(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — University of Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel officially declared for the 2013 NBA Draft Monday.
“I’ve learned so much here at UK and am thankful for Coach (John) Calipari, the staff and my teammates for all of their support,” Noel said. “I especially appreciate the Big Blue Nation and all of the support, prayers and well-wishes I’ve received from them during my rehab and decision-making process. I’ll always be a Wildcat!”
The 6-foot-10 Noel tore his left ACL in Kentucky’s game versus Florida on February 12. Noel had knee surgery shortly thereafter and is still recovering. Despite the injury, Noel is expected by most to be the first pick of the draft.
Before the injury, Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 boards and led the nation in blocks with 4.4 per game.
Noel becomes the second Wildcats to declare for the draft. Fellow freshman Archie Goodwin declared earlier in the month.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN