Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Young Man Called Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel becoming household-name

Nerlens Noel Aims for Encore in Orlando
- After a masterful performance at Peach Jam, where he led BABC to the Championship and took home the Most Outstanding Award, Everett’s Nerlens Noel of The Tilton School is ready to go back to work tomorrow in Orlando as the 17u Super Showcase gets under way.  At Peach Jam, Noel chalked up one ridiculous stat-line after another, recording two triple-doubles and averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 blocks in seven BABC wins.  Most remarkable about his string of eye-popping stat-lines was the fact that Nerlens put them up against one All-American frontcourt player after another.  Among the players he faced were Jerami Grant and BeeJay Anya from Team Takeover, Adam Woodbury and Willie Cauley of All-Iowa Attack, Jabari Parker from Mac Irvin, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins from CIA Bounce, Brandon Ashley, Robert Upshaw and Aaron Gordon of the Oakland Soldiers, Shaq Goodwin and Jarnell Stokes of Memphis YOMCA. 

Noel’s consistency against top-flight competition illustrates his ferocity as a competitor.  He plays to dominate.  He is a 17 year old kid with a rare combination of a 7-foot wingspan, great instincts, high-intelligence, world-class speed and athleticism, and top-notch coordination.  How is it that a young man with these God-Given gifts is also the most ferocious of competitors?  Where does that come from?  We asked Nerlens.

“I believe having two older brothers in Jim and Rodman are big reasons why I am who I am today.  I grew up always wanting to compete with them and they always pushed me to compete in every part of life.” – NerlensNoel

Nerlens also attributed growing up in one of New England’s proudest sports towns for helping him to grow into his present-self.

“Growing up in Everett where the sports are the pride of the city and knowing you got everyone behind just brings my competitive fire to another level.” – Nelens Noel

Throughout the Spring and Summer, I have compared Noel to a young Marcus Camby, instinctively protecting the basket like a hawk protects it’s nest when the eggs are about to hatch.  But recently, Noel has shown some serious flashes of handling the basketball and attacking the basket more like a small-forward than a traditional big.  He’s looked a like a young Kevin Garnett out there handling the rock in the open floor, something which was never really a part of Camby’s game.  "So Nerlens, what about the tag of a “KG/Camby” hybrid-type game?  Are you going to be a guy who can bust out and lead the break…and attack the basket with the dribble in addition to everything else you do there out there on the court?" HR

“Yeah, I idolize KG with his presence on the court and being able to do the things he does as a player, especially in his younger days…I’ll be working even harder to establish those skills to bring my game to another level by being more versatile offensively.”  – Nerlens Noel

In wrapping up the quick-dialogue with Nerlens, you know the Spaceship had to ask him about music and what role it played in preparing him to compete between the lines. 

“My favorite rapper’s MOUFY from Boston.  I’m always listening to his music before every game.  His variety of music always gets me in the right state of mind.”  - Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel is a true virtuoso who everyone in New England should make a point to go and see perform his craft.  Whether you like basketball or not, Noel’s competitive fire, his radiance and his humble nature are something to behold.

Photo Credit - Andrew Shurtleff

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