In the most recent Meet the Wildcats video on CoachCal.com, Nerlens Noel shared a little bit about himself and his goals at Kentucky. Long story short, Nerlens knows he’s good and he wants to prove it. He’s set an awfully lofty goal befitting one of the nation’s top young players and a possible future number one draft pick. “I’m going after that shot block record”.
It’s hard to figure out exactly which of Anthony Davis’ shot block records Noel is referencing, because Davis broke nearly all of them. First he glided past Kentucky’s single season record. Next was Shaq’s old SEC freshman record. Then he toppled the NCAA Tournament record for most blocks in a game, followed by a new SEC single season record just a week later. Davis finished it off with the NCAA freshman single season blocks record too.
Initial reports from the recruiting trail suggest Noel was actually a significantly better shot-blocker than Anthony Davis. It sounded absurd, but he is built eerily similarly and has an equally distracting visual trademark on his person. Noel has ridiculous length, lightning-quick reflexes, and a team around him that will certainly help. All together, it might be just enough for him to edge out Anthony Davis one short year after the number one draft pick’s dominating string of blocks.
But it won’t be easy. A vast majority of the players with more than 160 blocks in a season came from small conferences and played weak opponents for much of the year. Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado and a fellow by the name of Alonzo Mourning are the only two exceptions to the rule, putting Davis at a lofty level of achievement. Nerlens Noel will have to repeat a thrice-in-a-lifetime performance to even approach Anthony Davis’ records. And if the 2012-2013 Kentucky squad doesn’t reach deep into the NCAA and SEC Tournaments, then Noel’s chances will be reduced even further. Davis averaged a blistering 4.65 blocks per game, which will require Noel to start blocking shots early and continue through SEC play. He won’t have time to ease into his role and adapt to the speed of the college game.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t going to try. “I’m going after it,” Noel added. “That’s just something to motivate myself, to keep playing harder on defense.” Noel’s attitude is definitely in the right place, but his aggression may have to be tempered before the year it out. Calipari will no doubt remind the youngster that good defense usually means no one will need to block a shot. Guys looking for blocked shots don’t usually get them, but there’s little doubt blocked shots will come to Noel. He’ll just have to deliver a superhuman performance to surpass Davis’ ability to fly.
If it’s going to take a superpowers, here’s hoping Kentucky has its next Superman.
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.