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3 Reasons Not To Get Your “Nerlens” Hopes Up


You might have heard in his latest single last night, featuring Wes Grams, that Nerlens is considering coming back to Kentucky for his sophomore year, ala Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones, and Doron Lamb.  There is absolutely zero question that having Noel on next year’s team would be an invaluable asset, but it’s prudent not to get excited just yet.  I hate to channel my inner Jerry Tipton, but here are three reasons to cool your jets over the whole “Nerlens might come back” thing.  It’s for your own good, I promise.

1) 2014 NBA Draft is just too strong

If you haven’t noticed, the overall talent level in college basketball is a little down this year.  Guys like Ben McLemore are taking over draft boards, while pre-season favorites like Cody Zeller and Shabazz Muhammad are no longer getting serious consideration for number one picks.  Nerlens, even with his ACL injury, is projected top-three on Chad Ford’s draft board.  There is simply a dearth of hyper-talented athletes playing the game right now.  Next year’s class, though, is unbelievable.  With guys like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, the Harrisons, Aaron Gordon, and Julius Randle (along with a ton of others), 2014 is absolutely stacked.  It’s almost a given that Wiggins will go number one next year.  And should Nerlens stay, he’d have to compete with all those other guys, along with this year’s holdovers, for a second or third spot.  He could certainly do it, but it’d be a lot more work to go number three next year than it would this year.

2) Remember MKG?

We all love MKG, so it was no surprise when BBN collectively freaked out after he announced via twitter that he would be “graduating from UK.”  Could he stay four years?  Could he at least stay two?  Of course, he opted to enter the draft, and was selected second overall behind Anthony Davis.  Some folks were a little upset, maybe felt a little betrayed, but ultimately it was 100% the right decision.  A lot of kids get caught up in the moment, feel passionately about the University and the fanbase, and want to make everybody happy.  Then they realize that coming back is not always the smart move.  No hard feelings.  We understand.  But this seems like an all-too-familiar scenario with Nerlens.  If you’ve been there before, act like it; and we’ve been here before.

3) Under-promise, over-deliver

After Nerlens got hurt, and before we knew the severity, I had a couple people ask me what I thought would happen.  The first thing I told them was “I don’t freaking know, he’s not on my speed dial.”  The second thing I said was that it was best to prepare yourself emotionally for his career at UK to be over.  I still maintain that.  Even if I thought he would come back, it’s silly to start relying on something that’s still so much up in the air.  The first rule of strategy is “Never start a land war in Asia,” but the second is “under-promise, over-deliver.”  It’s always best to temper expectations, and be pleasantly surprised, than to get your hopes up, and have them dashed.  So while I’ll admit that there is a chance that Nerlens will come back, even if that chance were fifty-fifty (which it’s not), it’s a good idea to move on from expecting to have another year of Nerlens in Blue.

This year has so much going on, with Bubble Watch 2013, the decade’s most important SEC Tournament, and Rand Paul’s filibuster, that speculation on Nerlens’ future is something best saved until after the season is over.  When that happens, hopefully later than sooner, we’ll have much better perspective on the big guy’s ultimate destination.  Until then, enjoy the season, and don’t get your hopes up.  It’s for the best.

Article written by Corey Nichols

28 Comments for 3 Reasons Not To Get Your “Nerlens” Hopes Up

  1. Greer
    9:02 am March 7, 2013 Permalink


  2. Wildboi
    9:11 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    Well damn…just when I thought…ahhh I’m not…whatever it was fun while it lasted

  3. minton
    9:11 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    He’s be crazy to come back now after a knee injury. Take the money while you can. You never know how that knee will hold up.

  4. rj
    9:14 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    thats why theres no point in listening to that number 9 song.

  5. not so fast
    9:31 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    dont get me wrong Im not bashing Nerlens, I love him like every other UK fan does, but his offensive game was as limited as any “top 5” 5 I have ever seen, in other words, he didnt have one. NBA scouts will soon find out he isnt reeally 6’11 as advertised, but more like 6’9 or 6’10 (thats HUGE in NBA perspective), just look at a pic of him standing next to WCS, while the hair tops are simlair in height, his eyes and shoulders are easily 2 inches shorter than WCS. Add in he is recovering from an ACL tear, and many GMs may very well back off. He is an extraordinary shot blocker, but that doesnt always translate to the NBA game. Anthony Davis is only averaging 1.8 blocks per game and he was considered the best shot blocker in the last generation, just last year. All Im saying is, Nerlens will be crazy not to go if he is top 5, but Im not convinced the teams at the top of the draft this year, will be willing to take a “big” man thats not that big, who cant score, and is rehabbing from knee surgery. I see him falling in the draft, to likely 10-15. Then he will need to decide if he can go higher if he comes back.

  6. Vizzini
    9:31 am March 7, 2013 Permalink


  7. Wise guy
    9:34 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    Enjoy this season?

  8. Corey Nichols
    9:35 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    6 – You keep using that word. I’m not sure it means what you think it means.

  9. dubowski
    9:35 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    Really? They asked you what you ‘thought’ and you said, “I dont freaking know, he is not on my speed dial”. God forbid someone ask you, a person who writes [poorly] about college basketball, for your opinion.

  10. wow
    9:39 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    5 your dumb obviously this year is nohting but potential picks and acl tear or not hes got the most. And ya ad is only averaging 1.8 blocks but he is a rook go back and find me the top blockers in the nba rookie seasons stats and i bet they are around there.

  11. ajh
    9:44 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    HE’S GONE. Drop it…..

  12. Corey Nichols
    9:45 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    9 – The point was to say that I had no particular insight. And that’s the way I talk to people that I consider friends, sir, which is also why I’m being so polite to you now.

  13. jerk
    9:46 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    11 who are you to come here and kill someones dream geesh your like the grinch.

  14. bige
    9:50 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    Crazy not to go.

  15. I agree that he’s gone (chances of coming back are almost none IMHO…like .00000001%), so we should just refuse to be on pins and needles about this like we all are about WigginsRandleGordon.

    However, if he does come back, WOO-HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PAR-TAY!!!

  16. TampaCat
    10:28 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    With Nerlens – 40-0 baby!
    Without Nerlens – 40-0 baby!

  17. wow
    10:33 am March 7, 2013 Permalink


  18. RealCatsFan
    10:33 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    You know, sometimes I simply despise the friggin’ NBA draft… 🙂

  19. UKBlue
    10:47 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    With the knee injury, now every option is in play !! Right now no one knows nothing, there has yet to be a surgery, he hasn’t started rehab, unless you have a crystal ball this is a 50/50 decision.

  20. HicksPickSix
    10:53 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    Congratulations, Corey Nichols! You’ve won the “Most Obvious Post of the Week” award! Don’t worry about writing an acceptace speech; just link some pointless YouTube videos and call it a day.

  21. Nick Baxter
    11:15 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    Breaking News: Randle to UK, told staff last night 100% he would be a wildcat. Still will announce officially on the March 20th.

  22. STEVE!
    11:19 am March 7, 2013 Permalink

    If Nerlens waited until 2014, he would still be drafted ahead of all of those guys you mentioned, with the possible exception of Wiggins, so his draft status swouldn’t be harmed by returning. Having said that, I don’t think he will return.

  23. bluristhurr
    12:05 pm March 7, 2013 Permalink

    Anybody else noticed yet that every year the next class is suppose to be deeper and better then the last one? I swear people were saying this years was going to be deeper then the last years.

  24. Bleed Blue
    12:07 pm March 7, 2013 Permalink

    @21 how is that breaking news? I have been saying for almost a week now that Randle is coming to UK and you people obviously refuse to listen to me. Also Trey Lyles the 2014 player we thought was going to commit, will not be deciding till next Winter now so there’s that also.

    Also Nerlens’ decision will be based around his rehab and since he hasn’t even had surgery yet. That means the window for him to decide is getting smaller and smaller, if it gets to the point where the window gets so small that he has to make a decision before he has gotten 2-3 months into his rehab he will be coming back.

  25. NoNoel
    12:49 pm March 7, 2013 Permalink

    ’tis a No(el) brainer, in that he ought NOT come back to UK, as he’s still a lock 2B a high lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft….gotta take the millions NOW/this year, as that was the Xpectashun all along, i.e., that he wOOd be @ UK just one season… closed

  26. not so fast
    1:02 pm March 7, 2013 Permalink

    10. I wont call you dumb, its not my style. But did you read my post? I said “Nerlens will be crazy not to go if he is top 5, but Im not convinced the teams at the top of the draft this year, will be willing to take a “big” man thats not that big, who cant score, and is rehabbing from knee surgery. I see him falling in the draft, to likely 10-15.”

    While most NBA GMs do draft on “potential”, no GM is going to rush to spend top 5 money on a guy that may miss the entire season, and then be a Risk vs Reward kinda guy. “Potential” is the 10-15 range picks, 1-5 are expected to play, and expected to contribute by year 2 or three. With him needing to sit out, his stock could drop. Meaning it would likely benefit him to come back. Just because Chad Ford thinks he’ll remain the top 5, doesnt mean he will.

  27. SoCal Will
    1:28 pm March 7, 2013 Permalink

    No Brainer. Share playing time with Dakari Johnson/Marcus Lee or receive multi million guaranteed contract. We all love Nerlens. He has a pure spirit, kind heart, and loves the BBN. God Speed, big fella….

  28. Garmaster
    8:22 am March 8, 2013 Permalink

    10. Manute Bol led the league with 5 blocks per game his rookie year