My main thing is how I took care of my body this year and knowing what I need to do. I took my time to get healthy coming into training camp especially since I have bigger expectations for myself.” Wall maintained the same workout strategy as the previous summer holding early-morning sessions in Los Angeles with famed trainer Rob McClanaghan who has helped former league MVP Derrick Rose Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love reach all-star status. Oklahoma City all-star forward Kevin Durant also began training with McClanaghan last summer which gave Wall the opportunity to work alongside the three-time scoring champion every day for two weeks.
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