Noel Down to Five

Nerlens Noel

A frantic recruiting process for Nerlens Noel has taken a bit of a step back as the Tilton School (NH) wraps-up the basketball season. The top prospect in 2012 will be on the move shortly after, but he cut down his list of possible destinations in the process.

Nerlens Noel is still the hottest commodity for any college basketball program, but the list for his services just got shorter. The 6-foot-10, 205-pound instant-impact big man dropped a pair of schools from contention.

"Kentucky, Georgetown, Syracuse, UConn and North Carolina," he said of the schools still in the mix. "I just started over with myself, and I though which schools would I be seriously considering? I thought those were the main schools I'm looking to take a better look into."

But don't expect the list to get cut again in the near-future, as Noel will focus on finishing up the season at the Tilton School (NH) before making his next move.

"Yea, when the season ends I have a break and that's when I'll be taking the visits," said the consensus No. 1 overall prospect. "I still haven't gotten to all the schools, so I'm just waiting for that opportunity to come along in the next couple of weeks."

Noel dropped Providence and Florida from consideration, and he is hoping to visit Carolina, Connecticut and Georgetown sometime in March. As for his final decision, there is still not a clear picture.

"No timeframe, I'm just making sure I take the visits during March break," he re-iterated. "After the visits, I'll take some time with my family and make a decision."

While location is not a factor, Noel is looking for a place with recent success and a shot at a championship even though he has the chance to elevate a program that may not necessarily be a title contender.

"A place where I could go and play and become myself," he said of his desired school. "And for however long I'm there, to compete for a National Championship."

The defensive specialist already visited Syracuse and Lexington to check out the two top teams in America right now, and both Coach John Calipari and Coach Jim Boeheim have courted Noel based on who may not be there next season. Noel wouldn't name names, but the possible departures of UK's Anthony Davis and SU's Fab Melo are two situations considered to affect his recruitment.

Still, Noel doesn't necessarily envision himself as a one-and-done candidate just yet despite being placed atop some early 2013 NBA Draft boards.

"Whichever school I go to, however long I'm there, I just look at how they can develop for the time that you're there for," he explained. "Whether one or three, two years – it doesn't matter. It's just how they develop you."

As for players he knows on the team's vying for his services, Noel said they have respected his recruitment and kept their distance to a point.

"They don't really tell me too much, they don't pressure me," he said of players like the Orange's Michael Carter-Williams, who he played AAU ball with. "They tell me how I can benefit if I come to their program.

"I really wouldn't want them to recruit me."

As always, stay on Scout.com for the latest on Noel and the rest of the Class of 2012.

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