NCAA begins looking into people surrounding Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel

Pete Thamel of the New York Times is reporting that two members of the NCAA Enforcement staff are looking into people who surround UK basketball signee Nerlens Noel.


Cindi Merrill and Frank Smith, assistant directors of enforcement with the N.C.A.A., went to Everett High School on Tuesday to meet with school officials about the 6-foot-10 Noel, who spent his freshman and sophomore years there. Merrill and Smith specialize in basketball-related issues.

The Everett High School principal, Louis Baldi, said the meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and centered on “concerns we had as adults” for Noel. He said the conversation was similar to one he had with a reporter in February about Noel’s background and the people surrounding him.

The NCAA is apparently interested in knowing more about Noel’s relationships  with former Providence assistant Chris Driscoll and former substitute teacher Errol Randolph, who may have a link with basketball agent Andy Miller.

There are also questions about how Noel paid for unofficial visits. Those questions were asked about former UK player John Wall, who ended up serving a brief suspension because it was determined advisor and mentor Brian Clifton had helped pay expenses for Wall visits.

Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk wrote of the Noel story: “The fact of the matter is that every recruit at Noel’s level is going to have some unsavory people circling around them, looking for a way to make a couple dollars, and it’s the NCAA’s job to determine whether or not any rules were violated in the process. All this report tells us is that the NCAA has begun looking into Noel. It will be relevant if/when they find something punishable.”

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