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Nerlens Noel to enter the NBA Draft

Apr 15, 2013, 10:41 AM EDT

Patric Young AP

Torn ACL and all, Nerlens Noel announced on Monday morning that he would be entering his name into the NBA Draft.

“I have loved my time at Kentucky, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Noel said in a statement released by the University. “I’ve learned so much here at UK and am thankful for Coach (John) Calipari, the staff and my teammates for all of their support. I especially appreciate the Big Blue Nation and all of the support, prayers and well-wishes I’ve received from them during my rehab and decision-making process. I’ll always be a Wildcat!”

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Noel could very well end up being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft this June. In fact, I’m not sure there’s much of a discussion here. Noel is far and away the best prospect in this draft, and if there’s anything that we’ve learned from guys like Adrian Peterson and Branden Dawson, it’s that a torn ACL is anything but a career-damaging injury.

And remember, Coach Cal runs a ‘players-first’ program. If Noel has a shot at going No. 1, he wasn’t ever going to be coming back to school.

I wonder how much he regrets reclassifying to enter college in the Class of 2012? Imagine the 2013 Kentucky recruiting class if it also included Noel.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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