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Nerlens Has to ‘D Up’

When Nerlens leaves his feet, it’ll either be a nasty block or 2 points for the other team. Guess what happened this time?

When Nerlens leaves his feet, it’ll either be a nasty block or 2 points for the other team. Guess what happened this time?


Big Blue Nation knew entering the season that it would take some time for Nerlens Noel to get adjusted to the speed of the game. He wasn’t supposed to be able to put of 16 points while using an effective arsenal of post moves. He was supposed to be a presence in the paint, and a more experienced shot blocker than Anthony Davis. After two games, Nerlens has given up a combined 41 points and 15 rebounds. We didn’t expect him to struggle on this side of the ball, but Noel has probably never had to guard an elite post, relying on his shot blocking ability in high school.

What can Nerlens do to improve his defensive game?


1. Quit Gambling so much. In last night’s first half, Nerlens was a little too bold defending in the post. While denying Plumlee the ball on the block, he went for too many passes that he simply didn’t have a chance at ever stealing, leaving Plumlee with nobody in between him and the rim. You could tell that Cal beat this into his head at halftime. In the 2nd half he ended up making Plumlee score over him and played a bit more conservatively. If he would’ve forced Plumlee to prove that he could score over him early on, he may not have gotten into his zone and only missed 1 FG. Although Noel had 4 steals, they didn’t happen when he was guarding the post.


2. Stay on his feet. For a guy that should know how to time a shot block, he hasn’t had the best timing so far. 3 blocks is good, but he gave experienced Dukies too much wiggle room inside. I can count 3 times where Nerlens helped on a driving guard and left his feet. In doing so he gave the SR Duke guards an open lane to dump the ball off to Nerlens’ open man. If I could talk to Nerlens I’d say, “DUDE, YOU’RE 7 FOOT! You don’t have to jump that high to block a little guard’s shot.” Every time a young player leaves his feet, he leaves the entire defense vulnerable and there is a much better chance that he’ll commit a foul.


3. Make it Nasty. The Georgetown teams with Patrick Ewing in the 80s had swagger. They intimidated other teams with their inside game. They dominated the paint and sometimes would even take a goal tending call in the first few minutes just to flex their muscles. Nerlens can’t let another big man get on a roll to start the game. He can start by not letting them catch the ball so deep into the lane. Instead of catching it 6 feet from the basket, make that guy score over you from 8-10 feet. Nerlens is strong enough, he just has to get acquainted with how much he can push people around without getting stupid fouls.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

68 Comments for Nerlens Has to ‘D Up’

  1. Bomb Squad
    1:52 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Spot on Nick.

  2. Anthony Davis
    1:52 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    That’s why I was so good at blocking shots. I didnt leave my feet until the shot went up. Nerlens will learn. Cal should show him my highlights

  3. RYNO
    1:54 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I used to love ksr, but it has just gotten lazy. All you do know is go to catsillustrated and steal topics. They do all the work and you just plagiarize it. Pathetic that you would do that.

  4. Wow
    2:00 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    What is this dudes vertical? I’m pretty sure he’s well on his way down here and is still a good 30 inches off the ground

  5. KSR
    2:01 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    RYNO – Panties in a bunch? We’re on the same team here, bro.

  6. Go Cats
    2:03 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Very simplistic take. Team defense is more important than individual performance. Look at Butler and how well they played defense without a single athletic player. You have a lot to learn about basketball.

  7. UKNation
    2:05 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Julius Mays looks identical to Sharif Atkins.

  8. Nick Roush
    2:06 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    6. Very true, however when 3 guys leave the floor including Nerlens to block a shot, that is poor team defense. I think it’s easiest to breakdown Nerlens’ post Defense because A. The stats show he hasn’t done well. B. I know a thing or two about post defense.

  9. UpperSectionStudent
    2:09 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Been waiting for this post. Went hoarse last night yelling for him to stand still and stop leaving his feet. Everyone looked at his offense but no one said anything about how many points he gave up.

  10. UK22
    2:09 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Man I love this team. A lot of growing to do but their pure athletism is soo much fun to watch. These kids can ball.

  11. UK
    2:10 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    While Nerlens does have to stop leaving his feet on every single shot, he is a very good defender, maybe more so than Davis. He has very active hands and gets many deflections and steals from poking the ball away from behind. While I hate losing to Duke, I am very encouraged as to where this team will be.

  12. Derp
    2:11 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    6. Butler’s team defense isn’t that good. In fact, they just got smoked by a Xavier team that lost almost every bit of their offense from last year.

  13. Blue
    2:15 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I remember one play in the second half during Duke’s run that had me screaming my head off at the TV. A duke player was being guarded by Poythress and drove the ball down the left side of the lane. Poythress did a great job of cutting him off and forced him into a terrible shot. BUT, Nerlens was on the weakside, had no chance at blocking the shot, but tried to anyway. So, you had two Kentucky players flailing to block a shot that really never had a chance at going in, and the offensive rebound was easily corralled by Duke, kicked out to an open shooter, and 3 points were added to the scoreboard. It was a huge possession that could’ve totally changed the complexion of the game, and one that I highlight as a major learning experience for this team going forward.

  14. RYNO
    2:20 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Hey douche- post as FakeRYNO if you’re going to steal someone’s handle.

  15. RYNO
    2:22 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    3) I had it first- and you’ve already gotten me banned once before. This site really needs a registration for commenters. That way only one person can use each screen name. TO KSR- WHY CAN’T YOU BLOCK SOMEONE BASED ON EMAIL ADDRESS AND NOT HANDLE NAME?

  16. RYNO
    2:24 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I can post offensive, negative things using a screen name of another commenter I don’t like and get them banned? That’s a problem.

  17. RYNO
    2:26 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    3) If you don’t love it anymore, you think they’re all lazy plagerists- THEN GOODBYE! Hit the road punk.

  18. Halfcourtshots
    2:27 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Plumlee did get 18 points, but he also had 5 turnovers. In the second half I think he got 4. Several of his buckets came on plays where Noel had to help. His defense was really good last night. He does need to stay on his feet more, but overall he is an excellent defender.

  19. Dr. Mantis Taboggin
    2:38 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Speaking of Georgetown of old, best college basketball team I ever saw was Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Motumbo together. We could have that if they learn to “D” up. They were so intimidating.

  20. lonnieb
    2:40 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I think people quickly forgot that AD got worked by his own man quite frequently early in the season. Noel, Ad. wcs and guys like that do not usually guard their own guy that well.

    I totally remember that exact play… pretty sure poythress got a piece of the ball himself… honest question that noel needs to learn is why are you helping poythress when he had several inches and 40 pounds on his guy and was still in good D position. Let poythress do work and noel grab board.

    I complained against maryland about the same crap….noel, wcs, poythress, and even wiltjer all try and block every shot….2-3 at the same time on most of them then no one left to rebound. They will figure it out. good learning experience for them all around.

    The other light bulb moment here is that they hopefully are starting to realize you have to play with the same intensity. The game essentially was lost in about a 2 minute window that included a terrible force by goodwin then no one even within 20 feet of curry on a 3.

    All the problems are fixable. If harrow can do his job I like what we got as a whole

  21. Truth
    2:40 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Would the real RYNO please stand up. Nerd fight here.

  22. I Say
    2:46 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I immediately stopped reading when you said What can Nerlens do to improve his defensive game?
    So your going to tell nerlens what he should work? Give me a break smh

  23. HawkeyeTim
    2:46 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    So, KSR is giving tips on how to play defense to Mr. Noel. Do you think coaching staff is able to communicate the ways to improve? Let’s stick to speculating on recruits and complaining about officiating.

    Seriously, did you play high level Div. I basketball? Coach (at any level)?

  24. RYNO
    2:50 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    21) You and FakeRYNO are both trolls (maybe the same person), so I don’t know who you’re calling a nerd, but if you were standing in front of me instead of sitting behind your safe little computer screen, you wouldn’t be calling anyone names.

  25. People's Choice
    2:51 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Dude, let it go. Does ksr street cred mean that much to you? Who cares?

  26. nERLENS nOEL
    2:56 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    If I didnt have to help when everyone else got beat off the dribble my man wouldnt keep scoing.

  27. Earl
    2:57 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    And also wiltcher is a waist of space, his defender should have had a chair so he could sit while he was on the court, that guys is so slow I could guard him and I am old and fat. Put a frickin shock collar on’em to get him to move. Cal is being way way to nice this year, never that easy on guys last year

  28. LOL
    2:57 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Good god, a fight over a handle? This is glorious for a boring afternoon at work.

  29. UKEngr
    2:57 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Ugh KSR sucks so bad, they force me to read these articles and then force me to comment on them. Geez I can’t believe how much they suck, putting out posts every hour that I am forced to read, even though they may all not be 100% the greatest thing ever written in the English language. Ugh I can’t believe how much KSR sucks these days. Good thing I can come on here and post negative stuff all day long. Its good that people like RYNO can come on here and set these idiots at KSR who force me to read their articles.

    It is getting really pathetic how people are so negative about every article KSR puts on the site nowadays. People just don’t understand it. If you don’t like KSR, then do not open the webpage. The profit KSR gets comes from ads that are based on how many times they are loaded. Funding runs out, KSR shuts down. Getting on here and posting negative comments won’t do a bit of good. KSR has the right to put whatever they want to on here, and YOU have the right to choose whether or not you continue reading them.

    sorry for the venting but its just really getting bad on here it seems.

  30. Dee Snutz
    2:58 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Really, 22 & 23? Isn’t pretty much the ENTIRE sports media full of people commenting on games that they’ve never competed in? You don’t have to be a former coach to see the breakdowns in defense, and this is as good a place as any to discuss them.

  31. Dee Snutz
    2:59 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    24- Nerd!

  32. Ummmmmmm No
    3:04 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone who knows basketball knows Noel played great. UK plays helpside D. People kept getting beat off the dribble.

    It’s give up wide open lay ups or a POSSIBLE dish and score. ANY coach would rather the second option.

    Hey could gamble less but thats it.

  33. No More People Stealing Other People's Screen Names!
    3:09 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with the real RYNO. It has gotten ridiculous. KSR needs to figure out who this(these) person(s) is(are) and get rid of him(them). The thief loves to bash KSR and Matt but doesn’t have the guts to use his own screen name. Coward.

  34. I say
    3:09 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    30 when is the last time you have seen a writer write at a player and tell him how to play? Writers criticize and evaluate, they don’t coach

  35. huh
    3:10 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Some good points, but saying that Nerlens has given up 41 points and 15 rebounds is ridiculous. The team has given up those figures to the two starting posts it’s played, but it wasn’t just Nerlens. And then to bold it, like it’s some important finding or research. Just silly.

  36. DB11
    3:13 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Very nice

  37. No More People Stealing Other People's Screen Names!
    3:16 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with what was said! What is being said is ridiculous nonsense and should not have been said! Those who agree to disagree are incorrect in their agreement, but I agree with their disagreements! It’s that simple!

  38. Dee Snutz
    3:18 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    34- To that point, then, where can I go to view your website and read your writings? How is it that a writer who is not a former player or coach has no right to express opinions on how a player performs, but you are allowed to comment on how that writer should do his job?

  39. UK22
    3:20 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I like the article Nick, it’s true and KSR touches on all topics not just recruiting. People on the live game blogs and post game assosiated with KSR talk about this coaching related stuff so why does it matter if its brought up on the website?

  40. CATS
    3:26 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    35.) I agree completely. Pretty ridiculous to say that Nerlens, and Nerlens only, has given up those numbers. Granted, he did gamble a lot last night and doesn’t seem to have the best timing. There are still rotations in the defense that need to be made when Nerlens comes to help. Last night when WCS (for the brief time he was in) was a bit of a non factor when he was guarding Kelly for a few possessions. Kelly camped near the perimeter and drew WCS out there with him. Look for that to be a way that teams try to cope with the twin towers this year.

  41. RYNO
    3:31 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    37) As I said in the Poythress thread- Use RYNO again, and I will ask KSR to ban it again because I’d rather neither of us be able to use it, than people thinking I’m responsible for the meaningless negative garbage that you spew on a semi-regular basis.

  42. RYNO
    3:35 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    What if RYNO is my real name? My brother’s name is HIPPO.

  43. Question
    3:37 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    So which Ryno is it that was accusing KSR of stealing content from catsillustrated back on #3? The real or fake Ryno? I’m lost.

  44. tangledupinblue
    3:38 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t know who Noels High School coach was but most players are taught these things in high school . When we played against players that would leave their feet on head fakes , we called it ” flushing quail ” .lol

  45. RYNO
    3:40 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    43) That was the fake. : )) And it’s the last time you’ll probably see either on KSR until they can do a registration. Bye! Bye! FakeRYNO!

  46. RYNO
    3:41 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Well, “knowing I spew negative meaningless garbage” is what I meant

  47. RYNO
    3:43 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    That’s it! I’m going to tell my mom, this is ridiculous

  48. MKG
    3:43 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    If Noel doesn’t block every shot that ever enters the lane this season his career as a basketball player will be a giant disappointment.

  49. RYNO
    3:46 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    48) Agreed.

  50. ibpoe
    3:47 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Which ryno was that?

  51. RYNO
    3:48 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Wait, no, hold up. ***I’m*** RYNO. My nick stands for “Rebel Yell New Orleans” because it’s my
    favorite whiskey, and I we were shooting for a big win in New Orleans and we got it, and so
    that is why I picked “RYNO”. I also have a sister and her nick is RYNO also, but hers stands
    for “Red Yeller Not Old” because she hated that Old Yeller had to die, and we had a dog
    that was more apricot colored so we called him “Red Yeller” which is another way
    of saying “orange” or “apricot”, as it were. Happy Wednesday, people. Love you, BBN.

  52. RONY
    3:49 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Forgive me, I’m dyslexic. But I’m with those other guys too.

  53. Nerd
    3:50 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Aww… seems like all the cool kids are named RYNO! I wish my name was RYNO, too!

  54. Γ¥Ã±º
    3:55 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    l33t is dead! Long live l33t!

  55. RYNO
    3:56 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I love lamp! I will take my ball and go home.

  56. adolph oliver bush
    3:59 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    A rose by any other name still costs $20 on Valentine’s Day

  57. RHINO
    4:00 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Quit stealing my name!

    4:19 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Use it up chump. Get it all out now. Awaiting moderation is in your near future.

    4:27 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    C’mon guys! It’s not funny. Why pick on little old me? I’m the real RYNO. You guys suck

  60. The commenter formerly known as RYNO
    4:30 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I think everyone can agree- RYNO is going to be banned after today.

  61. Ghost of RYNO
    4:35 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I think we can all agree that it has been a fun ride though. I’ve been laughing so hard at this thread

  62. The ecotoplasm dripping off the ghost of RYNO
    4:41 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink


  63. RealCatsFan
    4:42 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Another thing that struck me about this game was the fact that Mays was the primary defender against Curry. I really don’t think Julius has the quickness to hang with a guy like Curry, and he got beat numerous times. Would have made more sense, IMO, to have Goodwin guarding him.

  64. People's Choice
    4:46 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    63 – don’t tell matt tht mays was guarding curry. He was ragging on archie’s bad defense on the live blog and I corrected him saying Mays was the one playing d. He put me down for correcting him. Dude is never wrong

  65. blamecanada
    5:00 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    3 – Nice try at pluggling another website, but EVERYONE is talking about Nerlens issues…..I don’t think for one minute that someone tried to steal this article. Anyone with eyes that doesn’t wear blue goggles regularly could have written this article.

    Also any handle named RYNO that isn’t in reference to Ryne Sandberg is a complete joke.

  66. Katdaddy c
    8:04 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    #2 is huge for all our big men! They jump for ever little fake.

  67. mudcreekmark
    8:55 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    The bad news is,we are a really a bad defensive team and super bad rebounding team right now.The good news is, that is the easiest part of the game to correct. As long as you have the athletic ability and the heart, you can be taught to play defense and rebounding techniques.We have a team full of athletic players we now will see if they have the heart to get better.

  68. Mytop Flat
    9:15 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Good game by NN. He improved dramatically from first game. Quit picking dude. He will be alrite and anyone who knows the game knows that his potential is unlimitited. #fearpoythress