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Nerlens Noel back up to #1 on Chad Ford’s Big Board


After slipping to the number two spot following his ACL injury, Nerlens Noel is back atop ESPN NBA guru Chad Ford’s Big Board of NBA draft prospects. Why did Ford put him back on top? This year’s weak draft makes everyone a risk, so why not take a risk on one of the only dominant big men in the field? If Nerlens’ rehab goes well, Ford says many NBA execs are warming up to taking him with the first pick.


Where does Ford rank the rest of Kentucky’s freshmen? Willie Cauley-Stein comes in at #18, followed by Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin at #20 and #21 respectively.

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.

25 Comments for Nerlens Noel back up to #1 on Chad Ford’s Big Board

  1. Rar
    1:02 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink


  2. Rar
    1:03 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    I want nerlens back

  3. Teachable Mo'
    1:05 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    I hope his rehab is going well.

  4. Unit to that G
    1:06 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    This is a testament to how weak this draft is…

  5. Indiana Cat
    1:07 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    I would sure like to see WCS back for another year! I was never a big fan of Archie and I think Alex will display the same work ethic as this past season. Just my opinion!

  6. Someone Else
    1:14 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Someone else will be number 1 because Nerlens will be number 3…wearing #3, at UK next year.

  7. gopro
    1:16 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    All 4 of these frosh should go-pro, as neXt yr their minutes (w/Xception of a healthy Noel) will decrease, so given that, they will not show any noticeable improvement, as again their playing time will not be what it was this past season….

    moreover, the ’14 NBA draft will not be as weak as this ’13 version, so their draft stock will not be as lofty (again w/Xception of Noel)…

    so, pretty-much a no-brainer (imho)

  8. Michael F. Jox
    1:19 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    The fact that people still think that highly of Alex is beyond me.

  9. chief_cat
    1:25 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    #7 gopro, you could be right, but I actually believe that a year of practicing against 5-star teammates, playing with a top-notch PG, and a year of physical, mental, and emotional maturity could do wonders for this year’s frosh class. Granted they will have a great deal more competition in the draft next year, but I would love to see them stay selfishly to give us depth, while also giving them the chance to grow and learn more before trying out the league. They would get a better “first” contract if they are drafted this year, but assuming they do develop and mature with another year in college, they have a much better chance of making a real impact in the NBA and having a longer, more lucrative career.

  10. Coach Cal
    1:30 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    I used to think they would be crazy not to go an you take the opportunity when it comes even if it means you play in the dleague, but the D league is there to develop talent and NOT your wil to compete or attitude. Poythress would not would wash out of the D-leauge not becuase of physical talent but rather mental development. D-leauge is full of less talented players but they are fighting like gangsters for a spot. Poythress needs 3 maybe 4 years to develop a maturity and can only get that in college. Never thought i’d say that until I coached a player like him all year.

  11. Chicago Chris
    1:33 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    How. In. The. World. Would. Poythress. Be. In. The. Top. 25?! Potential, yeah yeah. But you even have to question that after one year. I hope Alex comes back and proves it to people because I just fail to see how he would turn it around at this point.

  12. catsfan1965
    1:40 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Noel is gone. By staying another year he will forego 10-20 million in lifetime earnings even if he maintains his draft position because of the rookie cap. But next year, he will not be vying for #1 with Zeller, McLemore (an NBA role player), Smart, and Otto Porter, he will be up against Wiggins, Parker, Randle, the Harrison twins, among others. It is highly unlikely that is the number #1 pick next year (hint: it will be Wiggins), so Noel will also lose millions in lifetime earnings due to his drop in draft position. That doesn’t even take into account the possibility, god forbid, he gets injured again. So take it to the bank, Noel is gone.

    I think WCS will more than likely go pro because of the weak draft and the fact that at 7’0″ he will get more time to develop than Goodwin or Poythress will. I think Goodwin and Poythress will stay because they will still get to play some next year (assuming they progress and put the work in). Goodwin’s statement on the subject shows that he realizes that if he gets drafted, he will go straight to the D-league and their is a high probablity that at his current level of development he never gets to an NBA roster (if Goodwin and Poythress couldn’t deal will the physical play in the SEC, they are really going to hate the D-League).

  13. gimp419
    1:41 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Would it be insane to imagine that maybe some of these top recruits will take 3-4 years of college ball to become lottery picks? I mean if Alex and Archie happen to stay till they are Jr’s is that a bad thing? They’re only going to get better as they practice against and fight for minutes against other future NBA players. Carolina, Kansas and Duke are 3 schools that also get “one and done” players and they sometimes take 2-3 years to reach their potential. We just got a little spoiled with Wall, Cousins, Knight, MKG, and Davis. Not every Mcdonalds All American is a one and done or even a 2 and done.

  14. Care about the Cats
    1:43 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Sure, they can all go pro in this weak draft. But they will never see the NBA with exception to Nerlens. Alex, Archie, and WCS will be life long D-Leaguers if they leave now. They need more time to mature in every possible way. Lastly, winning a National Championship has proven to skyrocket a kids draft stock. Take Darius Miller for example. He’s a stud and OMG he stayed all 4 years…

  15. me
    1:53 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    #8 – When I watched Alex play this year, I thought that whenever he wasn’t standing around picking his nose he played really well. He made a lot of typical freshman mistakes, but he is full of talent. He’s fast, strong, and can score. Every few games it seemed like he could carry the entire opposing team to the basket for a dunk if he happened to feel like it.

  16. Stay Please
    1:59 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    I just dont get how or why they rank these kids so high! They went to an NIT and all 4 are ranked in the top 25? No disrespect at all to the cats, these guys have talent and are great kids! They will be so good next year! They just simply are not ready! Even Nerlens, hes a growing project, but the others simply need more time. The biggest concern about the college game is why is this a bad thing? Stay and play with talent that you obviously need to compete against and gain some confidence against. Look at John Wall, he said hes playing with an all time high! Look at what it does for your game. I just hate to see a kids talent and careers goto waste when the draft will be there when they are ready for it. Its sad to see these things happen! Then when they dont develop in a year to their potential, they are booed by fans, get tweets by grown ass, old out of shape, adults that’s never played at a high level or knows the work that requires to get there. If your a Wall, Cousins or these other guys like Rose or Davis. Thats one thing, but these guys are rare and whats wrong with being around a few years to develop?

  17. RexEffect
    2:07 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Its finally all caught up to the point where the draft is only as good as the incoming freshman class. It seems like we hear it every year “this draft is so weak, Meeks(WHOEVER) has to go, because next year….) The guys need to listen to Charles Barkley who said to quit taking advice from scumbag agents and freeloading friends, and come back to school. When your ready to go pro, everybody will know it. Cauley Stein has the type of talent to one day be a top 5 pick. It just may take a couple years, and WHATS WRONG WITH THAT!

  18. catsfan1965
    2:14 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Goodwin and Poythress would be probably the 6 and 7th best HS players on next years roster, give or take. They will have a chance to see the floor in backup roles if they practice hard, work out, and improve. They may not, but I think it extremely unfair to write off these freshman after one season. A lot this year depended on Harrow as PG, who despite his talent and ability to drive to the basket, is not cut out to be a top-level PG and leader. Without Harrow, UK was forced to rely more heavily than expected on players who, despite their admirable effort, simply do not have the talent to get a team to the NCAA tournament. Polson was a walk-on and Mays was a 3-star recruit that left NC State for Wright State who went 13-19 in the Horizon League with Mays as their leading scorer. Wiltjer is still developing and is always going to be a support player ala Ryan Kelly. If you look at Kelly’s soph stats they look similar to Wiltjer and Kelly played with a much better team and wasn’t the focus that Wiltjer was this year (Kelly 2010-11 20.1 MPG, 6.6 PPG, 31.9 3pt%, 3.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG vs Wiltjer’s 23.8 MPG, 10.2 PPG, 36.7% 3pt%, 4.2 RPG, 0.4 BPG) WCS has loads of talent but he was so raw at the beginnning of the year and still is on a steep learning curve about the fundamentals of playing his position.

  19. RahRah
    2:16 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Love Nerlens, hated to see his UK career cut short and would love to have him another year. It would be great to see him recover at his own pace and work on his offensive game. However, I do think he HAS to go if he’s a top-five lottery pick. What a great character and honorable young man. I’ll never forget the minute he turned around on espn and had UK cut into the flattop. Good times. #BBNforever

    I would love to see Willie and Archie come back. Sky’s the limit with those two, in my opinion.

  20. catsfan1965
    2:30 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Noel would have to hate money to stay. He will be no doubt flushing 10-15 million dollars minimum down the crapper. Do the math to see the effect that the rookie salary cap will have on a player who stays an extra year in college over the course of an average pro career. Noel and WCS will not stay in the D-League because the demand for 6’10″+ players always exceeds demand. Even Orton played in NBA games and got multiple looks even though it was clear he sucked from the very beginning. That is why Noel is certainly gone and WCS is probably gone.

  21. Roland
    2:33 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    If Noel goes #1 overall in the NBA draft, forget the “Point Guard U” tag for UK.

  22. catsfan1965
    2:49 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    17 – WCS may stay, but he will never be assured of being a 1-5 pick in the NBA draft and we can say that he almost certainly won’t be next year in a draft that will include Wiggins, Parker, Randle and the Harrison twins among others. I’m not saying he should go or stay (not my call) and I would be very happy if he stayed, but let’s be realistic about what he would sacrificing if he did stay. The unspoken assumption of all the people who say players should stay in school is that college is a better place to develop than the NBA. For top 5 HS players that is usually not the case, especially for post players. Certainly, SGs and SFs, who are getting non-guaranteed contracts should probably come back in most cases as should some lottery picks. Now there are non-economic reasons a player may want to stay (usually to win a title), but I am not going to get on a soapbox and tell a player to sacrifice millions to do what I think is best for him especally when staying in college is no guarantee that they will make more money or have a longer career in the NBA. I can assure you that in recent years there are alot more players who have hurt their pro careers by staying longer in college than those who have hurt their pro career by leaving early (I’m looking at you Kyle Singler). We just never hear about the former. Does any have any doubt that Orton’s payday was a lot better outcome for him than if he exposed himself by staying in college.

  23. Michael F. Jox
    2:50 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    #15 – When I watched Alex play this yr I saw a kid who couldn’t dribble with his head up, drove the baseline only to step out of bounds 45 times, missed way too many close looks, looked lost on both ends of the floor way too often, stood outside the arc and watched as the action took place…..I could go on. My point is, the dude is obviously physically gifted but has limited basketball skills and a very low basketball IQ. Example: How many assists do you remember Alex having this yr? I know he’s not a PG or considered a facilitator, but I can’t remember one. And all that has nothing to do with his poor motor, which is considered his biggest weakness.

  24. catsfan1965
    3:34 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    Poythress did only have 22 assists on year which put him 8th on the team behind WCS at 27. But let’s be fair to Poythress, was the 2nd leading scorer on the team and his shooting percentage of 58.1% was only behind Noel and WCS. At 6.2 RPG he was only a little behind WCS who had 6.2 RPG. Poythress was horrible at blocking out offensive rebounders, but then again so was WCS (though I think Poythress’ mistakes resulted more from losing concentration and lack of effort and WCS more from not knowing where he should be). Mays was by far the most offensively inefficient player on the team shooting 37.7% from the floor and rarely getting to the FT line. Usually players who create their own shot like Goodwin or Russ Smith of UofL are the most inefficient players on an offense, but in UKs case a player who relied on OTHER people to get his shot for him was also the most inefficient offensive player and that was one of the biggest reasons why the offense was so bad. There are plenty of reasons to criticize the play of Goodwin and Poythress, but we have to keep in mind that throughout the year, they were our best offensive players, which is sad.

  25. Duke Sucks
    11:34 pm March 26, 2013 Permalink

    22) thanks somebody else finally gets it and see’s things like the business it is instead of as a fan. Ifany team is willing to take Alex in the lottery he better take it! I don’t think if he stayed 5 years he could get any better then that. Nerlens Realy doesn’t have a choice to make. He need look no farther the Lattemore from South Carolna. Looks as though this ACL isn’t hurting him but 1 more would be crippling to his draft spot.
    WCS and Goodwin are the 2 who Realy have a tough choice. Good wins biggest problem was trying to do to much. He felt as if he had to score for this team to win and his lack of a jump shot! Those things can be fixed. Goodwin already had in mind what he was going to do when he touched the ball leading to him putting his head down and barreling over people. Other great players plus anther year to work on his shot and he should be a completely different player!. Time in the weight room plus anther year of coaching will help WCS. Only thing is if if he gets much better he is going to have a hard time seeing to court next year. If he chooses to comeback he is really saying he is going to be back for at least 2 more years maybe even 3.