Noel enjoyed Louisville visit

Nerlens Noel, the nation's top-ranked 2013 center prospect, made a recent unofficial visit to Louisville and talked about the trip with InsideTheVille.com.

Nerlens Noel, the nation's top-ranked 2013 center, made an unofficial visit to Louisville last week.

A five-star, 6-foot-10, 215-pound center, Noel, Scout.com's No. 3 overall prospect, saw the Cardinals play Georgetown last Wednesday and received an up close look at Rick Pitino's program.

"It was good. I enjoyed it a lot," Noel said. "The fans were great. I just enjoyed my time there. The coaching staff was welcoming and the players were good. I got to see them practice and they looked like a family. That was a good impression."

The highlight of Noel's visit was watching Louisville take on Georgetown at the KFC Yum! Center.

"It was crazy seeing all the fans there going crazy," said Noel. "It's a good feeling knowing they've got the whole city and area behind them."

Though Noel doesn't discuss favorite colleges, he did admit strong interest in Louisville.

"I know Louisville has a good history," Noel said. "Coach (Richard) Pitino I had a good relationship with him when he was at Florida. When he went to Louisville I knew that was a school I had to check out. They've got a good program and I felt that I needed to visit there."

After watching Louisville play Georgetown and checking out the Cardinals practice, Noel believes Pitino's system could prepare him for the NBA.

"They get the ball into the post a good amount of times and the players are unselfish," Noel said. "Coach Pitino lets them play and he isn't really too tight about the offense. He lets the players showcase their abilities."

Noel said he enjoyed discussing life, basketball and recruiting with Pitino on his unofficial visit.

"It was a great conversation," Noel said. "Not only about recruiting but about life. He talked to me about the future and life. It was a real good conversation."

Noel, widely regarded as the nation's top shot blocker in the prep ranks, enjoyed hanging out with Louisville's players during his visit.

"I know Angel Nunez," said Noel. "They were very welcoming when I got there. You could see they were all like brothers. I felt at home when I was with them."

Noel will have no shortage of college options. UConn, Georgetown, Syracuse, Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke are all in pursuit. Louisville is also in the mix.

"Louisville is definitely in there, but I don't really have a list of schools yet," Noel said. "I'm looking for a good coach – honest, who develops his players so they can be prepared for the next level. Just a good program with tradition that has the fan support."

Noel's coach, Marcus O'Neil, said Louisville could ultimately be a good fit for the talented frontcourt star.

"Right now he's a junior and there's a long time between now and when he goes to college," O'Neil said. "I don't really know who is a realistic contender. Based on the caliber of coaching at Louisville, the well-established program and the fanatical basketball you get in that part of the country the school fits the kind of place Nerlens Noel could end up at."

Noel, who leads Tilton (NH), the nation's No. 2 ranked team, averages 12 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks. He posted 9 points, 17 rebounds and blocked six shots against Friends Central (PA) last week in the semifinals of the City of Palms Classic in Florida.

"He's not a traditional back to the basket player, but he has great court vision and he's comfortable hook shoting over both shoulders," O'Neil said. "He can finish plays. His defensive prowess is well known, he's a pretty fair offensive player. He doesn't hurt you on offense."


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