Nerlens Noel: What Would It Mean for Syracuse If He Were to Pick the Orange?

Daniel O'BrienFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2012

Nerlens Noel: What Would It Mean for Syracuse If He Were to Pick the Orange?

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    With Nerlens Noel narrowing down his possible college destinations to Syracuse, Georgetown and Kentucky, Orange fans are excited about the chance of seeing the 6'10" shot-blocker play for Jim Boeheim.

    The prized hoops prospect from Everett, Mass., via the Tilton School in New Hampshire would be a gigantic addition to the 2012 recruiting class.

    Noel is set to make his decision this week. If he chooses Syracuse, how does that impact the Orange?

    Here's a look at what he brings to the table and what it all means for the 'Cuse program.

Replacing Fab's Rim Protection

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    Protecting the rim was one of Syracuse's greatest strengths in 2011-12, as the Orange averaged seven blocks per game. They would love to keep that trend going next year.

    Nerlens Noel would provide the shot-blocking prowess they need after Fab Melo's departure to the NBA. 

    He's unquestionably the best shot-blocker in high school hoops, and his defensive instincts are remarkable.

    Noel can challenge shooters from any angle and is an adept swatter with either hand. With him in the fold, Syracuse would be one of the best defensive teams in the Big East.

Run 'n' Gun

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    His half-court game still needs polishing, but Noel's elite athleticism fits right into Syracuse's inclination to run the floor. 

    Having him in the lineup would give the Orange another weapon to use in transition.

    He's more explosive than DaJuan Coleman and more skilled with the ball than Rakeem Christmas, so he'd be a welcomed addition to the Syracuse fast break.

    Add James Southerland and C.J. Fair to the mix, and you've got a formidable attack.

A Leg Up on Georgetown

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    Georgetown is one of the front-runners in the quest for Nerlens Noel, and the Hoyas would love to add another blue-chip big man to its storied history.

    On the other hand, Syracuse would love to steal Noel from John Thompson and company. Taking Noel away from Georgetown would be a huge plus for the Orange in its last season as conference rivals with the Hoyas.

    It would be one final recruiting victory for Boeheim to cap off his Big East career. He would love to see his team get stronger while Georgetown loses out on a top-tier recruit.

Healthy Competition for Forwards

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    Rakeem Christmas and DaJuan Coleman are already competing for power forward/center playing time, and C.J. Fair will see heavy minutes at power forward next year.

    It would be a crowded frontcourt if Nerlens Noel came aboard.

    With all that talent jockeying for position, it could turn into a season-long competition for playing time.

    In this scenario, Jim Boeheim and assistant coach Mike Hopkins would help bring out the best in each player.

A Chance to Win 2013 National Title

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    The bottom line is simple: Syracuse will have a significantly better chance to win the 2013 NCAA title if it lands Nerlens Noel.

    He's an animal on the defensive end and he will present matchup problems for many teams on both ends of the floor.

    His shot-blocking, combined with Coleman and Fair's rebounding, would help Syracuse secure the paint.

    Noel's presence in an already strong lineup would make the Orange a force in the Big East and a dangerous team in March.