Nerlens Noel participated in an online chat conducted by Josh Paunil of the National Recruiting Spotlight this past Thursday. Noel, who is considering Providence, has been thoughtful, deliberate and for the most part quiet, about his recruitment, so the chat represented a rare opportunity to get some insight. Given Noel’s stature as a player and recruit, and the fact that Providence is somewhere in the mix, an all angle (OK, borderline obsessive) breakdown of the chat is exactly what you need, right?
Before we get into the chat itself, for those of you who have refused to get out of your Keno induced coma and are not familiar with Nerlens Noel, here is an overview. He is a class of 2013, 6’10” shot blocking savant of a center from Everett, MA who attends the Tilton School, alma mater of current Friar Gerard Coleman, and plays his travel/AAU ball with BABC, quite possibly the best AAU program going right now. Gerard Coleman and Friar teammate Ron Giplaye both played for BABC, as do current Friar recruiting targets Goodluck Okonoboh and Jake Layman.
As a side note, Nerlens’ brother, Rodman, a highly rated class of 2011 football recruit as a safety, will be playing for NC State this year.
Nerlens Noel is the number two rated prospect in the class of 2013 by ESPN, and number five by Rivals (Yahoo! Sports). He is touted as the best defensive player in the country and has been compared to the likes of Patrick Ewing and even Bill Russell (Russell is one of his two all time favorite players per the chat by the way with the other being Kevin Garnett). Where ever Noel ends up going to college he is projected to be an absolute game changer, but perhaps nowhere more so than Providence, especially if Noel came in on the heels of a 2012 class that included elite guards Ricardo Ledo (who we learned will be doing his own chat soon!) and Kris Dunn, both of whom would bring huge impact for Providence in their own right.
That said, we are talking about a consensus top five guy here in Noel who, for all of the exploits cited above and more, is being recruited by everyone and their grandmother so don’t get your hopes up there too high FRIARTOWN. As you will see, Noel provided some encouraging signs for Friar fans during the chat, but we have to be realistic about this. History is not exactly on our side when it comes to highly rated recruits. At least since the advent of the Big East, PC has barely sniffed a recruit of Noel’s pedigree much less landed one. Plus, BABC teammate and Iowa State commit Georges Niang’s mother really made it tougher during the chat when she offered to send Noel homemade sugar cookies whenever he wanted them if he were to go to Iowa State with her son. Come to think of it, that’s a violation of some sort right? Pretty sure there has to be a no baked goods from mothers clause in the rules because that is just impossible to compete with!
On to the chat. One thing is for sure, FRIARTOWN came to play, with far and away the most questions (thus prompting the most answers as illustrated below).
Noel offered very positive comments about Providence. Overall he provided 59 responses on various topics, including comments related to specific schools (23), reclassification to the class of ’12 (2, 1 of which overlapped with a specific school comment) and what we will call general responses (35) about his recruitment, style of play, personal information, etc. Counting the one item that fell into two categories, there were a total of 60 responses. As illustrated in the list below, Providence dominated Noel’s specific school comments, more than doubling those about any other school.
Iowa St. (3)
Reclassify to ’12 (2)
North Carolina (2)
NC State (1)
Chat Highlights for Friar Fans
Noel indicated he will release a list of fifteen schools in early September, and specifically stated that Providence has a “good chance” to be on it while also referring to Ed Cooley unsolicited as a “great coach”. In fact, Providence represented the only school Noel hinted at or named directly in connection with his list. He did however mention planned visits to North Carolina and Florida (& is visiting Syracuse with Ledo and Okonoboh today).
The first of two compelling responses related to Providence came when Noel confirmed that he and Ricardo Ledo have talked about going to PC together. The second came when this question was posed by “John”: “You could have the whole city of Providence on your back – does that intrigue your decision at all?” Noel’s answer, “yeaa it does”. It is likely these two responses are related, with the connection being two guys who know in general they will have major impact on a program, but perhaps share a desire to team up and be part of something bigger. Instead of going to Kentucky or Syracuse where they will be two of a collection of high school All-Americans, why not entertain going to Providence College together, taking the state by storm and doing things maybe no one else has ever done here?
Further, Noel dispelled any lingering belief that the departure of former Keno assistant and BABC general manager, Chris Driscoll, has negatively impacted PC’s chances with him.
Noel also left open the possibility of reclassifying from the class of 2013 back to 2012, which he can do given that 2013 would be his fifth year of high/prep school. Reclassification to ‘12 came up on two occasions, the first of which had Noel saying he was not sure at this time if he would reclassify. The second was in response to a question about reclassifying for the purpose of becoming a Friar to play with Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn (both class of ’12) should they come to PC. Interestingly, Noel answered “to early to tell”, once again invoking possible connections between his and Ledo’s decisions.
Other PC related responses:
• Indicated he would like to play with Friar newcomer Kiwi Gardner and thinks he is a good player
• Complimented Friar fans and the atmosphere at the Dunk, saying they are loyal and “get WILD win or lose”
• Has NOT spoken about PC with former BABC teammates and current Friars Gerard Coleman and Ron Giplaye
In addition to teasing his list of fifteen and providing fans and media with a bit more to chew on concerning what is sure to be one of the most followed and eagerly anticipated college decisions since, well maybe since Andre Drummond, but it will be big nonetheless, Noel also left us another nugget of mystery by saying he “had” (past tense may be important here) a dream school but will not reveal it until he makes his decision. Perhaps if Nerlens Noel decides to come to Providence College he will leave a legacy that includes making PC a dream school for the next generation of great student athletes and beyond.
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