NCAA visits Nerlens Noel’s friends in Kentucky Wildcats eligibility probe

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As recently as a couple of weeks ago, the NCAA is still digging into the eligibility questions of Kentucky Wildcat freshman Nerlens Noel. The NCAA met with Ryan Sweeney, who was one of Noel’s friends in Providence and questioned him about his relationship with Noel. Sweeney was also friends with players like Ricky Ledo and Khem Birch and apparently his house was a local hangout for the kids.

His father, Michael Sweeney, is a lawyer and is also a Providence booster and it is unsure whether the meeting was all about Noel or if Ricardo Ledo was discussed as well. It does appear that Noel was a major topic:

"Two weeks ago, representatives from the NCAA and the University of Kentucky visited Sweeney’s home to discuss his relationship with Noel, a 6-foot-10 center who enrolled last week as a freshman at UK. The officials met with Ryan Sweeney for nearly an hour, according to his father, Providence attorney Michael Sweeney. He would not comment when asked what was discussed but, the website for Sports Illustrated, reported earlier this last week that the NCAA also stopped at the Tilton (N.H.) School to further investigate potential eligibility issues regarding Noel. “Nerlens has been at our house many times. He is Ryan’s friend,” said Michael Sweeney. “I’m not sure why the NCAA wanted to speak with Ryan but we cooperated, and I got the sense that everything was fine when the meeting was over.”"

And for those thinking still that the Noel investigation is just a Kentucky thing, the elder Sweeney had this to say:

"Asked if he’s ever provided money to Noel, Sweeney said: “Nerlens came to Florida with us once on vacation and he visited Ryan once at college (Florida Atlantic University) and we paid for his ticket. I will say we are not boosters of Kentucky.”"

Over the weekend, there was a lot of speculation that Kentucky may be losing their grasp on Aaron and Andrew Harrison and that they may in fact, be leaning to Maryland. Andrew Harrison seems to be equally as uncertain and says that all suitors are pretty much even at this point:

"“We have five schools that are pretty much even,” said Andrew Harrison via telephone from Venice, Calif., where the twins played in the Under Armor Elite 24 on ESPNU Saturday night. “When it comes time to make a decision, we will make it. But until then, I am not exactly sure what we will be doing.”"

Fact is, Kentucky will be in this recruitment until the very end and the twins have an express desire to play in the NBA.  Andrew even admits that his idolozes Derrick Rose.  When push comes to shove, Kentucky still appears to be the best option for the twins and they seem to recognize that:

"“Coach Cal is a great coach who puts players in the NBA,” Andrew Harrison said. “He will tell you what is real and what isn’t. So will the rest of his staff. They don’t just tell you what you want to hear. They tell you that you will have to work hard when you get there and nothing is just given to you.” “He puts a lot of players in the NBA,” Aaron Harrison said. “That has to get your attention.”"

Xavier Rathan – Mayes, teammate of one Andrew Wiggins, released his top five teams on Friday and it was a shock not to see Kentucky listed.  Rathan – Mayes has a top five of Baylor, Florida State, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas.  If you read tea leaves, this is another sign that the Harrisons may be more inclined to go to Kentucky.  These players talk to each other on the circuit and they probably have a better read where a player is going than the “experts” do.

In case the news of Rathan – Mayes has you bummed out and you want some good basketball recruiting news ….  Aaron Gordon has a top three and Kentucky is in it.  Also, Jermaine Lawrence, a new name in the 2013 class (and a ***** forward) has Kentucky in his top seven.  Like I have said before, don’t get too hung up on any one player in the 2013 class.  If one of them crosses Kentucky off their list, two more add them.