Nerlens Noel more worried about a National Title for the Kentucky Wildcats, not the NBA

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Oct 24, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) dribbles the ball around forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15) during the Kentucky-Blue and White scrimmage at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Last year everyone scoffed when Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said they were coming to Kentucky to win a national title. Surely “one and done” players have no design on team success as critics thought that Kentucky was just a pathway to the NBA.  Then the 38-2 seaon and number eight came to Lexington and the one and doners proved they could win a national title.  Get ready for round two as Nerlens Noel is saying all the right things and making some serious noise about bringing number nine to Lexington:


“Winning a title is something I have definitely dreamed about. Just being at the college level and growing up watching this game and having a passion for it, I really want to win a title more than anything, Other than that, I am mainly focused on getting better and staying on the books. This is just a regular school where you are going to do regular things and where you come to get better every day. The NBA is not something you worry about.”


Another thing that Noel probably had in common with his predecessors was underestimating the rabid fan base:


“A lot more (fan interest) than what I have experienced in the past. It is special to be here. It is a big opportunity, but you have to seize it and bring it every day,” he said. “Some fans are crazy, but mainly they just have a love for the game. Just watching us play is special for them, and you have to love that.”


Oct 11, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) talks to reporters during media day at Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

As Nerlens Noel has a lot in common with Anthony Davis before him, Andrew Wiggins, if he comes to Kentucky, will have a lot in common with Nerlens Noel.  Lest we forget, Noel reclassified into an earlier class and became the number one player in his new class. Noel was asked if he had any advice for Wiggins to deal with the extra hype and criticism that may come:


“Thick skin,” Noel said. “Gotta have it.”


Noel also advised the Wiggins stay humble and focused:


“He’s just got to tune out all the hype that’s coming now,” Noel said of Wiggins. “And just continue to focus on going hard. If he does that he’ll be fine.”


Oct 11, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Archie Goodwin (10) talks with reporters during media day at Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Archie Goodwin learned that Kentucky was a whole animal after the Blue/White game. Goodwin had a crowd thrilling dunk, but he received the wrath of Coach Cal because he passed up a wide open Julius Mays on the play. Goodwin quickly learned that UK basketball was not for “funsies”. Goodwin expounded a bit on that and said that Coach Cal is always coaching and letting the players know UK is different from their HS days:


“He (Calipari) always tells us how back at our old schools or AAU teams, we were always the main option and we were only playing for ourselves,” Goodwin said. “But now that we’re here with a lot of guys that can play just as good as us, we’re going to have to share the ball more. That’s not something that I’m dwelling on or that’s going to affect my game because I know that that’s going to make me a better player and it’s going to make every game easy for me as well as others.”


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