Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel is now the clear choice to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, two veteran NBA scouts told SNY.tv.
Earlier this year, scouts had said Noel was part of a group of players who could possibly become No. 1 — along with Indiana’s Cody Zeller, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and others.
“Nerlens has been separating himself from the pack,” one scout said. “He has taken his shot-blocking to another level. He’s the best interior defender in the game.”
The 6-foot-10 Noel went for 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in Tuesday’s win over South Carolina in Lexington, Ky.
That was after he posted a season-high 19 points to go with 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a Feb. 2 win at Texas A&M. Before that, Noel had 12 blocks, seven rebounds and two assists — while managing just two points from the foul line — as Kentucky beat Ole Miss Jan. 29.