Kentucky is up to their old tricks. This time around the Cats reeled in the nation’s No. 1 prospect -- Nerlens Noel.
“I just thought it was the place for me,” Noel told Scout.com. “I can go there and develop myself and be able to play under coach Calipari. I think it was the best place for me to fulfill my dream.”
Noel, a standout at Tilton (N.H.) School, was classified as a 2013 recruit until early February when he opted to reclass to 2012. He began with a list of five schools before cutting it to Georgetown, Syracuse and Kentucky.
“It was definitely tough,” Noel said of his decision. “It definitely came down to the wire. There were times where each school had the lead.”
Noel said Kentucky’s recent national championship played a factor in his decision making.
“If it was anything it could have been the national championship, but it still came down to the wire after the national championship,” he said.
On Tuesday, Noel had a long conversation with his mom about the recruiting process. In the end she felt comfortable with Kentucky and that went a long way with Noel.
“She trusted coach Calipari and thought I would be good there,” Noel said.
Known as the nation’s top shot blocker, Noel, a 6-foot-11 center, is expected to have a similar impact on the defensive end as Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. He has terrific length, timing and athleticism.
Will he go after Davis’ shot blocking record?
“Yeah, definitely,” Noel said immediately.
Does he think he can get it?
"Yeah, of course,” he responded.
The move catapults Kentucky’s recruiting class to No. 1 overall. He joins five-star recruits Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and four-star big man Willie Caulely.
If Kentucky finishes No. 1 overall, this will be the fourth year in a row the Wildcats ended up with the top recruiting class in the country.