Nerlens Noel’s eligibility is no longer in question. We already heard rumors that he would be cleared, but as of today, it’s official. Noel put in the requisite work all summer, and received a phone call this morning from Kentucky’s Compliance Department informing him that it was worth it. He is now a Kentucky Wildcat.
“Sandy Bell called me and woke me up,” Nerlens informed CBSSports.com earlier today. “She told me I was good to go. I knew I did it, but I was still nervous waiting on the official word.”
It was always expected Noel would qualify without issue, but it’s still a relief to know it’s on the books. The Enes Kanter affair still leaves a sour taste in many mouths, and if Noel had been named ineligible too, the NCAA may have been burned down before sunrise. But Noel’s compliance didn’t come without some hard work.
“I needed two B’s,” Noel said. “I never studied that hard in my life.” In fact, Noel managed to get an A and a B+ in the two classes he took at Everett High this July. His effort did have some consequences on the court. Noel saw limited time play this summer and suffered a noticeable drop in fitness, eventually leading to the adidas Nations controversy.
“It was frustrating,” Noel addressed his criticisms. “I just didn’t have my wind, but it was all worth it because the focus was to get eligible for this season.”
Noel’s attitude exposes an interesting work ethic. He understands his priorities and puts 100% effort into accomplishing them, going so far as to exceed expectations. Now that Noel’s done with the challenge of an extended school year, he will be able to focus that incredible drive into improving himself on the basketball court, a fact coach John Calipari will surely covet. For the player that lacks some fundamentals but excels in every athletic respect of the game, the ability to cognitively adapt and learn on the fly will undoubtedly yield impressive developments over the course of the year.
Nerlens’ recent criticisms have created doubts in the Kentucky faithful, but if anything, they might just give reason to celebrate. Noel know what he’s doing and he’s got the work ethic to make things happen.
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.