Freshman center Nerlens Noel announced Monday morning that he has elected to forgo his sophomore season at UK and enter this summer’s 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 UK Athletics release. “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!”
Noel led the nation with 4.4 blocks per game in 24 games this season before tearing his ACL, amounting 106 for the season. Noel’s 106 blocks are the second most in a single season in program history, second only to the 188 recorded by Anthony Davis just one season ago. Noel also recorded 50 steals as a freshman, the fifth-most by a freshman in program history. Noel was the only player among the nation’s top 30 in steals per game who was taller than 6-foot-5.
For the season, Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He ranked in the top-10 in the SEC in blocks, steals, rebounds, offensive rebounds and minutes per game.
“”I support Nerlens’ decision to enter his name in the draft and am excited for him and his future,” Calipari said in a UK Athletics release. “The hard work and will to win he showed on the floor this year and the dedication and attitude he has shown in his rehab will only be a reward for him and whatever team drafts him in June.”