Well this one won’t surprise many folks. Kentucky star and freshman All-American Nerlens Noel is leaving UK and entering the NBA draft:
“I have loved my time at Kentucky, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA. 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 was having the kind of season that would have won him SEC Player of the Year honors before tearing his ACL in a February contest at Florida. Despite the injury he is expected to go in the first few picks in this summer’s NBA draft, likely first overall. If he does go first, he’ll be the third Wildcat to go #1 in the four years since Calipari took over in Lexington.
As for the “I’ll always be a Wildcat!” line, Noel arrived on UK’s campus in mid-August. Eight months later he’s decided to depart. Welcome to life in a one-and-done universe.