Nerlens Noel, the top prospect in the Class of 2012, heads on a visit to Kentucky Friday and will watch the No. 1 Wildcats host Ole Miss Saturday, he told SNY.tv by text.
The 6-foot-10 Noel is reclassifying from 2013 and will likely be told by head coach John Calipari that he could slot in and replace Anthony Davis, the nation’s leading collegiate shot-blocker and presumed No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
At this point, Noel, who has been compared to Bill Russell, may very well be a better shot-blocker than Davis, which is saying something.
One of four finalists for the Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year Award, Noel is also considering Syracuse, Providence, North Carolina, Florida and Georgetown, among others.
“I don’t really have a timeframe,” Noel told Jeff Goodman on SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball on Thursday afternoon. “I just want to make sure I get in all my visits to these schools. However long that takes.”
Kentucky is also targeting late signees Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, Amile Jefferson and Devonta Pollard and could have as many as seven scholarships to give depending on how many guys go pro.
The Wildcats already have a three-man signed class of wing Archie Goodwin, forward Alex Poythress and big man Willie Cauley.
Calipari has had the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation three years running and if he were to land some combination of Noel, Muhammad and Bennett, it could very well stretch to four.
Noel visited Syracuse last weekend for the UConn game.
“I enjoyed my visit to Syracuse. Fans were great, showed alot of lov,” Noel Tweeted.
Also along on the visit were 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis — featured in this SNY.tv documentary — 2013 power forward Goodluck Okonoboh and 6-9 Syracuse signee DaJuan Coleman.
Of course, like any guard, Ennis would like to play with Noel.
“Yeah, definitely,” Ennis said. “He’s definitely one of the players you’d like to play with. Protects the rim, finds open players in the middle of that zone, but you never know if he’s going to be there in two years anyway.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.