According to the Sporting News, Anthony Davis's replacement will be be ready to practice with the team in the coming weeks. According to just about every experts, if the Cats did not have the big man their chances of repeating as champions would be very low. You can read the whole article below.
Via Sporting News:
Kentucky coach John Calipari can breathe easy. He’ll again have a shot-blocking phenom to anchor his defense as the Wildcats attempt to win back-to-back national titles.
Nerlens Noel, the No. 1-ranked recruit in the Class of ’12, says he has finished all the prerequisite course work required and will join his Wildcats teammates on campus Aug. 19, three days ahead of the fall semester.
“I’m real excited to get down there,” Noel told Rivals.com late Friday night. “Big Blue Nation, I know they’re ready for another great season.
“I’m looking forward to getting down there and working on my game, working on every aspect of my game and getting acquainted with my teammates and coaches.”
Before he could step foot on a college court, Noel first had to complete two summer classes at Everett High to meet NCAA academic standards. The 6-10 center spent the last two years at The Tilton School in New Hampshire, getting his troublesome academic record in order. He originally was part of the Class of ’13 but reclassified once it was realized he could become eligible in ’12 with some extra work. He took two classes this summer at his original high school to bolster his GPA.
“It’s been tough, but I had to do what I had to do to take care of my classes this summer to finish reclassifying,” he said. “Now it’s done and I can focus on getting better and focus on Kentucky and focus on academics when I get down there.”
While working on his course work, he hasn’t been skipping out on his “court” work. Noel said he’s running and lifting and working on post moves.
“I’ve been talking to (Calipari),” Noel told Rivals. “He just told me to be ready when I get there, stay up on my cardio, be ready to run up and down and just be ready to work.”
He is expected to start from Day 1 for the fifth-ranked Wildcats. He is considered a better shot-blocker than his UK predecessor Anthony Davis, who led the nation in blocked shots last season while leading the Wildcats to the national title and ultimately become the No. 1-overall pick in the ’12 NBA Draft.
Noel, while finishing his class work, wasn’t allowed to participate in summer practices at UK. He is working as a counselor this weekend alongside future teammates Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-Stein at the adidas Nations basketball camp in Garden Grove, Calif. The trio also is getting in some games themselves.
“It’s great being with them this weekend; it’s real fun,” he said. “Playing on the same team, we can get a real feel for each other before we head to campus. ... I think we have good chemistry already.”
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