One of the more interesting stories that we’ve been tracking this summer has to do with the consensus No. 1 recruit in the country and his eligibility status heading into the 2012-2013 season.
The recruit is Nerlens Noel, who is — not surprisingly — headed to Kentucky this fall. And if you’ve forgotten, Noel has had his fair share of issues over the past six months.
Back in February, he decided to forego his final year of high school and enroll in college early. To make that happen, Noel needed to ramp up the amount of academic work that he was doing, which included taking a pair of classes at his old high school this summer. And he had to do all of this while he was being investigated by the New York Times as well as the NCAA.
As of this weekend, the first hurdle has been cleared: Noel finished up his academic work.
“I’m real excited to get down there,” Noel told Rivals.com late Friday night. “Big Blue Nation, I know they’re ready for another great season. I’m looking forward to getting down there and working on my game, working on every aspect of my game and getting acquainted with my teammates and coaches.”
Noel said in the interview that he’ll be arriving on campus on August 19th. Now all he has to wait on is the NCAA to give him the all-clear.
The bigger issue for Noel is two-fold — he’s not Anthony Davis but he’s going to be compared to the reigning National Player of the Year for every second that he spends in Lexington.
“I think that Anthony Davis had a much better feel for the game,” Jonathon Givony of Draft Express told KentuckySports.com. “He didn’t have to go through a lot of the things that Nerlens did — when you’re playing hundreds of AAU games where the outcome doesn’t matter and it’s all about the stat sheet. Anthony Davis’ fundamentals were much, much better and that gives you a much better framework to start playing under John Calipari.”
What made Davis so good is that he was a 6-foot-2 small forward that happened to get stretched out into a 6-foot-10 shot blocker without losing any of his coordination, quickness or skills. Noel’s a superb talent and prospect, but Davis is, simply put, a freak of nature.