Well, that was disappointing. Nerlens Noel, the nation’s No.1 college basketball recruit, chose Kentucky over Georgetown and Syracuse on national television Wednesday night.
Noel, a 6-foot-10 center from Everett, Massachusetts had been on Georgetown’s radar (not to mention every other major program’s) for years. After spending his freshman and sophomore year at his local high school in Everett, Noel transferred to the Tilton School in New Hampshire, where he planned to stay for three years and enter college as a member of the class of 2013. However, in February, Noel reclassified to the class of 2012, setting off a recruiting frenzy.
The big man is a game-changing prospect, a true center many have compared to National Player of the Year and likely No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis for his defensive ability. Some have even claimed that Noel is a better shot blocker than Davis, who averaged 4.6 blocks per game this year at Kentucky. Now Noel will have a chance to replace Davis and lead the Wildcats back to the Final Four.
With John Calipari having pulled in the nation’s best recruiting class in each of his three seasons at Kentucky, Georgetown was always the underdog in this recruiting battle. But as Noel dragged out his decision, the Hoyas’ chances kept looking better. The final decision was apparently a tough one for Noel, who claimed to still be undecided even yesterday.
Missing out on Noel isn’t the end of the world for the Hoyas. John Thompson III and his staff still have time to add to a recruiting class that already includes top prospect D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Georgetown’s next big target is McDonald’s All-American Devonta Pollard, a 6-foot-7 small forward. Pollard, who will be making his official visit to campus this weekend, is also considering Missouri, Texas, and Alabama.