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Nerlens Noel most overrated 2012 prospect? Whoa, now …

Aug 20, 2012, 9:45 AM EDT

nerlensnoel1

If you want clicks from college basketball fans, write about Kentucky. If you want clicks and comments, write something critical of a Kentucky player. That’s a guaranteed formula.

Still not enough? Add a generalization that doesn’t apply to college players.

Cue this story at Rant Sports: “Top Prospect Nerlens Noel is Most Overrated Prospect in 2012.”

Noel, the 6-10 center who re-classified from the class of 2013 to 2012 and committed to the Wildcats in the spring, is the man who’ll step into Anthony Davis’ considerable shoes this season. Noel already earned a rep as the best shot blocker in a generation – yes, even better than Davis – and is seen as a guy whose offensive game can only get better.

But Jason Greenberg at Rant is convinced that Noel won’t match Davis’ production. He says Noel’s offensive game was lacking at the adidas Nations event earlier in June (only scoring off putbacks and dunks) and was outplayed by other prospects such as Isaiah Austin and Steven Adams. Worse yet, he got pushed around.

Here’s the thing: Greenberg is right about one thing. Noel probably won’t match Davis’ production. Not many guys – let alone freshmen – lead their team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, win a national title and take all the major awards in the process. That’s a remarkable season. But to use Davis’ performance as a way to call Noel overhyped – and throw in references of Bowie vs. Jordan, Oden over Durant – misses the point. (Is Shabazz Muhammad MJ or Durant in this scenario? I’m confused.)

Noel doesn’t have to be the next Davis. If he hits the averages Greenberg expects (eight points, seven rebounds, three blocks) then he’ll still be incredibly valuable. Three blocks a game usually means he’s altering another five or six. That’s game-changer in the frontcourt from a defensive standpoint, which is what Davis was most of the season for the ‘Cats. (Remember that at least one scouting site ranked Austin Rivers as 2011’s top recruit.) Noel will be surrounded by enough scorers and shooters that the points will come. Probably off putbacks and dunks. Concerns about Davis’ build also lingered throughout the season, but somehow didn’t matter in the end (having Terrence Jones down low helped a lot).

But hey, who hasn’t trotted out a sensational headline every now and then? Just don’t make it a habit.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

  1. Michael Rogner - Aug 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I’m working on my ’10 reasons Kentucky won’t make the NCAA Tourney’ slideshow

  2. gatordontplay - Aug 20, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Since imforbigblue is hiding like a bitch I will comment for him
    Lol at all you haters. Cal and uk are the most superior team in college basketball.. You wish you had are recruits or 1 nc since 98 and sec tourney runner up trophy. Your just hatting cause where the best.. Noel will be the best center since bill Russell

    • eugenesaxe - Aug 20, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      Wow, mature.

  3. gatordontplay - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    In all seriousness taken the NCAA investigation out of.. We would all want this kid on our team

  4. chadinkc30 - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Yes Kentucky is the flavor of the month number 1 program, but that’s partly because Calapari finally won a title with the one and dones. Its incredibly naive to believe that will work every year & incredibly naive to believe that Noel will be the next Anthony Davis or even a superstar. I would have to agree that Noel is a lil overrated IMO

  5. imforbigblue - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Its ok let everybody think noel is over rated. If you think any player in college right now is on the same level as davis is crazy.

    Its great to be a UK fan what four #1 classes working on one of the best classes in history for 2013 yeah were mad because morons like gator hates UK lol

  6. gatordontplay - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Big blue it’s sad your only comeback is gator is a hater gator is a moron.. Yet your always ducking me.. If a uk fan hates does think make them a hater or just exposes you for who you really are? You get called out my multiple people on this site from uk fans to “haters” and act like im the only one get a clue dumb ass.. And If you decide not to be a bitch and respond please come up with something else than gator is a moron or hater… Your turning out to be uk version of the Alabama tree poisoner.. Get some professional help

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