To no surprise, Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel announced his decision to enter the 2013 NBA Draft on Monday morning.
Noel, a 6-foot-11 center and native of Everett, Massachusetts, spent one season at Kentucky, but was held out for the latter half of a disappointing season for the Wildcats as a whole due to a season-ending injury. During conference play, Noel tore his ACL — an injury that effectively ended his freshman year and subsequently his collegiate playing career.
While many reports indicate that Noel is ahead of schedule on his rehab and recovering well, he still faces a long road to recovery and there is no guarantees as to when he will be able to hit the hardwood again. However, despite the injury, he is moving forward with his playing career and is looking like a sure-fired top five selection.
Now a lot of Noel’s potential is based off what he produced prior to the his ACL injury, obviously. Noel does not have the opportunity to stake his claim and “improve” his stock in pre-draft workouts, but that shouldn’t particularly matter. Noel very well could be the No. 1 overall selection this June. NBADraft.net labels Noel as the No. 2 overall selection, while DraftExpress.com pins him at No. 1. ESPN mock drafts also have Noel being selected with the top overall pick.
During his time in a Kentucky uniform, Noel was highly effective in stuffing the stat sheet and unfortunately enough, he was just beginning to come into his own when the injury occurred. Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, 2.1 steal and 1.6 assists per game this season.
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