BE360 Roundtable – Why Nerlens Noel should and shouldn’t go to Syracuse
The biggest debate in college basketball will come to an end tonight when Nerlens Noel decides where he will attend college. He will decide between Syracuse, Georgetown and Kentucky during a selection day special on ESPNU at 7:30.
Many experts believe that the race for Noel is Kentucky’s to lose, but I believe that he would be making a mistake by picking the Wildcats over either alternative, but I believe that the best move for him would be to head north and go to Syracuse.
Predicting which way any young recruit will go is usually futile, so instead I will present the case for Syracuse and why the No. 1 recruit in the country should play for Jim Boeheim for the next one-to-four years.
- Boeheim is a Hall of Fame coach and opportunities like that do not come around often. He has a history of developing big men into impact players and he could use his expertise to raise Noel’s game.
- Syracuse’s system lends itself perfectly to Noel’s game, both offensively and defensively. From an offensive standpoint, the Orange love to run and Noel is one of best athletes you will find at the power forward/center position. He will run the floor for transition baskets and will be an asset in the half court as that part of his game develops. Defensively, he is a dream. Which brings me to my next point…
- …The 2-3 zone. Noel will be an absolute vulture in the middle of that zone, blocking anything and everything that comes through the lane. His impressive wing span will also gobble up rebounds and block passing lanes. He will redefine the term “stat sheet stuffer” by racking up points, rebounds, blocks and steals.
- Michael Carter-Williams has been one of Noel’s closest friends since the two played AAU with BABC. With Carter-Williams likely taking over the point guard responsibilities next season, he and Noel would bring that same chemistry that made them so good on the summer circuit.
- The shadow of Anthony Davis would not follow him all the way to Syracuse. Should Noel decide to go to Kentucky, every move he makes would be compared to what Davis did in 2012. Anything short of a Naismith Award, National Freshman of the Year, All-American and a national championship would be considered a failure. As competitive as Noel is, he won’t want to compete with Davis’s accomplishments.
Although, with any decision there are cons.
- The Syracuse program has been in a precarious position with the Bernie Fine case. Nobody can really be sure where this will end and although it likely won’t effect the program it would be one less thing to worry about.
- Boeheim’s regular season success has rarely translated to success in the NCAA Tournament. Not that John Calipari’s track record is any better, but the sample size is not quite as big.
- The competitive nature of the Big East could take a physical toll on Noel’s body, which is still relatively undersized and while he has been durable in high school, the Big East is a different beast.
Ultimately, it won’t matter what program Noel chooses. He will be an impact player right away and will be a top pick in whatever NBA Draft he decides to enter. I for one cannot wait to watch him grow as a player, I just hope that he does so under our eyes here at Big East 360.