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Fresh FizzCast: Team Coverage on Nerlens Noel Choosing Kentucky

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Sometimes being right just isn’t any fun. The Fizz almost  unanimously predicted this morning that Nerlens Noel was headed for Kentucky. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. The appeal of filling the void Anthony Davis left was just too strong as Noel said after declaring his decision. The announcement itself was both cool and fittingly slimy. It was cool that he shaved UK into his head. But it also was a little uncomfortable that after all the rumors and speculation around his “decision” that N2 used the exact same wording as Lebron James in “taking his talents to Lexington.”

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Tonight at 7:30p on ESPNU Nerlens Noel finally announces whether he’ll play basketball at Syracuse, Kentucky or Georgetown. If you ask Noel though, he’s not keeping a secret because he hasn’t made up his mind. Just yesterday he suggested the decision was still in the air. Whether you believe that, this evening Orange Nation and Hoya fans will sit on their couches watching him pick a hat that won’t fit over his high-top fade. Wildcat fans will be sitting on the floor. They burned all their couches.

Here’s Team Fizz’s predictions:

D.A. – Kentucky. “I’ve felt all along he was heading to Kentucky. The Wildcats have a dominant track record of pulling in the very best one-and-done players since John Calipari got there. Cal had this cottage industry on lockdown even dating back to his Memphis days. National title, Anthony Davis’ surge to celebrity status, NBA Draft success AND the deepest bank accounts? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) It’s going to be the Wildcats. Good swing by SU, but just not enough.”

Craig Hoffman – Kentucky: “Noel can’t possibly ask for more than Anthony Davis’ experience, and the chance to replace him is just too tempting. Davis won every award possible, the national championship and will be the top pick in the draft. Noel goes to UK and tries to repeat that.” 

Alex Plavin – Kentucky: “I think he’s headed to Lexington. It just makes too much sense with Calipari and his one-and-dones. There’s a natural hole in the middle there. It would be incredible if he chose Syracuse, but I just don’t see it.” 

Dave Van Moffaert – Georgetown: “He will carry on the lineage of great Hoya big men. N2 likes the idea of being the focal point of the JT3 offense. He becomes the next dominating Georgetown player in the paint.” 

Andrew Kanell – Kentucky: “‘Goin to shock the world’ is actually recruit-speak for ‘I’m going to do exactly what everyone expects and go to Kentucky.'”

Kevin Fitzgerald – Kentucky: “Despite his relationships with MCW and Mike Hopkins, which are huge factors, it’s hard to argue with the reports of everyone around N2 saying the big guy is leaning UK. He’s one-and-done anyway, and Coach Cal reels in those players better than anyone else.” 

Jake Moskowitz – Syracuse: “When Nerlens says he’s going to ‘shock the world’ after 12 classmates AND most prominent talking heads in the recruiting world seem to think he’s off to UK, it means he’s coming to SU. Syracuse has been on him since the beginning, he was at Midnight Madness for a grand show featuring Carmelo (the most well known one-and-done in SU history), and the relationship with MCW is the most important in all of this. Expect N2 in Orange.”

The Fizz’s Nerlens Noel Coverage: 

Handicapping his three options is pointless. ESPN’s Dave Telep tweeted this morning, “Nerlens Noel is not a case where ‘behind the scenes’ people know. Staffs are in the dark. As of 10:50, no one knows. Theories abound.” We can however, size up the final three schools.

Georgetown doesn’t make sense. Yes, there’s the appeal of being the next high-topped big man who is a dominant defender. Playing in a Princeton offense where everything runs through you is enticing too. But you want to win? It’s a roster losing Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims. Does Noel look at Otto Porter, Markel Starks, Jason Trawick and Nate Lubick and believe he can make a deep March run? If Thompson didn’t declare for the NBA Draft it’s a totally different situation. Noel, Thompson and Porter could’ve been one of the best frontcourts in the nation. Lubick and Greg Whittington aren’t doing it for me.

Syracuse’s lineup is the most exciting in the nation right now, but if Shabazz Muhammad chooses Kentucky that changes. A lineup of Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, Rak Christmas and Noel is straight nasty. Add in the flexibility that James Southerland, Trevor Cooney and DaJuan Coleman bring, and SU would likely be the preseason top dawg.

There’s also the MCW factor. Noel keeps talking about how he loves the family atmosphere at SU and there’s no doubt Carter-Williams is a huge huge part of that. They’re New England boys (Noel from Massachusetts and Mike from Rhode Island). They go way back. They would be living out childhood dreams, running pick and rolls together at the college level. That has to be a huge draw for Noel.

But the 800-pound gorilla is still Kentucky. At the end of the day, this is a business decision (*flips the bird to NCAA*). What more could you possibly want out of your college experience than to improve your NBA stock, go to a basketball crazy state, defend and play for a national title, and also be the NBA’s top pick? Anthony Davis just created the template for you. He’s gone, now you slide in. It’s hard to imagine passing that up. The other two options have plenty of appeal, but his safest bet is to become the newest cog of Big Blue Nation.

The Fizz has Noel’s decision covered from every angle. Stay locked into our Twitter page @OrangeFizz for updates throughout the day. We’ll also have a special edition Fresh Fizzcast tonight following the decision with college basketball insiders to break it all down. N2: Judgement Day. The immediate future of three schools is shaped today by a high-top fade tonight.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

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