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ESPN names Nerlens Noel its Defensive Player of the Month, X-Factor for conference play

It seems like it’s been a while since the Cats have received any accolades, but that trend seems to be ending in 2013. ESPN just named Nerlens Noel its Defensive Player of the Month for his performances in December:

Noel finished in the top 10 in both blocks (4.0 BPG) and steals (2.8 SPG), while also finishing in the top 25 among rebounders (9.7 RPG). He’s now on track to be the first player since Houston’s Bo Outlaw in 1992-93 to average 3.5 blocks and 2.5 steals.

ESPN’s Jason King also named Noel one of his “X-Factors” for the upcoming conference season:

The No. 1-ranked prospect in the Class of 2012, Noel certainly hasn’t been bad for the 8-4 Wildcats, whose only decent win is against Maryland. But he hasn’t exactly been dominant, either. Just as his scouting report reads, Noel is not a prolific scorer (his 10.5 points come mostly on putbacks and dunks) and his free throw shooting (52.2 percent) leaves a lot to be desired. But that’s the thing about Noel — his upside is huge. It’s obvious he’s going to get a lot better. Heck, he already has, and so have the youthful Wildcats.

Noel, who averages 3.6 blocks, became one of college basketball’s elite defenders the moment he stepped on the court for his first game. If he continues to improve offensively — and if his teammates continue to progress — Kentucky could have Final Four potential, depending on matchups.

I’ll take it. Nice job, flat top feller.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

16 responses to “ESPN names Nerlens Noel its Defensive Player of the Month, X-Factor for conference play”

  1. ukfastcat

    Great job so far, N2.
    Keep bringing that incredible energy.
    And inject some of it into your bud, Alex!

  2. Zabisco

    There are not many bigger UK fans than me.. but all this “Final Four” talk that KSR highlights needs to be tabled. The trith is, with an 8-4 record, we are on the cusp on the bubble.

    I’d like us to string together a number of SEC wins before pushing such optimism to BBN

  3. Jorts

    Nobody thought we’d make it to the FF in 2011, but we did. We just had to figure things out as the season went along, and so does this squad. Work on those free throws and you guys can be a contender! Go Cats!

  4. Ridge Runner

    Well deserved flat top feller, well deserved. He brings it every game. He will continue to get better I think managing his self control with fouls.

  5. Rex Chapman

    2. There are many bigger UK fans than you!! Negative people are the UK fans we need to let loose.

  6. Rockfield, KY

    Our main probelm come tourney time will be our RPI. We need to beat Florida and Missouri on the road to get a good seed. We also need all our non-conference opponents to win their conferences. That could be big for us.

  7. Raazoul

    2 LOL on the bubble? Are you retarded? So if after the first game, 1-0, were we on the way to an undefeated season? That’s how dumb you sound. We won’t lose more than 7-8 games this entire season, you can book that. That’s if we even lose 4 games in the SEC, which I doubt. Our team now is better than UL last year at this point and just as good as the B.Knight team 12 games in, if not better. Both Final Four teams.

  8. Raazoul

    6, I agree, but I’d almost rather drop to a 7 than be a 4. But either way, every 1 seed will be watching and hoping that UK isn’t waiting for them in the second or third round!

  9. NerlensFlatTop

    Way to go big fella. Well deserved. And, we surely can make it to the final four. It’s up for grabs.

  10. Jerry Tipton

    Have you all read my article “If history is guide, so-so start foretells 12-4 finish in the SEC” that’s out today? Very insightful. Especially since UK plays an 18-game conference schedule this year.

  11. Jughead

    I love watching Noel play. Large cajones, great hustle, and a will to win.

  12. bung

    I don’t think we will lose anymore games this season if we finally start to run and make more assists…

  13. UK Freshmen

    Given this lousy schedule, he should have 10 blocks per game. And if he doesn’t score more than this against the Sisters of the Poor, no way he makes it in the NBA.

  14. UK Freshmen

    Mom says I have to clean the basement. I’ll be back later.

  15. ChrisC

    I think we will most likely lose a few more games this season, but I think they’ll at least be close games unlike Baylor and Notre Dame. Like I’ve said before UConn lost 11 games the last time they won a championship, so 6 or 7 losses wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

  16. uk22

    goooooo caaattttsssss