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Noel’s Derby Day Gaining National Traction

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For all the times we complain about opposing fans and people in the media having a vendetta against Kentucky, it’s good to stop and appreciate it when they take the time to recognize something good.  And this past weekend, ex-Cat (that hurts) Nerlens Noel gave them something good that was just impossible to ignore.

We brought you news Saturday about Noel’s guest to the Kentucky Derby, Kelly, who he met at the Children’s Hospital.  The two became friends after Nerlens’ visit, and took a little field trip Saturday to enjoy the ponies.  Fans inside the BBN caught on to the story, and now people around the country are catching on, too.


It’s one thing for us to talk about the high character that Nerlens has; we’re Kentucky fans, so people can expect us to hype our own players.  But when guys like Jason King, Jeff Borzello, and Eamonn Brennan take time to comment on, or write about how cool it is to see a basketball player invest himself in other people, you know you have a kid with character on your hands.

According to CBS, the gesture moved Nerlens from “you probably like him” to “you have to love him.”

Before reading this, chances are you had no reason not to like Nerlens Noel. He played hard throughout the season, and then suffered a torn ACL in February that ended his stellar freshman campaign.

After reading this, it’s going to be impossible not to like Noel.

And Eamonn Brennan took notice over at ESPN, saying that Nerlens not only looked extremely healthy, but his gesture was the “coolest” thing he’d seen all day.

I only had the opportunity to see Noel move around because he was photographed with his friend at the Kentucky Derby. His friend was not a date, nor a fellow basketball player. Instead, Noel bought Kelly Melton, a 7-year-old battling leukemia who splits his time between his house and the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital, where Noel met him.

Nerlens has spent his time recovering from surgery in ways that surprise even people from Kentucky, who knew his good heart from just watching the way he played.  ACL surgery is a miserable thing to recover from, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting others before himself.  He’s healing quickly, and helping others along the way.

He’s more than just doing well; he’s doing good.

Article written by Corey Nichols

13 Comments for Noel’s Derby Day Gaining National Traction

  1. TheFirstNoel
    9:06 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens is a classy guy. Glad he was a Wildcat, even for such a short period of time.

  2. Bluemister
    9:08 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Nice writing there Mr. Nichols. That last sentence is strong.

  3. Bob Sugar
    9:09 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Great to hear what all the sportwriters at espn and cbs think about everything…

  4. The Fake Jerry Tipton
    9:31 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Based on the age discrepancy, The NCAA is looking into a smooth, well dressed, diminutive mystery booster who has befriended and has been observed showering Kentucky player Nerlens Noel with lavish gifts including, but not limited to, extravagant trips to the Kentucky Derby.

  5. fly soup
    9:32 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    @2 Not only is that sentence cliche, but it is poorly written as well. I do agree that Nerlens is the man, however.

  6. RahRah
    9:34 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Best wishes to Nerlens. This guy deserves the best.
    Nice post.

  7. Kiddekat
    9:44 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    I posted this before but bears repeating: We have had more talented players at UK (a few) but none with a bigger heart. NN is one of my all-time favorites. Wish he could have stayed around longer.

  8. kyeric
    9:55 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Hard not to look at Archie and wish he had a little bit more of what seems to exude from Nerlens Noel. Good luck to them both, but I think i know who I will miss a bit more.

  9. prpcat
    10:38 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Proud that this gentleman choose the Wildcats, thank you Nerlens, BBN

  10. @KrisShera
    10:45 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    So happy for Kelly and his family. He derserves this. He was featured in the LLS post about my fundraising efforst that CM Tomlin wrote a few weeks ago. Awesome…just awesome.

  11. True Story
    12:03 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    One and done? How about, one of the kindest human beings that the Wildcats have had the opportunity to know. BBN is blessed by this guy. And oh yeah, he is a helluva basketball player too.

  12. brain
    1:03 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Besides being a great guy NN is old school sporting the Ray Bans.

  13. Megan
    4:50 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Nerlens looking good! Will Smith (Men in Black), eat your heart out.