As is the case with Kentucky freshmen around this time of year, Nerlens Noel and his high-top fade officially declared for the NBA Draft. Chances are Noel is already looking up condos in either Cleveland or Charlotte, the most likely destinations to land the top spot according to mock drafts.
A big man from Kentucky going #1 isn’t unfamiliar territory, as Anthony Davis used his magical freshmen season to flip it into the top pick in last year’s draft and a gold medal later that summer. Noel’s journey is unique because he’s recovering from a season-ending knee injury in February. Prior to, the center averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 boards and 4.4 blocks.
John Calipari supported the decision. “The hard work and will to win he showed on the floor this year and the dedication and attitude he has shown in his rehab will only be a reward for him and whatever team drafts him in June.”
Fine words from a head coach. Of course, it’s easy to say that when you’ve got arguably the greatest freshman recruiting class ever – including a whopping six McDonald’s All-Americans – coming on campus in a few months. And that’s not even including the outside shot Andrew Wiggins commits.