No more than a few days after Nerlens Noel announced he would be arriving in Lexington to join his teammates shortly, the typical Kentucky hate train has already started punching tickets. The first man on-board is DraftExpress.com’s Johnathon Givony, who offered up some stirringly negative comments regarding Noel’s play at the recent adidas Nations Tournament.
“Nerlens Noel couldn’t score today unless he was completely spoon-fed under the rim,” Givony tweeted. “Defensively his fundamentals & awareness looked just OK.” These brief comments drew the ire of Big Blue Nation, and a big blue army amassed, each coming out against Givony and his assessment of Kentucky’s centerpiece in yet another number one recruiting class.
Givony’s comments aren’t incredulous enough to warrant the rabid reaction with which Kentucky fans responded. Concerns regarding Noel’s scoring ability have been well-advertised, and everyone understands that his his raw athleticism and instinct compensate for any lacking fundamentals. Although his comments showcase a some validity, Givony’s problem is the way in which he chose to word his tweet heard round the bluegrass. The tone and delivery lacked the courtesy and respect that a reporter should show when covering young men trying to accomplish their dreams. Instead it read as targeted and purposeful, not observant and objective.
Another interesting fact is that DraftExpress.com, the site for which Givony works, still has Nerlens Noel listed as their overall number one draft pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Apparently there’s something to like about the young star if he’s the most desired player in the current college basketball crop, and perhaps their reporter simply missed the memo. In the end, Givony may have just overstated a genuine opinion. Or he might be looking for the attention only a spurned Big Blue Nation can provide. We may never really know if Givony was boarding the Kentucky hate train or simply waving goodbye as its engine bellowed into the distance.
But one thing is for certain, I have a pretty good feeling that Nerlens Noel will be proving Givony wrong sometime in the near future, and by then the Kentucky hate train will be up to full speed.
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.