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The Darkhorse: Will Georgetown’s Big Man Lineage Draw Nerlens Noel to DC?

With just days remaining in the Nerlens Noel sweepstakes it would be unwise to count out Georgetown just yet. When the highly sought-after recruit makes his decision on Wednesday, the consensus has long been the Hoyas are on the outside looking in on Kentucky and Syracuse. But Georgetown is making a very strong late push to land the Tilton (NH) star. Reportedly, N2 is still destined to land in Big Blue Nation. But SNY’s Adam Zagoria tells The Fizz John Thompson III’s squad has an edge.

“Georgetown is in it a lot more than people think. Their offense runs through the big men a lot, and Nerlens has observed that and likes that a lot. They still have a legitimate chance to get him.”

It may be difficult for Nerlens to pass up an offensive scheme in DC that’s based solely around him. Zagoria believes the long history of Hoya big men (Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe) could be very important to Noel. He even had a special Hoya visitor come watch him play at the All-American Championship game in New Orleans this past weekend.

“John Thompson Jr. was in New Orleans on Sunday. He bought a ticket, and I don’t think he would have been there unless he thought Georgetown had a shot.”

It would be an interesting reversal if Nerlens did choose Georgetown. Early in his high school career, Noel’s head coach reached out to the Hoyas and attempted to connect the recruit to JT3. Instead, it upset N2’s family and alienated the coach from the process. Here’s an excerpt from the explosive New York Times article weeks ago about Noel’s recruitment.

DiBiaso said that a rift developed between him and the Noel family after he made the call, perhaps an early sign of others attempting to influence the young star. “The big thing I echoed to the parents when I did speak with them was that I’ve been here 33 years; I’m not looking for anything.” He let out a long sigh and said, “They chose a different tack and we lost touch.”

The potential Transformers lineup has Orange Nation salivating, but Nerlens is playing his decision close to the vest. N2 has done a good job of keeping everyone on their toes and remaining mum until Wednesday’s decision.

It seems crazy. How could Noel pass up two 30-win programs with Final Four aspirations to play for a program that, year after year, gets bounced from the NCAA tournament early? But Nerlens would slide in well to the Hoyas offense and wreak havoc as the next great defensive force, says Zagoria.

“He’s an incredible shot blocker, and there are people who say he is a better shot blocker than Anthony Davis, which is really saying something. He’s able to alter the game on the defensive end and is an incredible athlete.”

Even with the late push from Georgetown, many still believe it’s either SU or UK which have the advantage. Coach Cal has the ring and SU has Michael Carter-Williams. N2’s friendship with MCW is under appreciated, since the Orange guard has been pushing hard the big man to come to the Hill. Syracuse fans could rationalize losing Noel to UK. The Wildcats are a one-and-done factory, and are freshly minted national champions. Losing him to arch-rival Georgetown though, is an altogether different dynamic. Noel would be an in-conference enemy next season for SU’s final run in the Big East. As painful as it is, don’t overlook the hated Hoyas from the mix just yet.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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