It sounded like a conquering hero had landed inside the Carrier Dome, but it was just the Quasi-Flat Top Prince. The (recently re-classified) top basketball prospect in the class of ’12, Nerlens Noel, was met by a huge ovation when he strolled courtside to his seats yesterday afternoon for Syracuse’s spanking of UConn.
The Tilton (NH) High star was making his official visit to the Hill this weekend, along with teammate Goodluck Okonoboh (center/class of ’13), who also has Syracuse on his list. The Fizz caught up with Nerlens, who said the visit couldn’t have been going any better.
“The trip has been great so far. I’m enjoying my time down here. The atmosphere and the campus are great. There is a good variety of majors, they have a great communications program here, and I like the campus a lot.”
The 6’10” 215 lb. power forward looked like he was having a blast inside the Dome, chatting with fans, signing autographs, and taking pictures with hopefuls that wish to see him in Orange next season. Nice that he also got to watch SU roll over the defending national champs.
“This is a great game, and they have a great atmosphere here. There are a lot of people [inside the Dome] and it just gets crazy.”
UConn, Kentucky, Georgetown, Florida and Providence, have also offered the big man. He came up for the right game. Noel is a tremendous shot-blocker, and has a great reach on the defensive side of the ball. If Fab Melo stays another season, SU fans would be drooling over one of its deepest front courts ever.
Melo, incoming DeJuan Coleman and Noel? Not to mention Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita. Jim Boeheim could go really, really big with a “Transformers Lineup.” All five guys on the court would be over 6’8″ (C.J. Fair and James Southerland are also listed at 6’8″). The scene would look like Optimus Prime and co. descending upon a hapless city. It would be the most dangerous lane in college basketball to try and venture into. Nerlens was excited about the possibility as well.
“That would be a crazy frontcourt to play in. It would be a real good, deep team if I were to come here.”
DC 2.0 also showed up to the beatdown of the Huskies yesterday and sat right next to Noel the entire time. Hopefully Coleman did his part and gave N2 the hard sell. It’s reassuring that Nerlens picked Syracuse as his first official stop, but the process of landing him is just beginning. Boeheim is battling the likes of John Calipari, John Thompson III and Billy Donovan in landing the Maine native.
Noel spent time with his good friend and former AAU teammate Michael Carter-Williams after the game, just like he did after Midnight Madness in October. He is eager to bring his freakish athleticism onto the same floor with his buddy MCW. It shouldn’t be a debate of how limited Nerlens’ minutes might be in a stacked frontcourt, but how much they could accomplish together. Syracuse fans did their job in giving the “Fresh Prince” a warm welcome into its community this weekend. Now we’ll see if he wants to join what would become the nastiest paint in the nation.
Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald