Julius Hodge never stepped down from a challenge while leading NC State to the Sweet 16 in 2005 and it seems like nothing has changed.
Hodge, who has played all across the globe over the past 6 years is back in Raleigh, NC to take part in the NC Pro-Am Summer Basketball League, a competitive summer league comprised mostly of current college players and ex-pros.
But on Tuesday night the league had an unexpected visitor, local hero John Wall. Wall, originally from Raleigh, was selected first overall in the 2010 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards after a single season at Kentucky. But Wall wasn’t going to get the star treatment on this night.
As the players took the floor ,Hodge immediately took the task of guarding Wall, who is possibly one of the quickest guards in the NBA today. Both players seemed tentative at first, feeling each other out, but as the score tightened and the crowd began to buzz the Wall and Hodge matchup escalated.
Wall used lighting quick crossovers and insane point to point speed while the older, wiser Hodge used his length and craftiness around the hoop. The two traded baskets and traded some friendly trash talk as the intensity rose. Hodge pounded the floor and flashed the Wolfpack sign to rile the crowd, while Wall pounded his chest, yelling “THIS IS MY CITY” after pulling off an around the back, between the legs assist on the break.
The game stayed close until the final buzzer when Wall’s team ‘Triangle G’ pulled off the one point victory thanks to his free throw with .9 seconds on the clock.
Wall produced the electric highlights and led his team to victory, but it was Julius Hodge who led all scorers with 20 points (Wall had 12), and in summer league that’s all that really matters, right?