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UK Freshman Noel Cleared To Play By NCAA

The NCAA explored everything from Nerlens Noel’s circle of advisors to his ability to pay for unofficial visits.  In the end, they found nothing on the big freshman who’s expected to replace Anthony Davis on this year’s Kentucky basketball team.

Wildcat coach John Calipari told ESPN’s “SportsCenter” audience: “He’s been cleared to practice and cleard to play games.  Everything’s good to go.”

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Additional Headlines – 8/27/12

Just a few more quickie nuggets to throw at you…


1.  Stewart Mandel of foresees an LSU-Oregon BCS Championship Game (with nine other SEC squads going bowling).

2.  The NCAA’s examination into the history of Kentucky hoops signee Nerlens Noel rolls on.

3.  Love this one — The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy says the NCAA should ban unofficial visits in an effort to clean up recruiting.

4.  The NCAA is currently considering legislation that would allow football and basketball programs to create general manager-like positions to aid in recruiting.

5.  New LSU hoops coach Johnny Jones says Charles Carmouche will now transfer to LSU after beginning his career at New Orleans and then transferring to Memphis.

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Five SEC Squads Make Vitale’s 2012-13 Top 40

Ready for a pre-preseason poll?  Dick Vitale is.  ESPN’s longtime basketball analyst released his Top 40 basketball teams for next season yesterday afternoon.  Five Southeastern Conference teams make an appearance:


2.  Kentucky:  ”John Calipari simply reloads as Big Blue Nation welcomes Nerlens Noel and the top class in America.”  (Cat fans probably won’t like the fact that Vitale has UK #2 behind Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals.)

19.  Florida:  ”The Gators would be higher if Bradley Beal returned to school.”

24.  Missouri:  ”Frank Haith has a ton of talented transfers coming in. The addition of Alex Oriakhi is a big plus.”

28.  Alabama:  ”Last season’s issues will turn into a surprising plus. A number of youngsters got better with more playing time.”

33.  Tennessee:  ”The Vols really bought into Cuonzo Martin’s system and it paid off late last season.”

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Calipari Says Noel Is “Not A Finished Product”

Nerlens Noel is being viewed by many as the man who’ll step in at Kentucky and pick up right where Anthony Davis left off.  They forget, of course, that Billy Donovan called Davis one of the game’s “all-time” greats.  Those are big shoes to fill… even for Noel.

Commenting on his new signee, John Calipari compared Noel to Davis and another of this previous greats.  But he also points out the youngster has some work to do:


“I’ve been blessed three times in my career to have a player that can change the game without really scoring with Marcus Camby, Anthony Davis and now Nerlens Noel.  I will tell you that Nerlens, just like Anthony, is not a finished product. He’s got a lot of work to do, and we have a lot of work to do to get him to where I think he’s capable of being, but he is a special player who I am ecstatic to have an opportunity to work with.”


Wildcat fans would be wise to temper their expectations for Noel.  He may be a tremendous player.  But guys like Davis don’t come along too often.

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Anthony Bennett Removes Washington From List

Florida and Kentucky have one less school to worry about in the recruitment of forward Anthony Bennett from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.

“He’s definitely taken Washington off the list,” Mike George of CIA Bounce told Thursday. “He’s down to four.”

Those four are Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and UNLV.

Evan Daniels of FoxSports/ predicted last week that Bennett’s recruitment would come down to a Florida-Kentucky battle.

Both schools could use Bennett, who’s regarded by many to be the top remaining undecided basketball prospect in the country. ESPNU and Rivals both consider him to be the seventh-best prospect in the nation.

Recent Kentucky signee Nerlens Noel stated he believes Kentucky has a better than 50 percent chance to land Bennett. Others consider Florida to be the leader.

And then there’s UNLV. The Rebels haven’t competed recently at the level of Kentucky or Florida, but UNLV will make a push to keep Bennett from leaving the state. One thing is for sure – all four schools will work hard for Bennett’s signature until he makes a final decision.

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Muhammad, Noel To Announce On ESPNU

Forward Shabazz Muhammad and center Nerlens Noel will announce their college decisions live on the ESPNU Signing Day Special on Wednesday night.

Noel is ranked No. 1 in the ESPNU 100 for 2012. He’s considering Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse. Muhammad, who’s considered the nation’s second-best prospect by ESPNU, will choose among Kentucky, Duke and UCLA.

Undecided SEC prospects Anthony Bennett and Tony Parker will make appearances on the show, according to a release from ESPN. The show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 eastern time.

Parker’s coach at Miller Grove High School in Atlanta said Monday that Parker is unlikely to sign with a school on Wednesday. Georgia is the only SEC school on Parker’s list, which also includes Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Ohio State and UCLA.

“I don’t think he’s just quite ready (to choose a school),” coach Sharman White. “He’s trying to figure out the last intricate parts of this decision … so he can make the best choice.”

Bennett, whose list of schools includes Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, UNLV and Washington, is expected to wait until May to make his choice.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 4/9/12

1. Several recruits gave their opinion on Bobby Petrino’s current situation at Arkansas.

2. Running back Alvin Kamara used part of his spring break to see Alabama’s campus.

3. Missouri’s 2014 class has started in a big way.

4. South Carolina has shown interest in quarterback Josh Dobbs, who’s hoping for an offer.

5. Wide receiver Carlos Burse enjoyed his visit to Florida during the weekend.

6. Highly-touted linebacker Tim Kimbrough Jr. received an offer from Oklahoma on Monday.

7. John Calipari is preparing to reload Kentucky’s roster through recruiting.

8. Most basketball prospects believe Nerlens Noel will choose Kentucky.

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Oriakhi Free To Play Immediately… Somewhere

Yesterday the NCAA nixed UConn’s appeal of a 2012-13 postseason ban and that opens the door for transferring forward/center Alex Oriakhi to play somewhere immediately.  If that somewhere is in the SEC, he’ll also have to get a waiver from the league because he has just one year of eligibility remaining… but that looks to be a forgone conclusion.

The folks in Missouri — one of Oriakhi’s final four choices — believe he “could flourish” playing alongside point guard Phil Pressey who was his teammate in AAU ball back in Massachusetts.

But Oriakhi told that he’s already spoken to top high school prospect Nerlens Noel about teaming up at Kentucky, another of his final four choices (along with Duke and North Carolina).  It was reported that the big man was scheduled to meet with John Calipari yesterday.

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Kentucky Signees Shine In All-American Game

Kentucky basketball signees Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress both looked impressive in Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago.

Poythress scored 19 points for the East team, which beat the West squad 106-102, while Goodwin added 14 points. The game’s MVP award went to forward Shabazz Muhammad, who’s undecided but still considering Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UCLA and UNLV.

“It is going to be a blessing to play with Alex and hopefully Shabazz in the future,” Goodwin told “Like I said in my (earlier) interviews, it will be another repeat of what they are going to do this year.”

Kentucky’s recruiting for the 2012 class is far from over. Along with Muhammad, the Wildcats are recruiting McDonald’s All-Americans Anthony Bennett and Devonta Pollard as well as center Nerlens Noel, who is considered to be one of the nation’s top prospects.

“There’s a lot of recruiting going on still,” Goodwin said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The big one (Muhammad)? We’re waiting on one more and I don’t have to even say his name. That’s the one everybody else is waiting on. Hopefully he picks the Big Blue.”

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Nerlens Noel Hosts Three Schools

Center prospect Nerlens Noel hosted coaches from Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse in his home this week.


Noel could be close to making a decision. He eliminated North Carolina from his list on Monday.

Kentucky is hoping to land Noel to replace freshman center Anthony Davis, who’s expected to declare for the NBA draft after the season. But Noel doesn’t want to think that way as he makes his decision.

“I don’t like to think like I’m replacing somebody,” Noel told “I want to go in there and play my own game. I don’t want to replace him and I know we’re similar but I want to go in there and do my own thing.

“Kentucky, when I was there they showed me how good of a job they do with their players and that maybe in 1-2 years in college I could be a professional.”

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