Noel to enter draft

Freshman center Nerlens Noel has decided to forego his sophomore season at Kentucky and enter his name in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Freshman center Nerlens Noel has decided to forego his sophomore season at Kentucky and enter his name in the 2013 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 statement released by UK media relations. "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!"

The decision to turn pro was nearly inevitable for Noel, who, despite his season-ending knee injury in February, is still projected by many as the No. 1 pick in the June 27 draft.

Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. Also, his 4.4 blocked shots per game led the nation this season. The defensive specialist came up with a total of 106 blocks this season, which ranked second all-time in UK single-season history behind just his predecessor, Anthony Davis.

"I support Nerlens' decision to enter his name in the draft and am excited for him and his future," Calipari said. "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."

Noel will discover his probable destination his on Tuesday, May 21, when the NBA Draft lottery takes place.


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