Noel won’t be playing for the Pelicans after all:
Sixers send Holiday and 42nd pick to New Orleans for Noel (No. 6 pick) and Pelicans’ 2014, slightly protected first-rounder.
— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) June 28, 2013
Nerlens Noel didn’t get to accomplish his goal of being the #1-overall selection in this year’s NBA Draft, but the big man didn’t have to wait too long to hear his name called, as the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans made him the 6th-overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft.
Noel on playing alongside Anthony Davis: “It’s going to be a shot-blocking party” in New Orleans.
— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) June 28, 2013
Leading up to the draft, it appeared as though the Cleveland Cavaliers were set to draft either Noel or Maryland’s Alex Len with the top pick, but shocked the world with their selection of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett.
Noel’s lone season at UK was a memorable, though shortened one. He averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. His rebounds and blocks led the Southeastern Conference, and he also ranked among the top 10 players in steals per game, defensive rebounds per game, offensive rebounds per game and minutes played per game prior to his season-ending ACL tear in a February road game at Florida.
Noel’s 50 steals ranked as the fifth most in a single season by a freshman. His .590 field-goal percentage is the ninth-best mark in school history, while his steals per game (2.1) is the seventh-best mark in the program record books.
Despite missing the final seven regular-season games of the year, Noel’s 106 blocks on the season ranks third all-time among SEC freshmen behind Anthony Davis (186) and Shaquille O’Neal (115). He set a UK single-game record with 12 blocked shots at Ole Miss.
Noel also racked up the awards as he has was named SEC Freshman Of The Year, SEC Defensive Player Of The Year, SEC First Team, SEC All Freshman Team, SEC Community Service Team. In addition to earning All-SEC first team honors by the league’s coaches, Noel earned first-team honors from the Associated Press.