Nerlens Noel: 'Chip on his mind
Tilton's 6-10 center is already focused on the end goal for the 2011-12 season
"To win a national 'chip," the 6-10 center told Fivestarbasketball.com on Tuesday.
Noel anchors a loaded Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.) squad, featuring 6-7 senior power forward, Georges Niang, who's committed to Iowa State, along with 6-3 senior shooting guard Domonique Bull, 6-9 junior center Goodluck Okonoboh and highly touted 6-4 2014 sophomore wing, Wayne Selden.
Reigning 2011 NESPSAC AA champions, Tilton also won three consecutive ('08-'10) NEPSAC Class B Championships and a 2009 National Prep School title before making the leap to a higher class.
Noel's coming off a monstrous summer, where he led BABC to a 80-4 overall record and No. 2 standing in the final Five-Star Top 25, while winning a coveted Peach Jam title in the process.
Never complacent with his skill development, Noel's spending much of the preseason in the gym and weight room.
"Just getting stronger and working on my offensive skills and fundamentals," he said.
Listed at 215 pounds, Noel can afford to expand his frame a bit. But he has the length, speed and tools to evolve into an offensive force, though he hasn't needed to score much with Tilton's existing firepower.
Defensively, it's nearly impossible to find any high school player with Noel's ability to protect the basket and turn away or alter opponent's shots. Five-Star rated PG Andrew Harrison (Houston Defenders/Travis H.S.) called him the "best shot blocker he's ever played against."
And while BABC Head Coach Leo Papile compares the big man's game to Bill Russell, Noel said he strives to be more like Kevin Garnett.
How so, we asked. "For his [Garnett's] intensity, heart, leadership and will to win," Noel responded. Four traits that Noel, Rivals' No. 3 ranked player in 2013 and No. 1 center, already possesses.
He has all of the intangibles and on-court skills necessary to chase that national 'chip. Now Noel just needs to execute, and that mission starts now. In the gym and in the weight room.