Investigation Into Top UK Recruit Deepens
Uh oh, Spaghettios, we might have a situation. The recruitment of Nerlens Noel, one of the University of Kentucky's blue chip incoming freshmen--and Scout.com's #1 prospect from the class of 2012--is being investigated further by NCAA rules enforcement officials.
Cindi Merrill and Frank Smith went to New Hampshire earlier this month, along with UK's chief compliance officer Sandy Bell, to look into a variety of individuals who may or may not have played a part in Noel's recruitment.
The NCAA looks into the process of how every prospect is recruited, but then usually moves on when they find nothing out of the ordinary. But the fact that they're finding a need to take these extra steps with Noel is particularly alarming. As are some of the quotes and sentences one can find in the Sports Illustrated article that has brought this latest development to light.
For example, there's Chris Driscoll, a former assistant coach at Providence College and a man who has developed a close relationship with Noel. In the article, Driscoll is quoted as saying:
"Nerlens is my last chance. I need to score and I need to score big."
It's also been reported that Driscoll made the following comment to Noel's high school basketball coach, Marcus O'Neil:
"You're either with me or against me on this."
Now, I can honestly tell you I don't have a clue to what he is referring, but none of that sounds good. It sounds desperate.
And, how about these three sentences?
Bell did not return an e-mail and a request to comment through a spokesperson.
Driscoll did not return a call to his cellphone seeking comment.
Noel did not return a call to his cellphone seeking comment.
Obviously, the investigation is not complete and nothing has been confirmed. And, hopefully nothing will be. But something seems to be up for so many people to go to so much trouble AND for certain parties to decline to return phone calls.
We shall see what happens.
Cross your fingers.