Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Updated: April 12, 2:12 PM ET
Nerlens Noel chooses Kentucky
By Paul Biancardi
Nerlens Noel, the No. 1 recruit in the ESPNU 100, committed to Kentucky over Georgetown and Syracuse on ESPNU's "Signing Day Special" on Wednesday night.
"It was the toughest decision of my entire life," the 6-foot-10 center from Everett, Mass., said. "Georgetown and Syracuse are great programs."
However, in the end it was John Calipari, Kentucky's winning ways and the rabid fan base that swayed Noel to Big Blue Nation.
"Coach Cal recruited me real hard. He is a good person who cares about his players, he helps them reach their goals and the team's goals," Noel said. "They play as a unit and are very unselfish. Also the fans were incredible on my visit. They are behind the program 100 percent."
In three years, Calipari has taken Kentucky to two Final Fours and is fresh off a national championship, the eighth in school history, which certainly didn't hurt the school's chances of landing the nation's top high school prospect.
"It opened my eyes to what a good job they do developing young talent and winning it all," Noel said.
Noel joins fellow ESPNU 100 prospects Alex Poythress (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast), Archie Goodwin (Little Rock, Ark./Sylvan Hills) and Willie Cauley (Spearville, Kan./Olathe Northwest), giving Kentucky its fourth consecutive No. 1 recruiting class.
"It's a big family down there and I am excited to be a part of it," Noel said.
Noel wants to make his own mark and help Kentucky win another national championship.
"That's the plan."