UK Basketball: Freshman Nerlens Noel loves the way Wildcat fans appreciate player
Kentucky¿s Nerlens Noel slams last Friday during Big Blue Madness. Noel said he was prepared to live life in the spotlight as a UK player, and that he is just focusing on academics and basketball. (Clay Jackson / October 23, 2012)
But Noel said he just has to be his own player, and not be someone he’s not.
“I don’t worry about it, but I understand why people say it,”¿Noel said. “I know at the at the end of the day, I’m my own player and that’s what I’m going to bring to the table every time out.”
The 6-11 center from Boston shared his thoughts on the upcoming season, the influence of his two older brothers, how much he trusts coach John¿Calipari and more during UK’s Media Day:
Question: How has your life been in Lexington since arriving this summer?
Noel: It’s been hectic, but I’ve been making the adjustment to college life and have been really focused on my academics and getting better on the court. It’s just been real busy, just focusing on staying on task, just working real hard. The coaching staff has been pushing us hard and I really feel that we’ve been coming a long way since we’ve gotten here and coming together as a team.”
Question:¿What part of your game have you been working on?
Noel:¿“I’ve just been working on my all-around game. Working on my skill set from 15 feet in. I’ve been putting in a lot of work on offense) and it’s coming along. I’ve just been putting in a lot of work and I’m comfortable where I’m at. A lot of hook shots, a lot of positioning and a free-throw line jumper.”
Question:¿How has been dealing with the attention UK players get?
Noel: “It hasn’t been too hectic. We get about 10-15 fans per day outside the (Wildcat Coal) Lodge asking for autographs.
Question: Has it been tough to adjust to all the attention?
Noel:¿“I knew what it was when I was coming here, and I came prepared. But these fans, you’ve got to love them because they appreciate you and you appreciate them. And you have to show them some love back.”
Question: Can anything prepare you for fishbowl you live in as a UK¿player?
Noel:¿“You’re going to hear about it, just the high expectations. But until you’re here, you haven’t experienced it at all. My senior year of high school after I committed , I was hearing a lot of things. Obviously you can’t buy into the hype, but until you’re here you haven’t experienced it.”
Question:¿What is it about Calipari that makes him relate so well to players, and makes him able to get great players to come to Kentucky and play together?
Noel:¿“Other coaches may tell you what you want to hear, but at the end of the day Coach Cal is going to tell you what’s going to get the job done, what’s really going to get you better. And that’s a good quality in a coach and that’s the reason Cal is who he is.”
Question:¿How much trust do you have in Calipari to get you where you want to go?
Noel:¿“I have 100 percent trust. Coach Cal’s a very influential person, I really trust him, and just his track record speaks for itself in what he’s done. He’s very influential to me, just the type of person he is. He doesn’t tell you lies, he tells you what has to be done, what you have to do to be where you want to be and he just keeps it real?
Question:¿What do you think of point guard Ryan Harrow’s haircut?