Sep 8, 2012, 12:51 PM EST
Priority No. 1 for Kentucky was securing Nerlens Noel’s commitment. Done.
Priority No. 2 was getting him academically cleared. Also done.
Priority No. 3 is what Kentucky is working through now, trying to make sure Noel’s amateur status is intact and that he’ll be able to play this season for the Wildcats.
As the NCAA expands its investigation into the details of his recruitment, reported last month by Pete Thamel of SI.com, Kentucky coach John Calipari is optimistic about Noel’s chances of suiting up for UK in 2012-13.
“We feel comfortable,” Calipari told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s a review that those kinds of players go through. When you reclassify, you’re going to have reviews. When you reclassify and some people are mad you reclassified, there are going to be some reviews. That’s how it is. We’re comfortable that he’s done everything he was supposed to do.”
Noel is Kentucky’s answer to the departure of National Player of the Year Anthony Davis, another shot-blocking presence on the interior that the Wildcats hope can anchor the defense.
He reclassified from the Class of 2013 to the Class of 2012, announcing his decision to sign with Kentucky in this spring.
Many analysts had him ranked as the best prospect in the 2012 class, alongside UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad.
Noel is part of a four-man recruiting class for Kentucky, joining Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley, and Archie Goodwin in Lexington.
He chose Calipari’s Wildcats over Syracuse and Georgetown.
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