A hectic night only seems fitting after a hectic single season with the Kentucky Wildcats. Nerlens Noel stepped onto the Lexington campus expected to lead the ‘Cats to a second-consecutive national title.
However, things went awry quickly, both in the loss column and eventually for his personal health. Still recovering from a torn ACL suffered against SEC rival Florida, the now-former Kentucky big man slipped down the 2013 NBA Draft board on Thursday night.
Noel was projected by some to be selected No. 1-overall by Cleveland, but after the Cavs chose UNLV’s Anthony Bennett instead, Noel wound up waiting far longer than most expected.
Finally, with the sixth-overall selection, Noel was smiling, showing off the Kentucky lining inside of his suit, and popping a Pelicans hat onto his head. At the moment, he thought he would be playing with another former Wildcats star in Anthony Davis.
But just like Noel’s freshman season, things did not go nearly as expected. Before he had even finished his post-selection press conference, New Orleans had traded his rights to Philadelphia for guard Jrue Holliday and a first-round pick in 2014.
Welcome to the 2013 NBA Draft- better known as the Barclays Center Swap Shop.