With Nerlens Noel out for the remainder of the 2012-13 season, all the Noel discussion is whether he’ll enter the NBA draft this summer or return to Kentucky for a sophomore campaign. It’s been the biggest topic in Kentucky for the last 24 hours, sadly, when fans should be worrying about the upcoming road contest against Tennessee. I’m guilty of it, too. We’re all concerned about the flattop feller and his future.
Coach Cal also addressed Noel’s future last night on his radio show, and he suggested a second season in Kentucky blue is an option, depending on Noel’s status two or three months from now.
“It’s a six-month rehab,” Cal said of Noel’s upcoming road to recovery. “When he’s two or three months in, seeing that progress and then figuring out, ‘Is he ready to go on to that next step?’ Like I told him, if you’re not ready, you come back and you become the best big guy in the country. You were one of them this year; you’ll be even better next year. But that’s something that he and his family will have to go through.”
Noel is still projected to be a lottery pick this June and his position in the draft won’t be any different next year with a loaded class. The decision will ultimately come down to if he wants to enter his rookie season in the league with a bum leg, or return to school to improve under Calipari and the Kentucky staff alongside other elite young talent — while chasing that title he was so hungry for this year.
Calipari told him yesterday, “Don’t feel pressed, because after going through six or seven months of rehab, you may say, ‘I’m not ready now to walk into a training camp that’s all new and I’m not ready.’ Well, then you come back and you be the best big man in the country again. That’s his option.”