Nerlens Noel's Thursday News and Views

Drew Franklinover 9 years


Aritcle written by:Drew FranklinDrew Franklin


They say one out of two ain't so bad. But on college basketball's spring signing day, getting one out of two was pretty awesome. On Wednesday night's Signing Day Special on ESPNU, Nerlens Noel announced that he'll be taking his college talents to the University of Kentucky. He did so by spinning around in his chair next to Dari Nowkhah and revealing a UK shaved into the back of his head. The commitment came as somewhat of a surprise to Kentucky fans, whose confidence in landing Noel had diminished a bit after multiple reports came out Wednesday afternoon saying he would commit to Georgetown. But just as Big Blue Nation had originally hoped, Noel announced his decision to play for Kentucky, ending a long month of rumors, speculation, and overanalyzing his every single word. With Noel's commitment to the Cats, Kentucky leap-frogged Arizona to claim its fourth consecutive No. 1 recruiting class under John Calipari. Not only that, the flattop feller puts Kentucky at the top of the list of teams to watch for next season. Say what you will about Kentucky's one-and-done ways, but once again, Cal has rebuilt and reloaded and he has his team on track for another banner year. Welcome aboard, Nerlens. Let's talk about it.  We'll start with the loss of Shabazz Muhammad, who Kentucky fans have drooled over since seeing his first YouTube mixtape over two years ago. The No. 2 player in America committed to UCLA on Wednesday night over Kentucky and Duke. As you're well aware, Shabazz is a rare offensive talent that will be a star in college basketball next season and in the NBA not long after that. The Bruins are very lucky to have him and he'll make a solid impact from the moment he first steps on the court. He's a great kid, great worker, and an even greater scorer, and we wish him the best. That being said, Muhammad's decision to attend UCLA is an odd one to those on the outside looking in. I understand why he chose the Bruins -- location, the Adidas connection, and he'll get 20+ shots per game -- but for someone with so much individual potential, he would have been better off playing on this side of the country. Scoring 25 points per game on the west coast doesn't draw the same attention as it does in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, or Big East. He's sure to get lost in those midnight games on the Fox Sports Network against Oregon and Arizona State.  After committing to UCLA, Shabazz Muhammad said, "Hopefully we can sell out Pauley."   As bad as Big Blue Nation wanted Shabazz in Lexington, I think most will agree that Nerlens Noel was the most desirable of the two five-star recruits. That is why Kentucky fans can hold their heads high and be excited about the future, despite losing Shabazz to Ben Howland's circus. Noel's length and athleticism is comparable to that of Anthony Davis, and although his offensive game isn't nearly the same, Noel could have the same affect on the defensive end of the floor as Davis and make a run at surpassing his insane shot blocking record. I just hope he's ready to fight the Anthony Davis comparisons all season, because they're coming.  After committing to Kentucky, Nerlens Noel said he wants to help Kentucky win another title. I'll remind you that Shabazz is hoping to sell out a home game. Speaking of sell outs, Wednesday night's live blog had over 25,000 readers. I'd be willing to bet there aren't 25,000 UCLA fans who can spell Shabazz Muhammad. Thank you all for being you.  Nerlens was joined by Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress on the ESPNU set after making his announcement to Kentucky. Noel said Goodwin and Poythress both called him after Kentucky's national title win, saying they want to do the same thing again next season. He credits that, and all the Kentucky fans, as a big reason he chose the Cats. "It opened my eyes to what a good job they do developing young talent and winning it all," he said. "It's a big family down there and I am excited to be a part of it."  Noel looked comfortable goofing off with his new teammates around the set, but that doesn't mean he's content with how Kentucky's roster looks for next season. Noel took to Twitter not long after joining UK to encourage the fans to get Alex Oriakhi on board: Oriakhi, of course, played at the same high school as Noel and the two have talked in the past about the potential of playing together next season at Kentucky. The former UConn big man is high on Missouri, but Noel's commitment could change things.  While Noel would like to see Oriakhi next to him in the paint, Anthony Bennett could be the one joining him in Kentucky's frontcourt. The Cats Pause reported on Wednesday night that UK could be close to getting a commitment from the young man who is now the best available player from the 2012 class.'s No. 7 overall player is down to Kentucky and Florida and he plans to make visits next week. But it could be the case that he commits this weekend while in Charlotte with Noel, Goodwin, and Poythress at the Jordan Brand Classic. We'll keep an eye on this one.  Is this too much recruiting talk for you? Too bad. Go here if you're not interested in all this talk about the nation's best young talent.  Hey, Evan Daniels, put all that swag down for a second and tell us about what Kentucky is getting: Video: Scout: Nerlens Noel to Kentucky "Big news for Kentucky." Yeah Evan, we know.  That'll do it for now. Come back Thursday morning for more on Noel and an exclusive look at Coach Cal's tour across the state. The trophy called shotgun but Matt Jones will be sitting comfortably in the backseat for the whole ride. Until then... Yes. Yes we are. Go Cats.

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