Going back to the early to mid 80’s there haven’t been too many big men that get your attention in College hoops especially on the Defensive end. Greg Oden is more of recent memories where he altered shots even the ones he didn’t reject. The one that comes to mind more than most is Patrick Ewing, in the national title game against North carolina in 1982 you would have thought there was a lid on the rim he rejected so many, in fact most of the rejections were called for goal tending but it did serve notice that Ewing was the defensive stallwart that the Tar Heels had heard about. Well fast forward to last night Kentucky vs Ole Miss and Nerlens Noel Kentucky’s freshman center blocked 12 yes 12 shots on the way to a 87-74 Wildcat victory. Noel took only one shot, but he singlehandedly turned Ole Miss into a jump shooting team by altering so many shots in the paint.
The amazin part of his block were that 5 of those blocks came after he had picked up his 4th personal foul. At that point you wouldn’t blame him for packing it in and feeling good about his night with 7 blocks and could have backed off which would have been the natural thing to do. But, he played with even more intensity and went after shot after shot 5 blocks more in all in route to 12 in all. Having seen Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing be intense on the defensive end in college it takes alot to impress here. But Noel is no joke. I don’t see him getting 12 blocks a game for the rest of the season but he did serve notice that he is a presence that teams will have to account for should they face the Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA Tournment.
Noel now has six straight games with six blocks or more and 93 blocks in 20 games, the same number Anthony Davis had at the same point last season.
Scary stuff and this is a freshman, if he stays another year or tweo picture how good he can get defensively.