Report: NCAA Looking Into Nerlens Noel | Zagsblog
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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.
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Friday / May 24.
  • Report: NCAA Looking Into Nerlens Noel

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    The NCAA is looking into Kentucky signee Nerlens Noel, according to a report in Wednesday’s New York Times.

    According to the story, NCAA investigators Cindi Merrill and Frank Smith went to Everett (Mass.) High School on Tuesday and met with principal Louis Baldi for more than an hour regarding “concerns we had as adults,” Baldi told the paper. The 6-foot-10 Noel, the No.1 prospect in the Class of 2012, spent his first two years of high school at Everett before transferring to The Tilton (N.H.) School.

    “I didn’t get any sense,” Baldi told the paper. “It was a conversation, very collegial. That was really it. They didn’t ask me any investigative-type questions.”

    The report said the NCAA investigators also called Leo Papile, the director of the Boston Area Basketball Club, Noel’s former AAU team.

    The NCAA is looking into Noel’s relationship with former Providence assistant Chris Driscoll, who has mentored Noel through the recruiting process but has triggered concern from Tilton officials, the report said.

    The NCAA is also looking into Noel’s relationship with Errol Randolph, a former substitute teacher at Everett who had a link on his LinkedIn page to basketball agent Andy Miller.

    Noel took unofficial visits to Kentucky and Louisville and the NCAA planned to look into his finances, the report said.

    Tilton headmaster Jim Clements told the paper he had not heard from the NCAA but would cooperate if he did.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned up,” Clements said. “Certain things that they ask us, we’d be happy to answer. Some stuff, we don’t know anything about. I’m sure we would cooperate , though.

    Noel reclassified to the Class of 2012 from 2013 and Clements said he expected Noel to graduate next week, but that teachers had to put his “feet to the fire”  to make up work and class time missed for all-star games. Clements also told the paper he was unsure if Noel would qualify academically for a scholarship.

    “I’m sure there will be a little drama and such is life,” Clements told the paper. “He and family and others were well aware of it when he decided to reclassify. It will get played out, but it won’t be here.”

    Noel signed with Kentucky last month.

    “I’ve been blessed three times in my career to have a player that can change the game without really scoring with Marcus Camby, Anthony Davis and now Nerlens Noel,” head coach John Calipari said in a release. “I will tell you that Nerlens, just like Anthony, is not a finished product. He’s got a lot of work to do and we have a lot of work to do to get him to where I think he’s capable of being, but he is a special player who I am ecstatic to have an opportunity to work with.”

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    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.

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