Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel sits on the bench before the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 74-70 (Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel will enter the NBA draft as he continues recovering from a torn ACL.
The 6-foot-10 freshman is projected to be a lottery pick despite sustaining his season-ending knee injury on Feb. 12. He led the nation with 4.4 blocks per game, and averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Noel also had 50 steals for Kentucky (21-12), earning Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year honors, along with first team all-conference and freshman team selections.
Noel says he's loved his time with the Wildcats but feels he's "ready to take the next step to the NBA."
Considered the nation's top recruit last year, Noel was often compared to Kentucky All-American Anthony Davis, now in the NBA after leading the Wildcats to a national championship as a freshman.