Nerlens Noel Kentucky

Nerlens Noel posts double-double in Kentucky’s exhibition win over Northwood [Video]

1 Comment

All eyes will be on Kentucky as the 2012-13 season begins, and Thursday night the defending national champions saw their first live-game action in a 93-61 exhibition win over Northwood at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

The No. 1 overall prospect from the Class of 2012, big man Nerlens Noel, posted a double-double of 17 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks for a team that shot 64 percent from the field on the night.

Noel’s teammate in the frontcourt, fellow freshman Willie Cauley-Stein, added eight points and nine rebounds.

“I like the big team, I like the two big guys together,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari. “I’m fine with that. Nerlens [Noel] was really good today. Willie [Cauley-Stein] was good, Nerlens was really good.

“What’s happened is [Noel] and Willie have made each other better. They’re both better because they go against each other every day. I like the fact that I put them in together a couple days ago and they really talked to one another, like up and down the court they were telling each other I’m here, you go up, you do this, and it was good to see.”

The Wildcats, despite having a roster almost entirely different from the one that won a national title last season, were picked to finish first in the coaches’ poll at SEC media day to begin the season.

Noel is the prized recruit of Calipari’s new class, along with eligible transfers Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays, and freshmen Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, and Cauley-Stein.

For game highlights, click here.

Kentucky opens its season on Nov. 9 against Maryland at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

Getty Images
Getty Images
Leave a comment

James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

Kedren Johnson
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.