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Nerlens is here!
Have you been talking to Coach Cal much as you prepare for the draft?
I've definitely been keeping in touch with him, asking him advice on things I need on. He's given me a lot of good feedback.
Why the No. 3?
Just growing up, it was a number I really liked. Allen Iverson, he's one of the more exciting players that I was influenced by at a young age. I liked the number growing up.
How weird will it be for you to play next season against all of these star players that you've grown up watching?
It will definitely be a different experience, but I'm looking forward to it. It will be a dream come true to play on the same floor as them. But you need the mindset that you need to beat them and hold your own.
Have you picked out what you're going to wear to the draft?
No, not yet. But I have a good idea that I'll try to incorporate some Kentucky blue.
How much of the draft talk do you listen to?
Bare minimum. I do my best to not to feed into it at all. I'm staying focused on my rehab and doing what I have to to get back on the court.
What do you think of the possibility that you could go No. 1 overall?
That's a dream come true. Get to be in the discussion is surreal. But it's something I'm setting my mind toward. Whatever team I go to, I'm going to give it my all and get the team back to winning.
what was the best part about playing at Kentucky?
The fans. That's something you'll never really experience unless you go there. They're really passionate about their basketball and their players.
Will you ever shave off your flattop?
Definitely not any time soon!
Nerlens, who keeps you grounded, since you will soon be an NBA celebrity
Definitely my family. There are good people that I surround myself with.
Was it hard coming to Kentucky and developing as a team, considering there are so many one and done players on the team?
Yeah, it took time, but having someone like Coach Cal, he really helps with that. It was a process, but I felt we started to gel toward midseason.
The NBA playoffs has shown a lot of physical play. How do you like that kind of play?
It's a style you have to get used to. Playing in the NBA, there will be a lot of physical player. I think I'll be able to have certain ways to get around that and play your game.
What did you learn from playing at Kentucky?
I learned how to really love to work. How to come every day and really bring it. I learned a lot of leadership traits from Coach Cal.
Which players do you try to model your game afteR?
I definitely look up to KG. I definitely try to play with the same passion and intensity that he plays with.
Do you have any psychologic barrier coming back from an ACL injury like Derrick Rose has?
It's only natural that you'll go through that stage. You just have to be strong in the mental part. Just take your time, but you always want to come back stronger than before. That's the No. 1 thing.
What is your #1 goal for your first year in the NBA?
Just really establish myself in the NBA. Contribute to the team I'm playing for and getting to the playoffs.
What's your least favorite workout that you've been doing to get ready for the draft?
I don't really have a least favorite. I'm taking everything in stride. I'm enjoying this whole process that I've waited my whole life for.
Will you shave your new team's logo into the back of your hair like you did at UK?
That's a possibility. We'll have to see.
whom do you wish to block first in NBA?
Probably you'd have to say the best player in the NBA, who is LeBron, so I'd like to get my first block against him.
Nerlens, with the NBA draft looming soon and some nba pundits saying you lack an offensive game. Can you speak on that a little bit. How do you see yourself evolving offensively?
I can see myself developing an all around game from within 15 feet and potentially expanding it out throughout my career.
How do you think playing in the SEC helped you prepare for the NBA?
I think it had the physical play. Teams always came out and tried to have a gameplan against you. It helped me use my quickness to my advantage.
What have you been working on the most during your draft preparations?
It's been mostly rehab, but mentally getting ready. I've been watching the NBA playoffs to get a feel for how physical the NBA is.
did you consider coming back at all..or was the injury a red flag that now is definitely the time
There was definitely some consideration coming back. Playing at Kentucky with Coach Cal and those fans was a great experience. But I think I made the best decision for me and my family.
What separates you from AD23 that makes you the number 1 pick?
I think there is a lot of similarities on the defensive end. We can both block shots. Being a team player.
Do u think you deserve to be the #1 draft pick and why?
I have a will to win. I'm a team first player. I try to give the team the best chance to win. That's first and foremost.
Thank you for chatting with me. Follow me @NerlensNoel3 on Twitter.