Cindi Merrill and Frank Smith, Assistant Directors of Enforcement for the NCAA, were officially dispatched yesterday to begin an inquiry involving Nerlens Noel. Noel, widely regarded the top basketball recruit of 2012, announced his “decision” to sign with the Kentucky Wildcats during the course of a 2 hour special presentation hosted by ESPN. The inquiry, at least at this point, appears focused on potential eligibility issues, and not the recruitment itself. Merrill and Smith arrived yesterday in Everett (Mass.) and met for an hour with Everett High Principal Louis Baldi. Noel attended Everett as a Freshman and Sophomore. The inquiry appears motivated by concerns raised by Tilton School officials concerning some of the adults involved in Noel’s life. Tilton is the New Hampshireboarding school Noel has attended for going on two years.There’s little doubt the NCAA is looking to clean house of the “handlers” and “advisers” involved in the recruitment of many high level basketball prospects. One such “advise”, former Providence Assistant Coach Chris Driscoll, is apparently close with Noel and was recently barred from campus by Tilton officials. Staff was apparently concerned Driscoll “didn’t have Noel’s best interests at heart”. According the to “The Times also reports that the NCAA is investigation Noel’s relationship with Chris Driscoll, a former Providence assistant, and with Errol Randolph, a former substitute teacher at Everett High who has a connection with agent Andy Miller. The newspaper also reports that the investigators are curious about how Noel paid for unofficial visits to Louisville and Kentucky earlier this year.”

Little doubt there’s more to come on the Noel side, and as previously discussed in my piece on Shabazz Muhammad (“Decision or Done Deal?“), there’s plenty of smoke surrounding this year’s top recruits. The NCAA won’t take satisfaction in stamping out the fire behind the smoke, my guess is they’re gunning for the flash point.

  1. […] Nerlens Noel – And so it begins… […]

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