Kentucky Basketball: Will Nerlens Noel Be This Year's Andre Drummond?

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IJune 8, 2012

kentucky.straitpinkie.com
kentucky.straitpinkie.com

Nerlens Noel has no shortage of people telling the world how awesome he is.

Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, tweeted back in April: "Best shot-blocker I have ever seen at high school level. HUGE get for UK."

Ryan Greene of YahooSports.com exclaimed that Noel is "regarded as maybe the best shot blocker to come from the prep ranks in the last decade."

USA Today's Jim Halley says that Noel is being heralded as "Anthony Davis 2.0."

Until this last January, the 6'11" center wasn't a part of the recruiting Class of 2012. Because of an assortment of knee problems, Noel was planning on graduating next year.

After reclassifying, he became one of the most sought-after players in the nation. And Kentucky head coach John Calipari won the Nerlens Noel sweepstakes.

Just a year ago, Andre Drummond blazed a similar trail, moving up his entry into the recruiting game one year earlier than expected. After making this decision, he immediately was placed at the top of most Top 100 lists.

Predictions abounded about how Drummond would have a "massive impact" on UConn and help them compete for a second national championship in a row.

The fact is, Andre Drummond had an uneven freshman season for the Huskies, averaging 10 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game as UConn struggled to make it to the 2012 NCAA tournament.

Is Noel headed for a similar storyline?

If someone told you about a high school player, who averaged 12.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game, would you automatically think you were talking about a player that would dominate Division I basketball next season? I wouldn't.

 

Those were Noel's numbers for his final prep season at Tilton (N.H.) Prep.

In the 2012 Jordan Brand Classic, Noel's line was pretty pedestrian: Four points (2-of-6 shooting; 0-of-2 from the line), five rebounds and three blocked shots.

All-Star game stats are not a very reliable measure of how someone will fare at the next level, but other top recruits did better at the JBC. Kaleb Tarczewski, another top big from the Class of 2012, had 14 points (6-of-8 from the field) and 10 rebounds.

I am not in any way, shape or form forecasting a freshman year flop for Noel.

I am suggesting that he might have trouble living up to all of the hype that surrounds his arrival in Lexington.

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