My Favorite Nerlens Noel game
With his UK career likely behind him now, I think we should look back at the player that Nerlens was while he was here.
He was immediately a fan favorite from the moment he committed to UK back in April, on that ESPN broadcast right next to Shabazz Mohammad. Most were worried that he would choose Georgetown, but all was cast aside when he spun around in his chair to see the UK emblem shaved in to his flat-top.
From that point on, he was everyone’s favorite player. From his work in the community, to his play on the floor, no fan base loved a player more than UK fans came to love Nerlens Noel.
His best game as a Cat may have been a game that he scored the least amount of points in, as well.
Against Ole Miss, Nerlens broke the single game record for most blocks in a game with 11 blocks, despite only scoring 2 points. In the last few minutes, Nerlens played with 4 fouls but never took his foot off the accelerator. Almost half of his blocks came in the final 5 minutes, as the game had gotten tight and Ole Miss started attacking the basket at every opportunity.
The defining play of the season up until that point had been when an Ole Miss player had thrown a bounce pass to an open Murphy Holloway, he got locked and loaded to slam one in on anybody that got in his way. Unfortunately for him, the force that met him a the rim was Nerlens Noel, who cleanly blocked the shot and ended any hope that Ole Miss had of trying to tie the game.
It was at that moment that people began to realize just how special of a talent that Nerlens truly is, and began to appreciate just what he brings to the team. Heart, energy, and toughness that goes beyond his slender frame.
Now his season’s over, and possibly his career at UK. No matter what happens though, I’m going to be thankful that he chose to play here at UK, and I’m going to be rooting for him his entire career. He wore the UK jersey with pride, and it showed in the way he played.
He’s a Kentucky Wildcat through and through.
Go Big Blue, and good luck Nerlens!
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