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Kentucky Lands Top Recruit Nerlens Noel


There have been so many hat shuffling routines when recruits commit that it's somewhat refreshing when a guy picks a novel way to let the world know which school he's going to. So, high five to Nerlens Noel of Tilton, New Hampshire for shaving a UK logo into the back of his head for the big reveal that he's going to play at Kentucky next season. That it is under a high-top fade makes it that much better.

Noel was one of two players contending for the "best recruit in the country" title depending on who you ask. John Calipari was in the running for the other, Las Vegas's Shabazz Muhammed, but the talented shooting guard chose to stay closer to home and attend UCLA. It would have been exceptional for the Wildcats to pick up both of them, but it's certainly no disaster that they didn't get both guys.

Noel, at 6'10" 205 lbs, will automatically get comparison to Kentucky's 2011-12 star Anthony Davis. He's a good defender just like Davis is, so the comparisons won't be too far off. He becomes the headliner of a class that includes fellow 5-star guys in PF Alex Poythress and SG Archie Goodwin along with 4-star C Willie Cauley. UK has a shot with still-uncommitted F Anthony Bennett as well, which would give the team four of the top 15 recruits in the country according to Rivals should he go with Big Blue.

Conspicuous in its absence is the appearance of a point guard on the list. Marquis Teague was Kentucky's only true point last year, and he's projected to be a mid-to-late first round pick in every mock NBA draft I've seen. If he chooses to go pro, all the point guard eggs will be in the basket of NC State transfer Ryan Harrow. That's not necessarily a problem, as UK just won the national title with only one true PG in the rotation, but it does increase the risk to a degree.

Regardless, it's hard to be upset with Kentucky's haul. It's already the best in the nation, and its lead will extend if Bennett joins up. If you want to know how Calipari can put several guys in the NBA each year while still being a perennial contender, this is how.