Happy birthday to the big man with the big hair, Nerlens Noel. The flat top feller turns 19 on Wednesday.
Nerlens first popped up on KSR’s radar back in April 2011, when he was still in the class of 2013. After Nerlens reclassified, he became UK’s main target in the 2012 class, and shocked fans when he revealed his college decision by showing off the UK logo in the back of his hair.
During his time at UK, Nerlens has proven to be a genuine talent on the court, and a genuinely wonderful person off of it. He volunteers regularly at nursing homes and children’s hospitals, and seems to understand the impact he has on the community. He was the heart and soul of the team this past season, and when he went down with an ACL injury, a large part of the team went with him.
Nerlens has yet to announce whether or not he’s going to the NBA next year, but with most mock drafts projecting him to be the number one pick, it’s unlikely he’ll pass on that opportunity. Here’s what Chad Ford had to say about Noel in his latest mock draft, which has him going first to the Charlotte Bobcats:
Now, some notes from the day…
— In John Calipari’s words, next season began on Tuesday. The national media released their really, really, ridiculously early Top 25 polls for 2013-2014, and UK was ranked #1 across the board. USA Today, CBS Sports, ESPN, The Sporting News and The Big Lead all had the Cats in the top spot, with many of the polls ranking Louisville right behind them at #2. Enjoy the spotlight while you can, Cards. The gloves are off.
— Now that he’s signed off on his amateur status, it’s time to figure out where Archie Goodwin will go in the NBA Draft. ESPN’s Chad Ford left Goodwin out of the first round of his mock draft, citing problems with his jump shot and a lack of strength when driving the lane: “Teams are worried he’s going to get pummeled going to the basket the same way he did at Kentucky.” Here’s hoping Archie can change their minds before June 27th. In other draft news, Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore and Russ Smith all declared for the draft on Tuesday. Hopefully this means we’ll never have to hear “Russ Arena” again.
— Dominique Hawkins will announce his college decision in the morning, with all signs pointing to the Cats. We will stream the press conference on the site live at 8 a.m. ET, so start your morning with us. I’ll make the coffee.
— After dislocating it back in March, Enes Kanter will have surgery on his shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. No word on how the surgery will affect his tweeting schedule.
— The Spring Game can’t get here soon enough. On Tuesday, UK announced they would be holding a Cat Walk at 5:15 p.m. outside Gate 1. Also, there will be FREE POSTERS!!! for everyone in attendance. We’ll have previews of the game on the site throughout the week, so stay tuned. Can’t make it to the game? The CW is airing it on delay Sunday at 7 p.m. in Lexington.
— In a bit of late breaking news, 2014 4-star defensive end Denzel Ware decommitted from Kentucky on Tuesday night and is likely to commit to Florida next. Losing Ware is a blow, but it’s just another reminder that verbal commitments are meaningless in football.
— It’s time to shift some focus to the UK baseball team, which beat Austin Peay 6-3 Tuesday night. The Bat Cats are currently ranked thirteenth in the nation and start a three-game series against Tennessee on Friday.
— Finally, it was a good night for the NBA Cats. Terrence Jones put in another promising performance for the Rockets, with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 23 minutes. NBA vet Nazr Mohammad started in place of Joakim Noah for the Bulls and put up 6 points and 10 rebounds. John Wall continues to dominate, scoring 33 points in the Wizards’ loss to the Knicks.
That’s all for now. Tomorrow’s radio show will be LIVE from Augusta, Georgia as the guys continue to live the dream at the Masters. Tune in and we’ll be jealous together.