Nerlens Noel Looking to go #1 in the NBA Draft and DeMarcus Cousins is Getting a Mentor

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Jan 15, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) reacts after hitting a shot during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Nerlens Noel is set to become a multimillionaire in less than 24 hours, and there are many opinions as to whether he will go #1 overall.  Jay Bilas has some strong opinions on Nerlens and, though he’s a Dookie, he rasies some valid points.

Again, though Bilas is typically moderately fair in his assessment of players, I don’t think he’s totally correct on Noel.  It’s not really fair to compare him to “The Dream” Hakeem Olajuwon.  He didn’t have a contemporary and won’t have a predecessor.  Noel is who he is and will make his mark regardless. And for those unaware of Noel’s prowess to use his celebrity for good, look no further than Lane Goodwin.  But if you missed that, know that his heart is very much in tune with the needs of others.  He’s using this draft and his ability to enrich the lives others and fulfill two promises he made to his mother as a child.

“When he was 5 years old, he said, ‘Mom, you know what? I don’t love football. It’s too cold outside. I love basketball.’ I said, ‘Do whatever you want, my son,’ ” she recalled. “He told me, ‘I’m going to go in the NBA.’ I said, ‘Are you sure?’ He said, ‘Yes, mom.’ I said, ‘You’re too little.’ He said, ‘Yes, mom. I love basketball.’ I said, ‘OK, I believe you.’ “

And

As his dream comes true, Noel said he wants to do the same for others. He became known during his days in Lexington for his charitable work, particularly with sick children, and said he plans to expand those efforts with the increased reach and resources of an NBA millionaire. He wants to start a foundation in Haiti and continue working with children here in this country.”I really want to give back and make that kid smile, that kid who’s been going through tough times,” Noel said. “I’m really fortunate to be in this position.”

And his stardom isn’t lost on himself, but is centered squarely on his decision to join the Kentucky Wildcats under John Calipari’s tutelage.

Cats coach John Calipari will join Noel’s mother, brothers and little sister at his star’s “green room” table for tonight’s draft. Noel will become UK’s sixth top-five pick, 13th first-rounder and 16th NBA draft pick in the four years since Calipari became the coach. “Playing under Coach Cal is the best decision I could’ve ever made,” Noel said. “He’s dealt with guys like myself, who have the opportunity to go No. 1, 2, 3, so you know – I knew when I went there – he wasn’t going to accept anything less than my best. That’s what I really looked for in a coach. “Coach Cal is one of the biggest mentors in my life. He’s taught me so much just in the one year I was at Kentucky. It’ll mean a lot to have him there with me. We’ve grown really close.”

Tomorrow night isn’t big only for Nerlens Noel, but also Archie Goodwin.  He is projected to go mid-late in the Second Round but, in an interesting take, Jay Bilas sees him as a great talent that has underachieved.

 

 

This shocks no one in the Big Blue Nation as we’ve seen his successes and failures over the course of a season but we stand behind him nonetheless.

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