While he spends the next few weeks preparing for the Jordan Brand Classic, Nerlens Noel shares his experience with SLAMonline! Check daily to read up on his preparation leading to the April 14 tipoff. For more on the game, including how to buy tickets, rosters and alumni, visit the game’s official website, JordanBrandClassic.com.
As told to Peter Walsh
Ever since I was a little kid, the Jordan Brand Classic has been one of the All-Star games that I always watched. Now that I am officially playing in it, it’s like a dream come true. When I got the news, I was real thankful for the opportunity and now I’m getting ready and working on my game to show everyone what I got. I’m excited to get down to Charlotte and start working out with everyone else. I’m cool with almost all of these guys, so it will be great to catch up with everybody and see how they are all doing.
My game is definitely defensive-oriented; I love to block shots, grab rebounds and be the anchor down low. I lead by example, so I’m always playing hard and being the leader on my team. Offensively, my game is still developing. I like to get out and run the floor, but I’m also working on my post moves and my jumper so I can stretch the floor and become more of a threat on that end of the floor.
Our team (Tilton, NH) didn’t have as good a season as we expected. We finished with a strong record, but fell short in the playoffs, which was pretty disappointing. I played well throughout the year, but I would have really liked to finish my high school career with a championship so I could have gone out on top.
I’ve been watching a lot of the NCAA Tournament—pretty much every game. I was very impressed with CJ McCollum, he lit it up against Duke and I really like his game. I’m also a big fan of Jae Crowder, he’s always playing hard and is the leader on that team. I think that the final will be between Kentucky and Ohio State, but I can’t decide who I like more; both teams are very talented and well coached. If they meet in the final game, it will be one of the best matchups of the Tournament.
I’ve narrowed my list down to three schools: Syracuse, Kentucky and Georgetown. Basically, I’m just looking for a school where I feel comfortable that has a style of play that’s more up and down so I can get out in the open court and play to my strengths. I don’t let the whole recruiting process get to me, I try not to think about it. I spend a lot of time playing video games and hanging out with my friends so I can enjoy my last month of high school.
I can’t wait to get down to Charlotte and start working out with the rest of the guys!