Kentucky's Nerlens Noel to enter NBA Draft

USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel will enter the 2013 NBA Draft. Despite tearing his ACL in February, he remains the consensus top prospect in the draft.

Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel officially announced on Monday that he will be leaving Lexington after one season and entering the 2013 NBA Draft.

Noel followed in the footsteps of 2012 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals during an injury-shortened freshman campaign. Noel led the SEC in rebounding and blocked shots, and his 106 blocks were second all-time behind Davis in Kentucky single-season history.

Noel's excellent freshman campaign was cut short when he suffered a gruesome ACL tear in a loss to Florida on Feb. 12. The 6'11 big man underwent surgery in March and will likely miss the start of the next NBA season. Whoever drafts Noel is sure to be extra-cautious with his rehab, as there's no reason to rush him back from the injury.

Prior to tearing his ACL, Noel was the consensus top prospect in the upcoming draft. The injury has not really changed anything, as he should be able to make a full recovery and get back to the high level of play he was at pre-injury. Both ESPN's Chad Ford and DraftExpress still have Noel as the No. 1 prospect in this year's draft.

The Charlotte Bobcats are currently in line to have the most ping pong balls at the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery.

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