After basketball behemoth Nerlens Noel reclassified to move up to the 2012 recruiting class, he instantly became the hottest commodity on the "play for my school and you will discover the meaning of life" market. Following a passionately-charged courtship process, Noel narrowed his choices down to Syracuse, Georgetown, and Kentucky. In a televised announcement, Noel choose the Wildcats by shaving the "UK" logo into the back of his famed flat-top.
Now, however, all the hype may have been for naught.
As Sports Illustrated has learned, Noel has become the center for a rather involved recuiting violations probe, which could potentially prevent Noel from being eligible to suit up for Coach Cal. SI is reporting that this investigation is a little bit heftier than the usual exercises, as two "NCAA Enforcement Officials" (scary) traveled up to Noel's New Hampshire Prep School for a three hour meeting earlier this August.
What made the NCAA's visit to Tilton intriguing is that a senior Kentucky official, UK chief compliance officer Sandy Bell, accompanied Merrill and Smith for the meeting. Bell didn't ask many questions, according to the source, but did take notes and spoke up occasionally. The presence of two NCAA enforcement officials and Bell gives the appearance that this case has gone beyond the routine checking of top prospects, according to one former NCAA investigator.
Noel, a 6-foot-10 center, is projected by several scouting services as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He is part of a another top recruiting class by coach John Calipari, which also includes Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress, and will be expected to fill the void left by Anthony Davis, who led the Wildcats to the national title last season.
Does this have more to do with greaseball John Calipari than it does Noel? Possibly. While SI drives home that the recruiting Noel has long to be beleived a possibly mischevious game, its pretty tough to believe that Coach Cal has nothing to do with the amped up investigation.
To drive home my point, we will use a Brolific literary example. I am currently reading a book called "The Wolf of Wall Street," which is an autobiographical account of how a Big-Time Wall Street PLAYA, who made one daring move too many, was brought down hard by a crazed FBI agent. The book is going to be a real sauce movie next year, directed by Scorcese, with Leo as Wall Street tycoon Jordan Belfort and Coach Eric Taylor as the FBI Agent. Anyway, the reason why Belfort was brought down wasn't necessarily because he was doing illegal sh*t, but because he was Jordan f*cking Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street that was running rings around the SEC. If the SEC is the NCAA, Cal is doing the same exact thing year after year, only instead of the cash it's with recruits. Who then make him cash.
Lesson is, high stakes and high profile comes with some pretty hot heat. Don't expect this thing to damper anytime soon.