Nerlens Noel’s return has been “something special”

| July 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

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After missing all of the 2013 -14NBA season, Nerlens Noel returned to the court this month to play in the NBA Summer League.

After tearing his ACL in his lone season with the Kentucky Wildcats, Noel went from being the likely No. 1 pick to being drafted 6th-overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.

When speaking about his comeback prior to the start of summer league play, Noel sounded prophetic when talking about his return to basketball.

“When I step back on that court it’s really going to be something special,” Noel said at a youth basketball camp in Lexington. “I’ve been 100 percent for a while now. I’ve been working on everything, every part of my game. Just continuing to get better, add size and strength and just continue to improve my game.”


His return was something special indeed. Noel’s first game saw him score a game-high 19 points on 6/11 shooting to go with his 4 steals and 1 block. Noel finished Orlando summer league play averaging 12.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in 24.7 minutes over four games.

He only played in two games in the Las Vegas Summer League, but one of them was a highlight matchup against Andrew Wiggins’ Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Watch him on defense and you begin wondering how he wasn’t the top pick in that draft,” an NBA scout offered up about Noel. “Sure, you had concerns with the knee and those legs are so thin it’s worrisome. If New Orleans doesn’t make the playoffs soon or struggles to find a guy to put next to [Anthony Davis], how do they justify that trade?”

Noel established himself as the same intimidating presence in the pain he was in his time at UK. He finished the Summer League No. 1 in NBA.com’s rookie ladder.

Though he has yet to play in an official NBA game, his return to the court has truly been ‘something special.’

 

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