Anthony Davis has undoubtedly left his mark on Kentucky basketball. With every blocked shot, each additional win, and every second he held the national championship trophy, Davis influenced the history of the Wildcats. But even after he’s moved on to richer pastures, Anthony is still affecting the fate of basketball in the Bluegrass state by becoming a mentor of sorts to his replacement Nerlens Noel.
Specifically, Davis offered some words of wisdom to Noel, which the soon-to-be Wildcat revealed in a recent issue of SLAM Magazine. “He just told me,” Noel recounted. “‘Don’t let the media get to you. If they’re gonna try to make all this publicity out of it, just come and ball, focus on academics and basketball. That’s it.’”
Those are powerful words directed towards a young man that’s almost as hyped as Anthony Davis coming out of high school. The similarities between the two players don’t stop with their tremendous ability to block shots. They each have visual trademarks that make them media darlings. They were each the number one player in their recruiting class, bringing about unparalleled attention. Both are expected to go first in the NBA draft, and that achievement brings a torrential downpour of exposure with it. Both have certainly received more than their fair share of media attention, and Noel’s time int he limelight has barely begun.
But few players have navigated the media minefield and stressful landscape of college basketball like Anthony Davis, and he did better than anyone in history. His calm demeanor and humble attitude kept him centered and focused, and apparently he wants to help Noel escape the hysteria of Kentucky basketball in the same manner. “Just come and ball” may not sound like profound words, but that is the philosophy that made Davis himself so successful, and could lead Noel to similar success.
And the most important part of this story is Nerlens Noel is obviously listening. We’ll just have to wait and see if he follows the advice.
Filed Under: Basketball
About the Author: Corey Tincher is a lifelong Kentucky fan and professional writer who couldn't keep the two worlds apart. He is the lead contributor for StraitCats.com and literally wrote the book on the 2012 NCAA Tournament Championship run, Big Blue Articles: Kentucky Basketball in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Follow @Corey_Tincher on Twitter for more Kentucky news and discussion.