Chris Woolard, UK Associate Athletics Director, Says Nerlens Noel is Fine Academically

Nerlens Noel is finishing his academic coursework, but should have no problem getting qualified.(via SportsAngle.com)

Via Larry Vaught:

This is really no surprise, since Noel has been reported to be a good student, and his academic performance has never really been much of an issue. What made the extra courses necessary was his reclassification into 2012 from 2013.

Noel has been the subject of much discussion over the summer with the predictable people questioning his ability to become eligible. This is just more evidence that they are likely to be disappointed, as Woolard is a UK assistant Director of Athletics, and is in a position to know.

Kentucky fans can be confident of Noel's arrival in August, and I'm sure Coach Cal and the team will be looking forward to working out with him in preparation for the 2012-13 season. From one of UK's summer practice observations at CoachCal.com:

Without Noel, Malone and Long in attendance, the first thing you notice is that this isn’t a deep team in terms of numbers. Only nine guys were on the court both days, which allowed Calipari to focus more of his attention on the individual players. Since the summer workouts are focused on teaching and installing bits and pieces of the offense, 10 guys aren’t needed to scrimmage and play five-on-five. However, Malone and Long will be needed for practice depth once the season rolls around. Noel will obviously be needed in the front court for major minutes. When Calipari split the team into back-court and front-court drills, Kyle Wiltjer and Cauley-Stein were the only "bigs." Jon Hood and Poythress were used as big men in the drills that required more front-court depth.

Without Noel, Cauley-Stein and the other UK bigs are at a significant practice disadvantage. Noel will be the measuring stick against which their talents will be judged. Not only that, but practicing against players like Noel will make the UK big men much better very quickly as they learn the deal with length and shot-blocking. If they can score on Noel, they can score on anybody in college basketball.

There will no doubt be a ton of publicity when Noel does finish his coursework and shows up in Lexington. Coach Cal and the rest of the team will be the happiest of all, not just because a critical cog of Kentucky's hopes for next season will finally be delivered, but also because they desperately need him to properly begin practice.

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