Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Nerlens Noel, the No. 1 center in the Class of 2013, considered reclassifying to the Class of 2012, but says he won’t do it.
“I’m not reclassifying and I will be cutting my [college] list before the season starts,” Noel told SNY.tv Thursday by text.
Earlier Thursday, Tilton headmaster James Clements said Noel and his family were mulling the reclassification process.
“Tilton School has a written procedure and process for students and families who may wish to seek a reclassification of grade,” Clements told SNY.tv.
“Nerlens and his family are considering whether they wish to initiate that process, and to my knowledge as of today there’s no decision been made.”
Clements said the reclassification process “takes about a month” and he estimated that it’s “probably happened four times in the last five years” at Tilton.
Noel was born April 10, 1994. He is 17 now and would be 19 on April 10, 2013, making him eligible for the NBA Draft that year if he were a year removed from his high school graduating class.
“If there is an NBA Draft, sure he would be a lottery pick because they draft entirely on potential,” New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski told SNY.tv. “He’s gotta get stronger and do a lot of things but he certainly would be” a lottery pick.
He added: “”If he is reclassifying the whole point is to point him toward the 2013 NBA Draft rather than 2014.”
Konchalski joked that Noel would actually be “declassifying” rather than “reclassifying” because he believes he was originally in the Class of 2012.
“Usually reclassifying means you add another year,” Konchalski said. “This means he would subtract a year. He would be declassifying because he was reclassified coming in.”
Konchalski added that Noel would not be eligible for the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2013 because he would be a fifth-year senior then.
If Noel does head to college in 2012 instead of 2013, every college in the country would want him.
He helped led the Boston Area Basketball Club (BABC) to the Peach Jam title this summer when he had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in the final against Memphis YOMCA.
Noel’s performance came on the heels of a semifinal performance in which he notched a triple-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocks.
He was named the Five-Star Basketball Defensive Player of the Year.
“[BABC coach] Leo Papile calls him Bill Russell,” Konchalski said. “He’s a guy who’s a terrific shot-blocker. He’s had double-figure games with blocks. He’s so quick off the floor. He runs the court extremely well. As Jay Bilas would say, he has great length.
“His offense is improving. His shot-blocking is way ahead of his offensive game, but he is improving.”
Along with forwards Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, Noel is one of the top three players currently in the Class of 2013, and the No. 1 ranking is up for debate.
“I’ll take Noel,” one high-major assistant said. “He can dominate without having the ball. You can put players around him who can score, while the other two have to have the ball.”
Noel is hearing from a Who’s Who of schools but this summer he mentioned Kentucky, Florida, Syracuse, UConn and Providence among schools who have reached out. He visited UConn and Syracuse over the summer.
“It’s just a dream come true to be getting all this attention from colleges,” he said this summer. “I’m just waiting it out to make that final decision.”
Said Konchalski: “There would not be a school in the country that would not recruit him. He could have his pick.”
**Why Nerlens Noel is the MVP of the Peach Jam
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.