Tag Archives: Nerlens Noel

Duke Basketball Team & Recruiting Update – A Crystal Clear Picture

The Dynamic duo of Matthew Jones and Julius Randle srike a pose for BDN - BDN Photo Do you want an accurate take on Duke Basketball Recruiting? Well, join BDN Premium and we'll give you a crystal clear picture.

BDN’s Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Updates have set the standard among the sites and sure enough, this concept is now being copied.  We’ll take that as a compliment but when push comes to shove, it is all about the content and we’ll stack ours against anybody.  Here at BDN, our staff is in the trenches at AAU events.  That means our members are getting live streams of information as it happens, making our site well ahead of the curve.

We can lay claim to the fact that we cover more major recruiting events in person than any other site and that has been a running thing for several years now.  We don’t send “stringers,” with limited knowledge of the subject matter to do our work, nor do we sit back and depend on national network guys to do our job for us.  Seriously, do you not want first hand observations from an accomplished staff that has seen the prospects play multiple times?  No knocks here on the National guys in that many are our friends, but their sole focus is certainly not on Duke prospects nor is it a priority to cover them.  There are no smoke and mirrors tactics at BDN folks, nope, we are straightforward and honest when it comes to our coverage and we take pride in that.

If you have yet to try BDN Premium, you don’t know what you’re  missing of late and with some exciting changes on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to check us out.  Our staff is hard working, dedicated and hands on in everything we do.  In our current update we lay out a clear picture of the staff’s efforts.  And before we get on with our update where lots is happening, take a look at how much content we’ve pumped out recently which includes: Two interviews with both Tony Parker and Matt Jones to go with individual interviews with Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Alex Poythress, Perry Ellis, Jahill Okafor, Rasheed Sulaimon and much, much more.  Just today, recruiting analyst Andrew Slater goes in depth with Mitch McGary and we have content laying in wait this week. And our interviews have meat to them in that we don’t lure you in with a premium article featuring a couple of quotes via texting.  Anyhow, let’s move on to another informative and detailed (2521 word) update on the Duke Basketball recruiting scene where we paint a crystal clear picture for our members.  Trust me in that you will absolutely love our update, so if you want to find out where the coaches will be going, who is really on the radar and such, we have the answers for you.  And if you are not satisfied, we’ll refund you within the first 24 hours of joining.

The picture is now crystal clear with concern to 2012 and beyond.  Duke will stick with Tony Parker until his decision is made.  Coach Krzyzewski sat front and center for many of Parker’s games and the big man [private] knew it, cutting his eyes towards the man while playing.  Parker has been a bit up and down with his comments of late but my belief is that Duke is in better shape than anyone else for Tony.  His parents love Duke and if they had their way, this one would be over from what I’ve heard from legitimate sources.  The Parkers sat directly behind the bench this weekend and they certainly saw the Blue Devils’ keen interest.  Duke has been faithful to Tony and his verbal could set other things in motion.  Coach K loves his hands and footwork and wants him to anchor the paint in Durham.  The Blue Devils have made Tony priority 1 on their 2012 wish list.

And if Parker is priority 1-A, then Mitch McGary is 1-B, or you can reverse the order if you’d like.  Duke will go hard after McGary and they feel they have a great chance at the tenacious big.  Sources are now saying McGary may pull the trigger before his high school season and if that is indeed the case, look for a whirlwind of activity in the coming months.  It is safe to say McGary will be visiting Duke and the Blue Devils will be in home with him when the time comes, but that will not happen until the team returns from their venture to China and Dubai.

The Blue Devils were most impressed with Matt Jones and he gained an offer after his play this past weekend.  Of course, as members, you all saw this one coming.  Jones glowed beyond belief when talking of Duke and you will see those videos this week.  We spoke to Jones the other night but kept it short.  He told BDN that he was on cloud nine after Coach K called and that he could certainly see himself there.  He was very excited that Duke moved in and it is fair to say that they went to the top of his list.  Jones has shown steady improvement in his game and he can slash through the lanes and has an outstanding outside shot.  He is a good on-ball defender as well and he sent a game to overtime with a defensive stop in front of Krzyzewski as time ran out.  The only knock I witnessed is that he at times has trouble shaking free for his shot.  He is a great character kid as well and BDN got his AAU coach’s thoughts on that, which is another feature you can look forward to.

His teammate, the hulking Julius Randle, also has an offer and Duke feels they are in good shape there as well.  Jeff Capel has certainly been a help in this one and the thought of a package deal with Jones is most appealing.  But make no mistake about it, Duke loves Matthew Jones as a stand alone player.  Randle was called the best player in the nation on the night he dominated the Memphis front court by someone close to the situation that watched him play.  That was a bit cryptic but easy enough for you to figure out on your own.  Randle was like a bull in a China shop and it is clear that he will not back down from anyone.  I caught several of his games and was most impressed by his enormous upside.  He is a true power player that may or may not fit should Duke get Tony Parker.

The Bull - BDN Photo

And then there is another 2013 product named Jabari Parker.  What a humble superstar he is and you’ll see this on coming videos as well.  Parker likes Duke a lot … a whole lot and the Duke coaches like him a lot, a whole helluva lot.  They are in great early shape with Parker and this one might end in the spring of next year at the latest.  Parker will make an unofficial visit to Durham in due time and we’ll have more on that as it develops.  While UNC and others are on him, Duke has been from the start and that will IMO pay dividends down the road.  Parker is smooth and versatile and at times cannot be stopped.  He is part of the spectacular trio joining Randle and Noel as the best of the best in 2013.

One thing many seemingly fail to see is that Duke has a great jump on 2013 for a reason.  The Duke staff will be tied up with Team USA duties next summer limiting their time on the recruiting trail.  That especially holds true for Krzyzewski and that is why he was so hands-on this past week with the class.  The three aforementioned 2013 players are clearly at the top of the wish list but more names are in the works, specifically Nerlens Noel.  This defensive demon we coined the “Sultan of Swat,” is a most interesting talent and game changer.  Then there is the “Nerlens Noel effect,” which causes players to alter shots for Noel is an absolute terror when it comes to blocking shots.  By the  end of the EYBL he was in every prospect’s head and it doesn’t matter who he is guarding.  In short, he inflicts pain on guys the same age, younger and/or older.  When I joked with Noel about the fact he didn’t send out invitations to his “Block Party,” he loved it.  Form that point on, Noel really opened up to me.  Make no mistake, everybody is on Noel, so Duke will have their hands full as will every other team that vies for his services.  I love me some Nerlens and so does Grant Hill, for he is making his fade rise on the cover of the 1991 Sports Illustrated stylish again;) A side note is that Grant Hill will go along on the China trip and he will be helping to teach the “Duke culture” to newcomers.

Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones, LJ Rose and Rodeny Purvis strike a pose for BDN

Some have attempted to hang me out to dry with a comment on Rodney Purvis which was misquoted, but that is something I am used to from another Duke site.  This time they made sure my name was in the head of a post.  I never intended certain things to go public but when users break the agreement upon signing up all I can do is boot them.  Purvis flat out wants to come in and play right away but Duke has a bevy of wings on the roster and in the works.  Purvis wanted to hang with Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones and LJ Rose this weekend and he is seemingly upset at, well, everything that is said these days.  The mere fact that Duke did not watch him is telling and I can tell you without revealing sources close to the situation that Purvis is no longer an option.  Of course, we were the first to say that in a private forum and now all but one site is on the bandwagon.  I think the offer to Jones may have made him see the light and/or the writing on the wall.  Purvis is a good kid, but his emotion concerns me as does his behavior when he is not on the court.  Would Duke take him if he called and wanted to come?   Make no mistake, Purvis has talent and he is a good kid, so I am in no way beating him down, but he is no Austin Rivers or Kyrie Irving.

We have to watch how we mention prospects around here and even where we’ll be going on the recruiting trail in that it tips off others.  Just this week nobody was on Nerlens Noel until we were seen talking to him.  Yes, people pay close attention to everything we do at events.  It frustrates us at times but what can you do?  All I can say is pay close attention to when information is printed and as a member sit back and know that you were aware of it beforehand.  Noel is sure to pick up an offer soon.

Rasheed Sulaimon played very well at the EYBL finals as well although he saved his worst game for last and a lackluster offensive performance cost him the scoring title.  Still, he finished second and he has improved immensely since a season ago;  he’s like a water bug running all over the place and locks down well on his defensive assignment.  His handle is improving as well and his offense is top shelf.  The Duke staff knew exactly what they were doing in getting this kid aboard early, a testament to Krzyzewski’s eye.  That too should excite one more with concern to Jones.

Wojo was in Wisconsin this week and Krzyzewski was as well before returning to Augusta.  Chris Collins was at home this go round but he returns in the coming week.  The addition of Jeff Capel has been a winner and this staff is, well, pretty darn good.

One kid that caught our eye during the EYBL opening session was  Tyus Jones, a 2014 PG from Minnesota who plays for the older Howard Pulley team.  Once we interviewed him, it was obvious to others he had caught the Blue Devils’ eyes.  Again, our every move is watched by others at events.  We actually interviewed Jones while at Boo, so he didn’t slip up on me at all.  In fact, he stood out and I was amazed to learn he was 2014 for his play was smooth as silk and so far ahead of those in his class.  We have a nice interview coming your way with Jones as well.  I can tell you that he has great character, confidence and his recruitment will go on for a very long time.  Still, both Andrew and myself take pride in giving you background on players Duke likes before it really gets out there.  In short, we anticipate while at the many events, as Andrew did with Jahill Okafor.  What you may not realize is how rare a good interview with Oakfor is, so pay attention to our offerings.

Duke is still keeping an eye on Alex Poythress and Perry Ellis as well.  Neither of them have an offer and both play pretty much the same position.  Duke would likely turn here if they got one of Mitch McGary and Tony Parker but the real need is bangers and not wings.  Still, keep a close eye on these guys as the recruiting evaluation period opens back up.

Just in are the players Duke will watch in Orlando for the AAU National Showcase which runs from the 23rd to the 27th.  Mitch McGary will start there and once it is over go to Kansas City.  Teammates Julius Randle and Matt Jones will be there as well along with Nerlens Noel and Theo PinsonRasheed Sulaimon will play in the AAU Nationals in Orlando which takes place after the loaded Showcase.  And Tony Parker and Alex Poythress will play in both events.  I am trying to swing this event but right now it isn’t looking good.

I am trying to rework my schedule to go to Orlando but a cash crunch may prevent that from happening.  However, Andrew is set to go to Las Vegas and you know his coverage will be top shelf.  In closing our latest update I would like to thank all of you for supporting us through membership.  We would like to give back, so here is an opportunity for you.  If you refer new members to BDN Premium, we’ll give you 15% of their membership provided you e-mail or PM us before they join.  If you have a friend join for a year, that means you get 15$ cash sent to your paypal account.  If it is for six months, you get 9$.  There is no referral granted for a one or three month membership.  This is a limited time offer.  Help us grow our community!

Thanks again for choosing Blue Devil Nation Premium and the future is looking bright around here, so stay tuned for more on that. [/private]

BDN checks in with Defensive Demon Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel - "Don't drive on me." BDN Photo Check out our latest interview as BDN Premium continues to roll out information

NORTH AUGUSTA, South Carolina – The Sultan of Swat?  No?  How about the Minister of Defense?  Trying to some up with a nickname for defensive stalwart Nerlens Noel is both easy and not.  Even when trying to compare him to other players is difficult for Nerlens is Nerlens and there is nobody with a game quite like his.  Many opposing player has drove the lane against BABC only to see their shots knocked back.  In one of the games here this weekend Noel had four blocks in one defensive sequence.  Noel has established himself as a great defender at an early age and ask any coach and they will tell you that is rare.  In fact, one coach said, “He’s the best defender in all of high school basketball,” when I said he is the best in his 2013 class.  Noel sports a high top fade, a hair style Grant Hill made famous on Sports Illustrated in 1991.  His game could be considered a bit of a throw back to with his baby hooks and such but his offense is behind his defense, the opposite of the norm.  Noel does it all by the book on defense and that’s where he has made a name for himself being a consensus top three player in his class.  He goes straight up on his blocks and he shuts down the baseline raising the right hand and forcing the ball to where no damage can be done.  And then there is what I call the “Nerlens Noel effect.”  He blocks so many shots that he forces players to think resulting in travelling calls or adjusted shots that go nowhere near the rim.  I caught up to the budding star this afternoon at the annual Nike Peach Jam where he said Duke was definitely showing interest.  I hope you enjoy our latest video interview from Blue Devil Nation Premium.  Join today for full site access and get all the inside scoop from our most outstanding staff. On to the interview – [private]

More to come [/private]

LeBron James Skills Academy, Adidas Invitational Updates

Shabazz Muhammad is but a single player BDN Premium will follow this week.

BDN Recruiting analyst Andrew Slater is currently sending back live reports to members on the Blue Devil Nation Premium Message Board.  He’s checking out the skills portion of opening night at the LeBron James Skills Academy and he’ll float to Akron for the Adidas Invitational this week.  He will of course be checking in with all the major Duke prospects as the coaching staff can see prospects play during the open period and will be present at the events.  Don’t miss any of the reports from BDN by joining today.  We set the standard for complete AAU Basketball coverage of Duke prospects and we are sure you’ll enjoy what we have to offer.  Whether you like in person player analysis, prospect videos, or our famous in depth interviews, BDN brings you the highest quality of coverage available on any Duke site.

BDN Checks in with 2013 Prospect Nerlens Noel

Despite the fact that he will not graduate until 2013, Nerlens Noel was clearly the best defender on the floor at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Virginia.  While Noel needs polish and a go to move on the offensive end, his defense in the post is way ahead of the curve at his early age.  No matter which game he played in this weekend he came away with multiple blocks.  Many list Noel as a center, but with some natural maturity in the area of building muscle, he can easily play the power forward spot as well as he can man the middle.  Noel is quite springy and his lift is quick and effective.  Some of the nations top rated players watched as their shots were slapped away by a young man a year younger.  Noel made a bit of name for himself in a match up earlier this AAU season at the Nike Boo Williams Camp by outplaying Tony Parker.  The two faced each other again this weekend and the result was the same until late in the game when Parker started to adjust.  Noel plays for Tilton High School in New Hampshire and stands 6-9 to 6-10 with a slender frame but once the ball is in play he is a flat out defensive demon.  BDN has already told you about everything you need to know about Noel in past interviews, but we followed up with the rising junior just the same.

Coaches were able to start calling guys earlier this week.  Did you get a lot of calls?

Yeah, I heard from Florida, Providence, Texas Tech, Syracuse, Kentucky and I had several missed calls when I was play here yesterday, so I have yet to get to them.

Any ACC schools on you yet, like Duke, UNC or [private] Maryland?

No, none of them called me.

Are you interested in ACC Schools?

Yes, I am very interested.  I like a lot of the ACC schools and whoever starts to show genuine interest, I’ll look into them.

What are your goals for the camp?

I’m just trying to build up a strong reputation as being a dominant player, offensively and dfensively and just play basketball and do what I do.

Yep, you’re really active down on the blocks on defense and quite springy.

Yeah, whatever I need to do to win is what I’m willing to do.  I like to win and help my team to advance.

Any unofficial visits of late?

No, not really.  It’s been a busy summer of late and I will be going to some camps.

Which camps?

The Amare Stoudemire Camp and LeBron James Camp.

Okay, just wanted to check in with you.  Take care and good luck the rest of the way.

Thanks. [/private]

 

BDN’s Monday Musings – Hoops, Football and …

I hope you guys caught the opening game of the NBA Eastern Finals last evening for former Duke players Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer both helped Chicago to victory.  In fact, the Bulls crushed the much ballyhooed Heat, led by Dwayne Wade and LeBron James.  And even a tremendous effort by Chris Bosh couldn’t sidetrack the Bulls who are 4-0 versus their opponent this season.  CBooz had 14 points and 9 rebounds in the win, but it was Deng who was the most impressive with a team high plus 18 rating.  Deng finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds,  4 steals and 0 turnovers.

One thing you can count on in big time college athletics is the fact that recruiting is a year round affair.  We’re big time recruitniks around here, so that’s okay by us.  Andrew Slater kicks the week off for Blue Devil Nation Premium members with another one of his in depth interviews.  His subject, Nerlens Noel is one of the studs in the top heavy class of 2013.  Duke is as you know, interested in Jabari Parker and Julius Randle as well and members will have heard from all three in the coming days.  In short, three of the top five prospects are on the Dukies radar.

The likes of former Duke greats Christian Laettner, Grant Hill and Jason Williams will be in Durham for Coach K Academy IX which runs from June the 1st through the 5th on the Duke campus.  The event is one of those once in a liftime deals where campers for a price can bond with Duke Basketball is a most special way.  For more information call the Duke Basketball Legacy Fund at (919) 613-7501.  And you can bet BDN will be on hand to talk with some of the former players, so you can look forward to that.

The Duke Men’s LAX team holds off a furious Delaware rally to advance in the NCAA Tournament.  The womens tennis team advance as well sweeping Yale.  And for recruiting?  Here are the newbies for the Duke Women’s Volleyball team.

Duke Football is lining up prospects for their camp as well and you can bet that we’ll bring you coverage via Patrick Cacchio.  Football recruiting news is something we take seriously and we are supportive of the program as they continue to build under David Cutcliffe. Our premium football message board is growing and you can always count on updates there from those who follow the program closely.  Be it the jam packed with inside information  “Football Friday,” articles or coming interviews with true prospects, BDN is the place to be for football.  While we are on football, check out Al Featherston and his take on the Blue Devils efforts to build a running game.

Here is an excerpt from Lindy Brown where he tells of some of the latest news on two incoming stars for the Duke womens hoops team -

The honors keep coming in for two future Duke women’s basketball standouts — Elizabeth Williams and Amber Henson — as the duo were selected Parade Magazine All-America on Sunday.  A 2011 Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year selection, Williams averaged 18.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocked shots for Princess Anne H.S. She was named MVP of the McDonald’s All-America contest as she set a single-game record with 23 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds. Williams, who is from Virginia Beach, Va., led the USA Basketball U-17 team to a gold medal at the 2010 world championships while averaging 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds.”

To read the full article go to GoDuke.com.  Thanks for checking in with BDN.

Slater goes one on one with prospect Nerlens Noel

Blue Devil Nation Premium kicks off the week with another in depth interview, this time with big time prospect Nerlens Noel.  Join BDN Premium as the AAU season heats up and stay close to the action asAndrew Slater and myself bring you word from the nations top talent on a consistent basis.  Once finished reading this detailed interview, go back and read the latest on Jabari Parker, Alex Poythress, Tony Parker, all recent interviews and then discuss the latest with other members on our subscribers message board.  And up next?  Stay tuned for another one of the nations studs, when we bring you up close and personal with Julius Randle.  Okay, on to the interview …

Subtly, but quickly and powerfully, New England prep schools have become the most talent-laden leagues in the country. They’ve attracted players regionally, nationally, and internationally with their combination of great competition, quality academics with small teacher-to-student ratios, isolated locations designed to concentrate on their future trade, and facilities that can rival Division-III colleges. College coaches have taken notice and have made the wintry, circuitous trips in hopes of landing some impact college players.

One impact player, Nerlens Noel, makes a ninety minute drive from the Boston outskirts in Everett, Massachusetts, to the hills of Tilton, New Hampshire. This past March, the follically enhanced 6’10″ sophomore helped lead the 166 year old Tilton School to its fourth consecutive NEPSAC Championship with a 72-57 victory over the more veteran St. Mark’s with Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarczewski. A week later, Tilton would narrowly lose 87-85 to ND Prep, a team so loaded that it brings  a Louisville signee off of the bench. After the season, Noel was the only sophomore to be named first-team All-NEPSAC.

The reclassified 2013 prospect, Noel, has earned a reputation as being arguably the top shot-blocker in the nation, regardless of class. Not surprisingly, he is the leading shot-blocker in Nike’s EYBL league and, despite his relatively narrow, 212 lb frame, he has affected substantially more shots as the last line of defense for the Boston Amateur Basketball Club. BABC is run by long-time New England staple, Leo Papile, who is also the Senior Director of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics. In the last game of the recent Dallas leg of the EYBL, Noel, who played twelve minutes through the pain of a basketball-related injury, lost his first AAU game, 81-78, in two years. That toughness is shared with his brothers, Jim and Rodman, who are set to play safety this September in the ACC for Boston College and NC State, respectively.

After a game in which he accumulated 12 rebounds, 13 points on 6 of 6 shooting, 6 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals against The Family of Detroit, Nerlens Noel spoke exclusively with Blue Devil Nation.

Let’s start with recruiting. Who’s after you right now?

Right now, I’ve got a lot of the Big East, ACC, and SEC after me. There’s a lot in each conference, but I really don’t have specific schools to be honest with you. I’m going to hopefully have a list out by the fall.

Oh, okay. Well, beyond that, do you have a time frame or a plan for when you’d like to cut down on schools or a time when you’d like to decide by?

Yeah, well, I’m going to start out with list by this fall to make it more manageable or whatever. Then, hopefully, after that, get serious about schools that clearly have an interest in me. Hopefully, things will start to clear up this summer.

Have you visited any schools yet? [private]

No, not really. No, I haven’t.

Can you describe your game for an audience that may not have seen you play in person yet?

My game is that I think I’m a pretty good passer.

You’re a hell of a shot-blocker.

Yeah, thanks, man, I think that’s probably my best feature, you know, shot blocking and being a leader for both of my teams on the defensive end of the court. I try to be really vocal out there and demonstrate leadership. I feel like that’s my responsibility. I need to be a leader out there on that end especially and tell guys if I see someone in the wrong spot or whatever. I’ll always back them up, but it’ll help if they can lock down on a guy on the perimeter. Just trying to keep the guys together. We’ve all been playing pretty good defense out there…not just me.

You guys have obviously been very successful (undefeated in April) out there. How much of it do you attribute to chemistry?I know at least four of you guys go to school at Tilton so you know each other very well. Mrs. Niang said there were, like, five of you guys in a room last night and not because of budget cutbacks at BABC, but because everyone wanted to hang out with each other.

Yeah, exactly, we know each other and our chemistry is real good. You know you see other teams that look like they’ve just been thrown together or whatever.

Are you guys talking about playing to get at the next level or is it one of those things where “if it happens, it happens?” I know you and Wayne (Selden) are getting recruited by a lot of the same schools.

We have talked about it a little bit, but I think it’s going to be one of those things where, like you said, if it happens, it happens. If we both really like a school, then we’ll go together, but it won’t be anything where we force the other to go to the same school or put any pressure on each other. Yeah.

I was just curious because it seems like a lot of programs are going after multiple Tilton guys. Do you view yourself as  a pure center or as more of a four/five?

Um, I don’t really like any labels (laughs), but, as a basketball player, I don’t really think of myself as a five.

Well, most of them frankly don’t move like you move (laughs).

Yeah, I mean I feel like I’m a basketball player who can play and defend against most players down low. It doesn’t matter to me if they’re playing the four or the five. I just try to play.

Right, what’s your current size and how much does the hair help? (laughs)

The hair doesn’t help and I’m about 6’10.”

Alright, alright, but maybe a couple of inches.

Yeah, maybe an inch or two.

Hell, I ought grow a fro that high if I could.

(laughs) Yeah, my hair helps a little.

How much do you weigh now? It looks like you’re starting to get a little bigger in the upper-body. I’ve seen you a number of times this year at Tilton and it looks each time like you’re making a little progress in that area.

Yeah, I’ve been in the weight room a lot more this year and I’m up to 212 right now.

How much would you like to get up to by next season?

Probably 220 to 225.

What are you eating, McDonald’s?

Yeah, McDonald’s or whatever can help put some weight on me is fine with me. (laughs) I just know that I need to get bigger.

Now, how are the facilities there at Tilton, in terms of weight-lifting and cardio? Do you guys still have a strength and conditioning coach?
 

Oh, yeah, we’ve got a good program. We work out three to four times a week. Just adding size and working out. Just trying to get our work in.

Speaking of that can you tell the audience about the competition that you face both in practice and in games at Tilton? Some people may not realize, who aren’t from the area, just how good the competition is that you guys face, game in and game out.

Yeah, it is real tough. Everybody goes up against each other. We’ve got George (Niang), a really tough post player. He’s really strong with a good touch too. We’ve got Goodluck..

He’s starting to come along too.

Yeah, he is starting to come along. You can see it, week by week, where it’s starting to click with him by facing all of us in practice. I really think we all get better by facing all different types of guys, whether it’s guys with a different skill type or more athleticism.

Exactly, because, no offense, but, if you were a normal guy growing up in Iowa, you would never be facing someone your size on a regular basis, let alone maybe at all. You’d be playing against 6’3″ centers.

Definitely, it makes us all a lot better. You can’t hide in our league.

I saw you against (Andre) Drummond (current consensus top player in 2012) earlier in the season, but who’s been the most difficult player for you to defend? You played well that day against him.
 

To be honest with you, the guy I actually have a hard with is on my own team, George. He’s tough and skilled.

Yeah, yeah.

I’ve gotta deal with him in pickup. He’s got that soft touch with a lot of strength. He’s a smart player too.

 

I think he’s underrated.

Yeah, he definitely is. People need to watch out for him.

What are you ideally looking for in whatever program you ultimately decide on?

I’m looking for a good coaching staff, players who want to win, and a staff that develops players and takes them to the next level.

They’ve got to have a track record.

Yeah, that’s a must. Just a good system that can develop bigs.

How about style of play? I’ve seen you play in a very, almost passive, half-court oriented system and also playing in an uptempo, get-out-and-go, pressure the ball style.

Yeah, I mean I like to run, but that’s not necessary. Whatever I can do to help, I’ll do. I can adjust myself to their style of play. I can fit in with whatever the coaches want to do.

So, you can fit to their preferred style of play?

Yeah, definitely.

Obviously, you go away to school right now, but it’s not too far from Everett. Will distance be a factor at all for you?

No, not at all. It really don’t matter to me.

Who’s your favorite player or a guy that you try to model your game after?

I really look to try to make myself like Kevin Garnett. I mean I like Kevin Durant a lot too, but Garnett is really closer to how I play.

Speaking of the Celtics, I know Coach Papile works for the Celtics. Do you ever get a chance to go over with him and watch the Celtics play? I know Tilton takes its academics very seriously and they may not let you guys out for an evening, but I was just wondering.

Oh, no, I don’t go to any games, but..

 

Practices?

Yeah, exactly, I’ve seen them up close at a few practices. Mostly just watching them on TV and stuff though. Watching their intensity and energy on defense really motivates me to be like them and keep pushing myself.

 

It’s got to be helpful to have a guy like that as your coach for the summer, as opposed to some jokers who call themselves “coach.”

(laughs) Yeah, exactly, it’s embarrassing because I mean, you know, he’s a real coach who knows what he’s doing.

What would you like the audience to know about you away from the court? What you like to do?

Oh, yeah, sure, when I’m out of school, I love to play NBA 2K11. I’m really good at that.

 

Let me guess. You’re on the Celtics.

laughs) I feel badly, but it’s between the Celtics and the Heat.

(laughs) Yeah, yeah, sure, you’re guilty. You want to win.

 That’s true too. I just also love to hang with my friends, especially Goodluck (Okonoboh).

 

Now, is he the one that you’re closest to on the team?

Yeah, yeah, definitely.

I’m always curious about those kind of things. Team dynamics. Are you guys roommates or does everyone have their own place?

Yeah, sure. No, we’re roommates in school too.

Who will you turn to for guidance whenever you do decide on a program? Who will be some influential in your life?

Coach Papile, my head coach at Tilton, Marcus O’Neil, my brothers, my older brothers…they played football in college.

 

Oh, yeah, where?

My oldest brother, Jim, plays safety at Boston College and my next oldest brother, Rodman, he’s going to NC State. He’s leaving on May 21st. He’ll be going down there soon.

Did they ever ask you to go out for the team?

Did they ask me to what?

 

Go out for the football team?

Oh, yeah, definitely, please, I played football. I was real good too.

Oh, did you? What were you a D-end? What am I looking at here?

I played quarterback.

Holy cow!

Yeah, and wide receiver.

Jesus, it must hard to take you down at your size.

(laughs)
 

Now, that explains some of your toughness. I know at some some of those prep schools they make you play a sport every season. Are you going to playing football this fall at Tilton or…

(laughs) I was looking to but…

… they want to protect those knees?

Right, right, right.

What are some things that you’d like to accomplish this summer?

I want to establish myself as a top player throughout the course of the summer.

 

Get your name out there?

Yeah, as much as I can.

How about your body? Before, you were saying that you’d like to add a few pounds..

Yeah, I want to make my body as solid as I can. I want to develop a go-to move. I want to listen to my coaches and do whatever hard work that they tell me to do.

There are obviously other guys that have your length and some have similar athleticism. What do you think makes you or one a good shot blocker? Timing? Patience? Natural ability?

To be honest with you, some of its natural, but you also have to constantly figure out their moves, how athletic they are, how high they will elevate, but it might just be a natural thing.

(AAU ref interrupts to see if one of us can get a ball that’s stuck high on the back of a backboard, Noel takes this one)

That’s a showoff move, man.

(laughs)

For those that may not know, you reclassified to 2013, is there any chance that you may wind up back in the 2012 class or have you pretty much decided that 2013 is where you feel comfortable?

It crosses my mind sometimes, but nothing too serious. Some times I think about it, though. Right now, I’m just trying to make the most of my opportunities. Take everything one day at a time.

How did you decide to choose Tilton?

Playing at Tilton? They had made a nice run with Alex and Jamal. Those two guys just became national champions.

They had a good system.

Talk about a track record.

Yeah, and I liked coach. Now, we’ve got George, Wayne, Goodluck, me, and the other guys.

What are your goals for next season with the team?

Oh, we’ve got to get the national championship. I think we had a good run this year, but we lost in a close one to Notre Dame.

Yeah, I know I happened to be there for that game too. You guys lost by two to them in the semifinals, but ND Prep was loaded and, frankly, they’re also a lot older.

Yeah, both, but next year we’re going to come back and take that championship.

George played very well in that game

Yes, absolutely, very well.

Outside of your Tilton team, who are some other guys that your friends with on the circuit?

Ricky Ledo.

Ricky Ledo?

Yep, I’m cool with him. Shaq (Jones)…he plays for ND Prep. Andrew Chrabascz, who plays with us for BABC and plays for Cushing. Those are three guys.

Yeah, I just didn’t know which guys you liked to hang out with during the down time or people that you keep running into throughout the spring and summer.

Yeah, do you know Savon from the Playaz?

Sure, Savon Goodman. He’s very, very nice off of the court, but a tough two-way player on it. I love his aggression and toughness. I like him a lot.

Do you know what your reach is right now?
(laughs) We measured it a while back.

It’s got to be ridiculous.

Yeah, I think it was like 7’5,” but that was a while back back. (laughs) It might’ve grown a little bit since then.

You had mentioned before that some ACC schools were after you and I had heard that one of those schools was Duke. Have they expressed interest in you?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that they are. They were at my school the other week.

Were you there or were you out of town?

Yeah, no, I was there. They watched us play pickup. I think they liked what they saw. Well, I guess so.

 What do you know about their program?

I know they develop pros. Coach K is a very good coach. Personally, I believe that he’s one of the best. They’ve got a real good program over there.

Would you be interested in visiting them, among the other schools that you check out?

Yeah, I’d be happy to visit with them

Thank you very much, Nerlens.

Oh, alright. Sure, sure. [/private]