Lots has been said lately of the rumor-mongering that the New York Times has done under the guise of journalism, drawing ire from not only the Big Blue Nation, but other third-party media sources as well. Even site-favorite Gregg Doyel has insinuated that the NCAA is using these reporters to do the dirty work they can't be seen doing, and most in the industry see the baseless drama-churning for what it is: worthless.
But of the myriad opinions voiced since the story ran, one has been missing: Nerlens Noel. Well, Adam Zagoria fixed that late last night (or early this morning, depending on whether your sleep schedule is as stupid as mine) with this article
written around a conversation with the man himself.
Spoiler alert: there's nothing shocking.
And why should there be? Even if there was an ounce of truth (which I highly doubt), it would be surprising for this to be the way that it got out. But regardless, Noel has taken up for himself, and assures us that everything with his school work is just fine:
No, the NCAA hasn’t contacted me or my mom directly. I don’t want to be too specific, but I’m in a good position to qualify. There’s not really much I have to do to not qualify. I’m [sic] mean, in a great position right now, there’s nothing really wrong with the situation.
It sounds like it's just what we thought it was: a routine check into one of the nation's most prominent high school players. I'll take Nerlens' word for it when he says he's in "great position," and feel confident that this is really just a non-issue.
But the academic standing wasn't all that Nerlens addressed. Of the NYT's implications that Nerlens has nefarious ties to Chris Driscoll and Errol Randolph, Noel simply answered:
I’m just going to leave that alone.
Then, regarding the source of funding for Noel to take his unofficial visits (which cannot be paid by the school) to UK and UofL, he said, again:
I’m going to leave that alone as well.
That may seem like a copout, but trust me: That's probably a wise decision on his part
, and doesn't reflect in any way that he has a guilty conscience. At this point, it probably is
best that he not say anything, even if it's in an attempt to absolve him of whatever he was accused of doing. The facts will speak for themselves, and any quotes he provides could be taken out of context or misquoted by the very "journalists" attempting to find dirt in the first place. The silence speaks to confidence, not guilt, that he's in a fine position, and that will probably be pretty clear pretty quickly.
Finally, as a likely parting shot to the very sassy Ms. Thamel, Noel included this byte:
At the end of the day, the media is going to be the media and do what they do but I mean, the main thing is just to staying [sic] positive and never really letting the media get you down, cause that’s how its going to be at the end of the day.
He forgot to mention that, at the "end of the day," he'll be making bookoo bucks playing basketball in the NBA instead of trying to ruin young men's lives with bad research and borderline libel.