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NCAA Basketball

Nerlens Noel: Kentucky Freshman Cleared by NCAA; Ready for 2012-13

Over the weekend, word surfaced that incoming Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel was academically finished with his high school requirements.

Noel, who returned to his hometown Everett H.S. (MA) to finish the necessary prerequisite courses, is the prize recruit for Kentucky head coach John Calipari, not to mention the nation’s top overall prospect within the class of 2012.

Now, Noel’s final hurdle prior to arriving in Lexington has also been cleared, as the NCAA issued its approval for the 6-foot-11 big man.

With the news, Big Blue Nation can breathe a sigh of relief.

While Calipari once again welcomes in one of the nation’s top incoming freshmen classes, the quest for back-to-back titles is certainly on. Noel is the staple of the Wildcats’ ability to once again threaten for a national crown. However, Noel will have plenty of talent around him, as Kentucky will begin the season among the nation’s best.

In addition to the Massachusetts-native, Kentucky also welcomes in Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Archie Goodwin. North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow is now eligible and will take over the duties at the point guard position, while sophomore Kyle Wiltjer should have his opportunities to improve and contribute.

The Wildcats are also welcoming in Wright State transfer Julius Mays and as the month of August continues to roll along, things involving Kentucky’s 2012-13 roster may not yet be complete. Torian Graham remains undecided and UK could be a potential late option, while Central Florida forward Keith Clanton could also be on the Wildcats’ radar, should he opt to transfer.

As for Noel, he is the heir replacement to No. 1 overall pick and defending National Player of the Year, Anthony Davis. Yet, Noel has his sights on carving his own path in Lexington, while looking to help the Wildcats bring home banner No. 9.

Noel is expected to depart from New England on Aug. 19 and arrive at the campus for a season that once again has high implications for Kentucky and its fans.

 

Be sure to follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @TheArenaPulse