Nerlens Noel: John Calipari Must Bring Young Star to Kentucky

Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IIApril 8, 2012

Source: Andrew Shurleft
Source: Andrew Shurleft

Despite being the 2012 college basketball champions, Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari must make a major push to sign top college recruit Nerlens Noel to make the team can continue to dominate the field next season.

While it isn't clear if star players like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb will enter the NBA, one can bet the team would be smart to stay safe and try to lure in the country's top recruit.

Noel—who is 6'10" and 215 lbs—would fit perfectly right next to Davis, or at least be able to take over the duties if the freshman were to decide to leave.

According to NBC Sports' Kurt Helin, Davis plans to take his time in making his decision.

But here’s the kicker — the NBA says you do not have to declare for the draft until April 29. Anthony Davis, the lock No. 1 pick out of Kentucky, has said he plans to take up to that deadline to make up his mind. A lot of guys are going to take their time. The thing is, after April 10 if you add your name to the draft list there is no backing out.

Could you imagine the possibilities if Davis decides to stay?

Noel is known for his defensive prowess, and could make the paint virtually untouchable if both him and Davis were to be down low for the Wildcats this next season.

The main issue is getting him to come if those three decide to stay. While that is unlikely considering at least one of the three forwards are going to head off to the NBA, the possibility of Gilchrist, Davis and Jones would result in the possibility of Noel having to come off the bench.

When you are considered the top recruit in the nation, you are not going to settle coming off the bench, even if you would be part of a "dream team."

In all likelihood, they will all declare. According to ESPN's Chad Ford via Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones, the three Kentucky stars will head to the NBA.


Chad Ford of ESPN reports sources say Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones will declare for the NBA Draft soon

— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 6, 2012


The sooner they do, it could be a bitter-sweet situation for Kentucky. Sure, they will lose their top players, but it will also give Calipari a reason to convince some of the nation's top players to make their way to Kentucky.

It will remain to be seen how these dominoes will fall, and how it will affect Calipari's effort to keep Kentucky on top for many years to come.


Jeff Chase is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.