Nerlens Noel: Why the Prep Star Will Choose Georgetown over Kentucky

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Nerlens Noel: Why the Prep Star Will Choose Georgetown over Kentucky
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Today is selection day for several top high school basketball stars. ESPNU's Signing Day Special will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and bring the announcements live, including the decision of Nerlens Noel and the other top recruit, Shabazz Muhammad.

While the Syracuse Orange and Kentucky Wildcats are still in the mix, look for him to name the Georgetown Hoyas as his brief NCAA stomping grounds. His announcement is scheduled for 8:45.

The Kentucky Wildcats have been the odds-on favorite to land Noel. They have reached two consecutive Final Fours, and won the championship game this season. 

Head coach John Calipari has shown an ability and willingness to sign and win with one-and-done players. In fact, his 2012 championship team featured three freshmen and two sophomores, most of which will be heading to the NBA. 

However, the Hoyas and head coach John Thompson III have something else to offer Noel. They, along with Syracuse, play in the Big East and will offer Noel better exposure against top basketball talent. 

More important, Thompson has established a name for himself on the backs of his big men. He helped launch the NBA careers of Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe, and it is hard to ignore the mystique that still surrounds the program.

Patrick Ewing started the line of big men in the mid-1980s, leading them to a national title in 1984. Dikembe Mutombo followed, but was not able to lead them past the Elite Eight.

The Hoyas have continued to be a competitor in the Big East, but NCAA Tournament success hasn’t followed. They last made the Final Four in 2007 and bowed out in the first round this season to No. 11 seed North Carolina State.

However, the Hoyas have virtually no option but to improve with Noel in their lineup. They have the talent to get back to the tournament, and the addition of shooting guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and power forward Brandon Bolden will help refill the roster.

Guard Jason Clark is one of the two departing seniors. The other is Center Henry Sims, leaving a ready-made hole for Noel.

Instead of being one of the gang at Kentucky, look for Noel to make a name for himself by bringing the magic back to Georgetown.

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