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April 11, 2012
Noel picks Kentucky
John Calipari has his next great shot-blocker.
Kentucky scored a huge recruiting victory with the commitment of Nerlens Noel, the nation's No. 2 prospect and high school basketball's premier defender, on Wednesday night - the first day of the spring signing period.
Noel announced the choice during an ESPNU signing day special - showing the "UK" logo cut into the back of his signature flat-top haircut.
He chose the Cats over Syracuse and Georgetown. The Hoyas, in particular, had generated late buzz as Noel's likely choice, but Calipari won out in the end.
Noel should slide right in to the defensive role left by National Player of Year Anthony Davis - should Davis, as expected, declare for the NBA draft this spring.
Noel said he was impressed with UK's national title run and that his mother likes Calipari.
"Obviously he's a dynamic player on defense, also a great offensive player," UK signee Archie Goodwin said during the ESPNU show. "He's another Anthony Davis is my eyes. He doesn't need offense to impact a game."
Goodwin, Noel and UK signee Alex Poythress are all in Charlotte this week to play in Saturday's Jordan Brand Classic game. The Cats also have 7-foot Willie Cauley-Stein in the fold for 2012.
Noel's commitment quickly eased the sting of No. 1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad's commitment to UCLA earlier in the ESPNU telecast, and his addition puts UK in strong contention to have the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for the fourth straight year.
"We're coming for a repeat," Poythress said on TV. " ... We're coming hard. We're going to try to for another national championship."
Noel was already looking toward the future as well and took to Twitter just minutes after the announcement for some title talk.
"BBN, yall ready to get #9 ?!?!" he posted on his @NerlensNoel3 account.
Video courtesy of TheWolfpacker.com