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Is Nerlens’ entourage costing him the number one pick?

Noel_Nerlens_TV Head 12-13

Over the past week, Nerlens Noel has slowly been losing his grasp on the number one pick. Bill Simmons and ESPN’s Ryen Russillo discussed Nerlens’ draft stock on the latest B.S. Report podcast. Here are the three “red flags” they found around our beloved flat top feller:

Red flag #1: Knee surgery and growth plate problems in high school

This one’s obvious. As we all remember far too well, Nerlens tore his ACL against Florida back in February, has since had surgery and according to his doctors, is well ahead of schedule in his rehab. Yet, teams are hesitant about taking him with the first pick because he’ll be out until at least Christmas, and according to some NBA medical experts, even longer.

Red flag #2: Who is he?

Another red flag they found was that Nerlens doesn’t really have an “NBA doppleganger” to compare his game to. That’s partly due to the fact that he only played for about 2/3 of the season before he got injured, and his offense is still developing. Simmons and Russillo mentioned Tyson Chandler and Theo Ratliff as potential “dopplegangers.” Also of concern is Nerlens’ slight frame, which dipped as low as 206 after his surgery. While it’s reportedly back up to 218, those legs are still very, very skinny.

Red flag #3: Handlers

The major red flag concerning Nerlens may be the people he’s surrounding himself with. Simmons and Russillo discussed Nerlens’ “handlers,” and how they are making things difficult for teams to get information about him. Apparently, it is very hard to get in touch with Noel, who just hired agents on Thursday. Russillo says that Worldwide Wes AND Lebron James’ agent Rich Paul tried to get in touch with Nerlens, but Nerlens’ crew “blew them off.” They also blew off one agent six times in a row before finally meeting with him. Russillo calls the entourage “epic bad news men”:

“I guess his handlers are looking for something here. They have him, I don’t know if it’s brainwashed or scared, but they’ve attached themselves to him. Maybe they don’t even want him signed with an agent and tehy’re just trying to figure out the best deal for themselves. So you factor in that he’s hurt, he had this growth plate thing that happened to him when he was a sophomore in high school and he’s not exactly…you know, this isn’t Anthony Davis. In Anthony Davis, you saw a wide set of skills. I’m wondering if he’ll even go #1 now. I heard Washington say if he’s on the board at #3 that they won’t even take him. So, I imagine this stuff will get out more and more, because these agents are unbelievably frustrated. …It’s kind of sad, because I don’t really think it’s even on Noel. So many times we hear about these guys that are involved in the process that make it far more difficult for the player to pursue his career when they’re supposed to be the ones that are helping him when they’re really just helping themselves.”

To hear these comments about a player we’ve come to love so much on AND off the court is incredibly discouraging. Anyone who has spent time with Nerlens will testify that he’s a class act who is mature beyond his years. However, that can’t always be said about the people the often attach themselves to future NBA stars. Hopefully there’s still time to make things right before next week’s draft, starting with his interview in Cleveland on Thursday.

Listen to Simmons and Russillo talk about Nerlens near the 1:00:00 mark.


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.

34 Comments for Is Nerlens’ entourage costing him the number one pick?

  1. Disagree
    12:07 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Gotta disagree about the “class act” description. I have met dozens of UK basketball players, and even lived with a couple over the last 10 years and Nerlens is the first UK player who has ever acted as if he was “too good” to be shaking my hand. He came off as very arrogant, incredibly dismissive and disinterested, and frankly not very mature either. I do not fault him for the immaturity aspect because he was only 18. I would not expect him to be mature at age 18. I am just not as surprised as Mrs. Tyler Thompson apparently is about this story based upon my experience.

  2. Nathan
    12:09 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    1) Why would you be living with college kids for 10 years? Sounds like you’re a creeper, and maybe he was picking up on that. Might be getting your jollies a little too much on 18-21 year old b-ball players.

  3. BNClay
    12:11 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Noels NBA doppleganger is Kenneth Faried. High energy, High intensity, defensivly focused, non jump shooting, lots of alley oops and transition baskets, undersized front court player. Farieds reboudning is much better, but Noels shot blocking is better than Faried.

  4. wtf
    12:14 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    #1 do you even know what Nerlens has done for the community? He goes and sees sick children all the time. He shows up at charities to help. He takes pictures with fans all the time. He even watched the UK team fresh off an ACL surgery and was cheering for them. Nerlens is anything but arrogant.

  5. JRHop
    12:14 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    #1, that is what we unlovingly refer to as “anecdotal evidence.”

  6. wtf
    12:16 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    not surgery but a torn ACL. my bad

  7. brain
    12:18 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    I hope it’s not true. Keep in mind it’s called the BS report.

  8. brain
    12:19 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    @1 I wouldn’t shake your hand either based on your description of yourself.

  9. Rob
    12:19 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t someone write an article before the season even started about the people surrounding him being bad news but we blew it off because its UK and nothing bad happens to UK

  10. wtf
    12:23 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Honestly if you want to find arrogant basketball players in high school, it’s normally not the high profile or star of the team, it’s the players that are stuck riding the pine and think they should be getting playing time because they know they can beat anybody one on one.

  11. HillbillyInBC
    12:29 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    We’re all familiar with negative recruiting. This is the NBA version. Rumours like this start floating just before the draft because teams want someone above them to pass over a guy they want to fall down to them, and because agents want that guy to fall so their clients can move up. Take every pre-draft rumour with a giant boulder of salt.

  12. PhilUK18
    12:30 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink


    You’ve lived with a few college kids in the past 10 years, while implying that you aren’t one yourself? I would refuse to shake your hand too, and applaud Nerlens for doing the same. I’ve met him several times on campus (you see, I was a student until a month ago), and he’s a great kid, and you sound like a creep.

  13. PhilUK18
    12:31 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink


    To further my point, if visiting hospitals to see sick kids, volunteering at the Special Olympics in Lexington, and taking a young leukemia patient and UK fan to the Derby doesn’t qualify as being a class act in your mind, then what does?

  14. Jay r
    12:39 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens is Larry sander with a smaller frame, which in a year or two he will/should be bilked up

  15. Jay r
    12:41 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    *Bulked…..spell check sucks ass

  16. Boogie
    12:42 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    @3. I see almost zero resemblance of Kenneth Faried. Completely different player. Nerlens is 6’11. That’s not necessarily undersized. And 206 pounds is clearly due to a surgery…it’s hard for an 18 year old to be physically matured anyhow. He will be playing at 240 when he gets back healthy.

  17. tuxedo park
    12:44 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Sounds like someone is trying to throw a little more shade Lexington’s way. Simmons has always been kind of paranoid looking for conspiracy theories for everything. And hey, if you can’t find news, just make some up, that seems to be the media’s MO lately. Screw them… Nerlens seems like a great kidn, and he will be the best player out of this draft, and a great defensive force for years to come. The Cavs can pick Oladipo or Mclemore or whoever the hell they want. Nerlens may drop in the draft but whoever picks him will get a steal. Like a the warrior he is, Nerlens will rise to the top, mark my words!

  18. Musehobo
    1:10 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Though I’m pretty sure the “10 years” comment by #1 was meant to be concerning the players he has met and not how long he lived with them, it doesn’t even matter.

    “Visiting hospitals to see sick kids, volunteering at the Special Olympics in Lexington, and taking a young leukemia patient and UK fan to the Derby” > than not paying enough attention to you while shaking your hand. I realize it was your personal experience with him, but you can’t judge a person by the 1 minute you were around them, especially when there’s so much other evidence he’s a great guy.

  19. Bamacat55
    1:22 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    I am more old school but I look at Nerlens as a Bill Russell type player, not a lot of offense but great defense and rebounding.

  20. Disagree
    1:34 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Nathan, that was perhaps the worst reading comprehension I have ever witnessed. Kentucky’s education system for ya…..

    Brain, that made no sense. See my above comment about KY’s education system.

    Nerlens may very well but a fantastic, all around great guy with the highest moral character. However, to come to that conclusion based upon photos and blog posts from a website rather than your own experience is just ignorant. That being said, I sincerely hope I got the wrong impression and that he continues to use his newfound influence, and future vast resources to continue helping and inspiring those in dire need of it. I wish him the best in the NBA and hope that he surround himself with genuine people rather than the selfish thugs most NBA rookies surround themselves with.

  21. tangledupinblue
    1:48 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    When you hear about former NBA players that are flat broke and in debt in just a few years out of the league , its almost always because of the handlers, friends , and leaches that the player was surrounded by . I think Nerlens has a huge heart and I’m sure he has a lot of
    friends and relatives he wants to take care of , I just hope people don’t take advantage of it .

  22. brain
    1:57 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Disagree- It made no sense to you.

  23. ClintEastwoodsChair
    2:22 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    The B.S report is now reporting Nerlens also has trouble with the curve.

  24. sunnycat
    2:38 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    I am sure he has a few hangers on. And like most athletes he will learn the hard way those people are not his friends. Most likely after the money is gone.

  25. UKBlue
    2:39 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    #1 Just trying to stir things up for attention; if the person is going to lie, next time at least try coming up with a believably story.

    Too bad Cal didn’t, couldn’t, hasn’t stepped in to help get these people away from Noel. The stories of these people have always been around Noel; too bad he doesn’t remember the stories of ESPN 30 for 30 Broke. Noel needs to learn the word NO.

  26. Tampa Satchel
    2:51 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Keep in mind that it is quite common for teams to leak false rumors about players in order to try to get them to drop lower so that they may draft them. I would take everything you hear with a gran of salt.

  27. BNClay
    3:35 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    No doubt he will hit the weight room and put on some pounds, but he isn’t 6’11 with out the hair (UK listed him 6’10 and I think that is giving him an inch), and he isn’t gonna get to the size of some elite front court players in the league. But like Faried he make up for the size with quickness and effort. Even if/when he gets to 240 he will be giving up 20lbs when he matching up with other frontcourt players.

  28. Draft
    3:41 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    These guys are paid by certain teams to put out bad info so a player will drop down to them. This happens every single year. Don’t believe one single word a team or nba draft dude says because it’s all spin. We know Noel hustles and has a heart of gold.

  29. Beezer
    4:38 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    When I saw the name of one of Nerlens “agents” my first thought is that this is not good. He is taking terrible advice and it will likely cost him dearly in the long run if he isn’t careful. I do think he is a good kid but this guy is bad news and a SHADY individual. I honestly thought and hoped Nerlens would have disaccociatted himself from him but he obviously hasn’t. I also hope the hanger on wasn’t hanging around UK all year either. As Cal would say, the guy is a taker.

  30. Beezer
    5:02 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Not agent, his business manager. Which is worse. Not regulated at all.

  31. Boofus
    8:37 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Regardless of his handling of the draft, Nerlens Noel will still go in the top 5. The bigger concern is how he’ll do AFTER the draft. If he’s genuinely a “low-character” guy, then he’d likely never develop and fulfill his potential and end up a bust like Michael Beasley. hopefully he gets his head on straight.

  32. Bad news
    9:28 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlons isn’t as sincere as he seems. This Steven guy going around saying he is his “manager” is a joke. He is only in it for himself and is as shady as they come. So I believe in the good old saying “you are only as good as the company you keep”

  33. mel
    8:07 am June 18, 2013 Permalink

    #9 is right, there was a NYT article that talked about all of the skeezy people who wanted a piece of nerlens, but it was written by pete thamel soooo idk idk, i’m more inclined to believe it’s negative recruiting nba style.

  34. 13 year old cats fan
    5:31 pm June 18, 2013 Permalink

    I was at uk father/son camp this weekend and world wide Wes and his kids were their.