With all the hype surrounding Nerlens’ and Shabazz’s decisions tomorrow night, it’s nice to take a moment and read about the people who may become future Kentucky stars. The Boston Globe has an excellent profile of Nerlens Noel today, in which we learn a little bit more about the flat-top feller.
Writer Julian Benbow documents Noel’s decision in February to reclassify to the 2012 class, and the whirlwind recruiting process that’s taken over his life. Noel really shot onto the scene in January after a dominating performance in the Hoophall Classic, and based on the rave reviews he received, decided to reclassify. Since then, Noel’s life has been hectic to say the least, with some AAU coaches likening him to a “lottery ticket” just blowing a wind, with a handful of schools scurrying to pick it up.
The best part about Nerlens? His upside:
What may be most fascinating about him though, is the amount of progress he’s made as a player and the amount of potential still left.
“It’s been a long process,” he said. “I’ve just stayed humble through it, kept working hard, trying to get where I’m at right now. I still don’t think I’m where I need to be at. I’ve just got to keep working hard.”
His shot-blocking is one thing, but he can guard different positions. And where he once was passive offensively, he now puts the ball on the floor, pushes fast breaks, finishes with both hands around the rim, and has developed into a sharp passer.
“Last year, he’s already had uncanny ability as a shot-blocker but he was a little more reluctant of an offensive player,” O’Neil said. “That changed this year; he’s started to assert his will on the offensive end.”
Come on down, Nerlens.