The NBA Draft is exactly one month from today, and Nerlens Noel is doing his best to convince the Cleveland Cavaliers he’s worthy of the number one pick. In an interview with USA Today’s Alex Kennedy, Noel says that he plans on returning from his knee injury better than ever: “I definitely feel that I’m still suitable for the [No. 1 pick]. I’m 100% confident that I can not only get back to [where] I was at, but get stronger and come back better.”
Even more so, Noel says that he feels he can be the best defender in the NBA: “I definitely feel that I can be [the best defender in the league]. I have to do a lot of work and make sure I bring it every night, but I think I can get there. …I know it will take a lot of work, but I definitely want to put the time and work in to be one of the top players in the NBA. That’s a dream come true and I’ll definitely take advantage of it so I definitely feel that I can become one of them and reach my full potential.”
Noel added that playing at Kentucky right after the team won the title helped prepare him for the pressure and expectations that come with being the projected number one pick: “At the beginning of the season at Kentucky, I definitely felt pressure coming in with [the 2012 National Champions]. I definitely feel that will help me a lot in this process. It made me have a whole different attitude. I’m used to it now, more than I was last year.”
And if Cleveland does select him first? “It would mean a lot to me. It would definitely be a dream come true. If I get that opportunity, wherever I get drafted, I’ll just bring 100 percent effort and try to contribute right away. … I’m a hard worker who’s going to bring it every day in the gym. I’m going to do my best to be the best leader that I can be. I’ll do whatever I can for my team so we can win games.”
How can you not root for this guy?