Noel breaks down his situation

A day after releasing the big news, Nerlens Noel broke down his move back to the 2012 class, as well as discussed his recruitment and the seven schools involved.

Nerlens Noel shook up the basketball recruiting world late Wednesday when news broke that the near 7-foot center out of Tilton (N.H.) School was going to reclassify back to the 2012 recruiting class.

Noel, an original member of 2012, told Scout.com that he felt like he had a better opportunity to get better if he opted to play for a college program sooner than later.

"I just made the decision to go to the 2012 class," Noel said. "I just felt l that I was ready to play in college next year and I thought that I had done everything I needed to at the high school level.

"Academically I had all my credits and another year wouldn't really be a good thing for me," he added. "I think going to college would develop me as a player a lot more."

In the midst of a terrific season, Noel has dominated the competition. In a recent nationally televised match up with highly regarded big man Mitch McGary, Noel proved himself as the best defensive player in the country, but also showed an improving offensive game.

Noel's recent play made the decision easier for him.

"It helped me with confidence," he said. "It just put me over the top with the decision knowing that I can compete and just go to college and play at a high level at the next level."

With the move to the senior class, Noel instantly becomes one of the most hotly pursued prospects. He said he's currently looking at seven schools -- Syracuse, Connecticut, Kentucky, Providence, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina.

"It's not really a list," Noel told Scout.com. "I think I'm going to try and make it shorter than that. The visits I'm going to be taking are Georgetown, North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida for the official visits."

Noel will also take an unofficial visit to Syracuse the weekend of February 12th. It is the only date that has been determined so far.

Syracuse has been involved in Noel's recruitment for quite sometime. Despite having depth in the post, Noel says the Orangemen have a legitimate shot at him.

One of Noel's best friends – Michael Carter-Williams – is currently a freshman at Syracuse. He said that plays a factor in his decision.

"It does," he said when asked about Carter-Williams. "I remember playing with him on the circuit a couple of summers ago. I like playing with him a lot."

Connecticut is another school where Noel has familiarity with the players.

"I know Alex Oriakhi and I played with Shabazz [Napier] a couple of summers ago," Noel said. "Shabazz is a great player and I know Alex Oriakhi real well."

North Carolina has been somewhat involved in Noel's recruitment over the past year, but he said recently they've amped up their attention.

"They are kind of new to the recruitment," he said. "My coach told me they've recruited me for a while, but I just started talking to them recently."


Noel discusses his seven schools
"Coach Roy Williams called me," Noel added. "He left a voicemail and I didn't get back to him. He told me they have a lot of interest and I'm definitely going to be looking into making it up there."

Noel, who hasn't been to UNC before, said Carolina offered him a scholarship through his high school coach.

"They have great history and are a very upfront program," Noel said when asked about the Tar Heels. "Everything is just straight forward. They just win games. They get good players and everything they do is good."

Noel was considering taking his first official visit to Carolina next weekend, but the Syracuse trip was already set in stone.

"I was supposed to take one next weekend, but I already had Syracuse lined up for that weekend, but I'm definitely going to schedule one as soon as possible," Noel said about UNC.

Kentucky, who currently has a pair of five-stars committed for the 2012 class, called Noel last night once the news broke.

"They said they were definitely trying to get me on campus for an official visit and they said they are going to try and get up to one of my games in the next week or so," Noel said.

John Calipari's style of play and the school's fan base are among the things that stand out to the five-star prospect.

"I just like their system and how they operate," he said. "They let players do their thing and go out there and play. It's just a great program and they have a good fan base down there and everybody loves basketball."

Georgetown, who Noel is also planning to take an official visit too, had John Thompson at one of his games last week.

"Their interest is high too," Noel told Scout.com. "Coach Thompson was up here last week for one of my games. Georgetown is a real good school basketball wise and academically.

"They just have a great history with their big men and the Princeton offense and where their big men are always involved," he added.

Florida's Billy Donovan and assistant Matt McCall have made Noel a priority and the big man recognized that. He's also familiar with current freshman star Brad Beal.

"I like a lot of things about them," Noel said about the Gators. "They have a great program. I have a great relationship with Coach Donovan and Coach McCall. They said they are real high on me."

"I know Brad Beal pretty good too," he added. "He's a great player and I played against him on the circuit and he's not a bad player to play with. I like him."

Noel is also considering Providence, which in this case would be classified as the local school. Ed Cooley's style and approach to the recruiting process has been refreshing for Noel.

"I like Providence," he said. "They just have a plan. Every time I speak with Coach Cooley, he's just one of the more influential coaches I've spoken to. With everything he says, you can tell he's genuine and he just wants to win games, especially with Ricky Ledo.

Noel and Ledo, a Top 15 2012 signee, have had a relationship for quite some time and the five-star guard has already begun pitching Noel to join him at Providence.

"I know Rick Ledo really well too. I played with him in the summer. He's been recruiting me himself and just trying to get me to Providence. [Ed Cooley] just has a big idea and plan to win games and they are trying to get as many players as they can."

Noel said proximity to home won't factor into his decision making. He did, however, say that he wants to find a school that fits his style and will help him improve as a player.

"Just going into a program where I know I can feel at home and feel good about making the right decision and somewhere I can adapt to how they play," Noel said. "I'm looking for an up and down style of play and I want to be comfortable wherever I go."

At this stage, Noel doesn't claim a favorite school and hasn't set an exact timetable for making his college choice.

"They've all come at me pretty hard, especially the schools that are on my list right now," Noel said. Those seven schools on that list have come at me real hard."

"I'm trying to get it done within the next couple months," he added. "I'm trying to get in as many visits I can."


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