High-SchoolMassachusetts: New Hampshire

Nerlens' Notebook: Kentucky, 'Cuse visits

February, 20, 2012
Nerlens NoelESPNHS IllustrationNerlens Noel, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, blogs about his recruiting experience.
Nerlens Noel | Senior | Center| Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.)

Noel Blog 1

After reclassifying from 2013 to 2012, Nerlens Noel went from being the No. 2-ranked junior to the No. 1-ranked senior in the ESPNU 100. Now heavyweight programs like UConn, Kentucky, North Carolina and Syracuse, among others, are scrambling to get Noel on campus next season. That makes him the most sought-after player in the country. Noel has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access into his world by chronicling his thoughts in a blog.

What’s up, world!

This is Boston’s own Nerlens Noel and I’m back with my next blog entry. Things have definitely picked up since I reclassified, but it hasn’t been too bad. I don’t let it get too crazy.

I’ve taken two visits since I reclassified, first to Syracuse and I’m actually just getting back from Kentucky now. Both of the visits had to be unofficial because I have to get a lot of paperwork processed at my school before everything’s final, so until that happens all of my visits have to be unofficial. I think everything will be final by around early March.

I went to Syracuse on Feb. 10 and I had a really good time there. Their fans were great, and I spent a lot of time with the coaches and the players. When I first got there I met up with coach Jim Boeheim in the Carmelo Anthony center and we had a good talk. He talked to me about how he would use me in their system and things like that.

After that we went to their game against UConn. It was crazy. They had 30,000 fans in there screaming, so it was really loud. It was a really good game, too. Syracuse won, so the fans were obviously happy.

I looked in the crowd and I saw that one of the fans had a Fathead of me. That was crazy. I couldn’t believe that they had that, but it just goes to show how dedicated the fans are there. That night I hung out with the players and had a good time. The next morning I went to their practice before they headed off to Louisville.

This past weekend I went to Kentucky.

I got there Friday morning and went to their practice for about an hour. I really liked the way they practice there. I just like the momentum they have in their practice. The practices are short, but they get everything done that they need to get in. It’s really productive.

I went to the game the next day and the fans most definitely lived up to the hype. They were just real live and they chanted my name about eight times. It was so loud in there.

One of the fans came up to me and said “SEC girls love flattops!” I thought that was pretty funny. I really liked watching them play, and sitting behind the bench I got a real feel about how they do it. Coach John Calipari really gets on them when they make mistakes so they won’t make them again. I was impressed.

I got a chance to talk to coach Cal a lot during my visit. He talked a lot about how I could come in there and work hard and succeed. He talked a lot about playing at the NBA level and things like that. I thought we had a really good talk.

I did notice that coach Cal’s and coach Boeheim’s recruiting styles are a lot different. Coach Boeheim is way more laid back. He lets you know that he wants you, but he doesn’t press it too much. Coach Cal tells you everything about how he’ll use you, where you’ll fit in, everything.

Both visits were a lot of fun and I took a lot from them.

I’ve had a few schools call me more since the news broke about me reclassifying. I actually talked to coach Mike Krzyzewski the day after my first blog. That was pretty cool just talking to him. I like Coach K a lot. He was telling me about the situation down there for next year.

I talked to him twice after that, but I ended up telling them that I wasn’t interested in Duke. I like Coach K, but I just didn’t have any interest in them.

I’m excited about my next few visits to Florida, North Carolina and Georgetown, but I don’t know what order those visits will be in and I don’t have any dates on those yet. I’ll definitely let you guys know, though.

I’m gonna visit Providence and UConn too because they’re so close to me. I’ve been hearing from all of the coaches from those schools for the most part.

Other than that, we’ve got the big game against Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) today. We’re all ready for this game, of course. This will be the third time we’ve played them this year and they took the first two. We’ll be a little shorthanded with my man Wayne Selden out.

He’s got a really bad sprained ankle and we’ll miss him a lot, but I think we’re capable of pulling out the win. We’ve got a good game plan, and as long as we play hard we should be OK.

I do think that we’ll see them again in the championship, though. Either way, I just want to win.

I was happy for all the guys who made the McDonald’s All-American game. I really wished I could’ve made it, but I understand about the rules and all. I probably should’ve tried to reclass a little earlier, but I understand.

Well, that’s it for now, everyone.

Oh, you guys remember if you don’t read it from me here on my blog, in my own words, then it’s not true.

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you guys come back for my next blog real soon.

Don't forget to follow Nerlens Noel on Twitter: @NerlensNoel3

Nerlens' Notebook: Back to 2012

February, 3, 2012
Nerlens Noel | Senior | Center| Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.)

After reclassifying from 2013 to 2012, Nerlens Noel went from being the No. 2-ranked junior to the No. 1-ranked senior in the ESPNU 100. Now heavyweight programs like UConn, Kentucky, North Carolina and Syracuse, among others, are scrambling trying to get Noel on campus next season. That makes him the most sought-after player in the country. Noel has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access into his world by chronicling his thoughts in a blog.

What’s happening everyone, this is Boston’s own Nerlens Noel, and I’m excited to be starting my blog.

Steve Johnson/ESPNHSNerlens Noel said he wants to decide around the time of the McDonald's All-American game.
By now most of you know that I’ve reclassified from 2013 to 2012. It was official as of Wednesday night. It was something that I had been thinking about for months, and I talked it over with my family and we came to the final decision. I really just felt like I was ready to come back to my original class.

Most people don’t know that I was always supposed to be in the 2012 class, but during my sophomore year I cracked my growth plate in my left knee and that kept me out for around six weeks. I played the first five games of the season and then I missed the rest of the season.

At the time, I thought the best option was to reclassify to 2013 because of all the time I missed, but I worked really hard and I felt like I was ready to come back to 2012.

Basically, I checked on things academically and I made sure that I had all of the credits to reclassify and I have everything lined up now.

I’m really excited about it. It’s weird because now I’m gonna be in college next season. That’s kinda crazy when I think about it.

When I came into the season I wasn’t sure that I was gonna do it, but after playing really well against all of the big time guys last summer and this season it kinda put my decision to come back to 2012 over the top. I know that I’ll be able to contribute right away to whatever college I decide to go to.

Of course everyone wants to know about my recruitment even more now and I’m gonna clear something up; I don’t really have an “official” list. The list I put out is of the schools that I’m really interested in and schools that I’m gonna take official visits to.

Those schools are Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina and Georgetown. I’m visiting Syracuse on Feb. 11, but I’m not sure if that will be an official visit since it’s closer to me. I’ll decide that in the next day or two. I don’t have dates for the other visits. I’ll set those up soon.

I’ll also visit Providence and UConn unofficially, but there could be other visits.

There are things I love about all of the schools.

With Syracuse I love the environment over there. It’s so live. I like the players there and I’ve built a great relationship with the coaching staff. With Kentucky, I really love the fan base. They’re crazy supportive, especially on Twitter. I’ve been building a solid relationship with the coaches there too.

Florida is one of the first schools that started recruiting me. I like the coaches and I like the school. Georgetown has a history that speaks for itself, and I just love their offense. They really do a great job with their big men.

North Carolina has a great history and a great coach in Roy Williams. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I like the school and I like what they do. They just came in with me recently.

Providence has been on me for a while. I just love what they’re doing there and I’ve got a great relationship with Ricky Ledo, he’s been recruiting me really hard to come there with him. UConn is another one of those schools that speaks for itself. They produce really strong big men, and I think a lot of Coach Jim Calhoun and his staff. They really know how to develop their players.

As you all can see this won’t be an easy decision.

I’ve definitely had some players hitting me up since I reclassified. The first player to hit me up was Rasheed (Sulaimon), who’s going to Duke. He was basically just talking about how there would be an open spot for me to come to Duke and how he wanted me to come join him. That’s definitely something I would look at. Duke has been in contact with me, but I haven’t heard from them in a little while.

Archie (Goodwin), who’s going to Kentucky, hit me up too. We didn’t talk directly about Kentucky. We were just talking about video games and talking about the summer.

Things of course have been crazy in the last 24 hours. I think I’ve gained over 1,000 followers on Twitter since last night. It’s funny because I must get about 20 mentions on Twitter every five minutes.

One of the things I thought about was whether I would miss out on postseason all-star games like the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonald’s All-American games. I feel like I’m just in time so hopefully I’ll have a chance to make those two games.

We’ll see what happens. I would love to have a decision around the McDonald’s game after I visit all the schools that I want to see.

I know by now there are a lot of rumors popping up about me and my recruitment, but I just want to say that I have no favorites at all. There’s no official list because I’m open to different schools.

Basically, if you don’t read it from me here on my blog, in my own words, then it’s not true.

Well, I want to thank everyone for reading my first blog. I hope everyone liked it, and I hope you guys come back for my next blog, which will be after I visit Syracuse on Feb. 11.

I’ll catch you guys next time.

Don't forget to follow Nerlens Noel on Twitter: @NerlensNoel3

Notre Dame Prep holds off New Hampton Prep

January, 15, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.) guard Myles Davis knew he’d have to step up.

When Steven Adams, a senior center who is signed to Pittsburgh, caught an inadvertent elbow midway through the first quarter, which sidelined him for the rest of the first half, Davis took it upon himself to fill Adams’ void.

“We knew that we’d have to step up because he was really a presence down there for us,” said Davis, a senior who is signed to Xavier. “I knew I’d have to knock down shots to separate us.”

He did.

Davis scored 24 points to lead the Crusaders past New Hampton Prep (New Hampton, N.H.) 55-49 Sunday at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

Adonis Filer scored 11 points and Sam Cassell Jr. added eight for Notre Dame. Jared Terrell led the Huskies with 17.

“I thought we played pretty well considering that we were coming off of a big game against a team like Tilton just yesterday,” said Cassell, a senior. “We weren’t tired or anything, but we just came together to get this win. We wanted to get out and run.”

That was evident from the beginning.

Eight of the Crusaders’ 14 first quarter points were in transition. Cassell drained back-to-back 3-pointers to extend that lead, 17-4, early in the second quarter.

Still, Terrell knocked down two 3-pointers of his own in the second quarter to keep the Huskies within striking distance at the half, 25-17.

New Hampton shot just 23 percent from the field in the first half and committed seven turnovers.

“We wanted to turn it up even more in the second half,” Cassell said.

The Crusaders led by as many as 13 in the second half, and answered every run the Huskies threw at them. Every time they would come to within five points, Notre Dame would go on a mini-run of its own.

“That’s what we do,” Cassell said. “Sometimes we’re a little slower, but we end up getting it going when we need to.”

Adams returned in the second half, and though he was visibly playing through pain, he provided a big defensive presence for the Crusaders. He finished with five points and four rebounds.

It was Adams’ second game with Notre Dame. He moved here recently from New Zealand and is a player with 2013 NBA lottery hype.

“It’s been fun,” said Adams, who stands 6-foot-11. “I feel like I’m adjusting pretty well. I was happy to get a win.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.