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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  1. Gary says:

    Not surprising. I expected it once he reclassified & before he signed with UK

  2. Mark Liptak says:

    Not surprising, I expected it because it’s Pete Thamel.

    Mark Liptak

  3. Mark Liptak says:

    Thamel was on the Scott Van Pelt radio show today and among his charges were:

    Noel would probably not be able to play next season due to academics. (Have never heard about any academic issues, have you John?)Thamel said he has to much academic work to do this summer to qualify.

    Thamel said the NCAA is looking into how he afforded to go to Tilton high school and that the NCAA is looking into how he paid for his unofficial visits to Louisville and Kentucky.

    Sounds like the Muhammed situation from a few months ago.

    Four consecutive May’s now that Thamel has done something on UK recruiting. (But there’s no agenda there is there?) LOL.

    Wonder if Pete’s going to do something on Bennett now that he’s going to go to UNLV regarding his academic and other issues that caused UK to back off…naw probably not.

    Mark Liptak

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