NCAA visited Nerlens Noel's school

Updated: August 22, 2012, 8:29 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Two NCAA enforcement officials visited Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel's New Hampshire prep school this month to ask about Noel's recruitment process, a Tilton School administrator confirmed to SI.com.

The NCAA is investigating people involved in Noel's recruitment and Noel's payment for unofficial visits, according to SI.com, which cited "a person with knowledge of the NCAA inquiry." In May, the two officials also traveled to Noel's high school in Massachusetts.

The 6-foot-10 Noel is the No.1 recruit on the ESPN 100, and is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, according to ESPN Insider Chad Ford.

Kentucky chief compliance officer Sandy Bell also was in the meeting but did not ask many questions, SI.com reported. A former NCAA investigator not involved in the case told SI.com this unusual step indicates the NCAA has moved beyond a routine check of Noel's recruitment.

A Kentucky spokesperson told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that it wouldn't be abnormal for Bell to be with the NCAA if there are questions on a player.

In March, Tilton coach Marcus O'Neil told the New York Times that Noel has a close relationship with Chris Driscoll, a former Providence assistant coach. O'Neil said Driscoll once told him that he needed to "score big" with Noel.

Noel was in class Wednesday on the first day of the school year at Kentucky, the spokesperson told ESPN.com. Noel also worked out Wednesday and participated in photo day.

Kentucky fully expects all 12 players to be eligible for the season, the spokesperson said.

ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz contributed to this report.