Nerlens Noel quotes from Tuesday press conference - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Nerlens Noel quotes from Tuesday press conference

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UK Men's Basketball
Lexington, Ky.

April 23, 2013

 

Nerlens Noel


On his knee injury recovery …

"The knee is doing good. I have been working hard in rehab. My physical therapist has been telling me I am ahead of schedule and I'm coming along really well."

On interacting with orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews …
"He (told) me when I had the surgery that it went very well. He's told me to make sure I take things slow and stay focused on physical therapy. That's the key thing."

On being patient with his recovery …
"It is hard to be patient especially during the season. Just seeing my teammates out there playing and wishing I was out there playing with them. There's not much you can do except stay focused on physical therapy and give it 100 percent."

On his decision to declare for the NBA Draft …
"There was a consideration about coming back, but anybody that gets injured is probably going to have the consideration and think about it. I sat there with my family and saw the extent of my injury. I thought it wasn't going to affect me in the draft too much. I've definitely been tackling the rehab. My decision with my family was probably the best decision for me."

On reasons for considering returning to UK for his sophomore season …
"The Big Blue Nation. I loved playing here. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Great fans, a great atmosphere and playing in Rupp Arena felt like a once in a lifetime thing. I will never get to do that again. It was a hard decision. I love the Big Blue Nation, I love Coach Cal. That was one of the best things to do here."

On the incoming UK basketball freshman class …
"I played with half of those guys when I was in their class before I was classified up. I know how good they are. They are really good, they're really good kids. That would have been a really special team if I had stayed. Those are great kids though. They're going to have a great team next year. Even Alex (Poythress) and Willie (Cauley-Stein) coming back is going to give them good leadership just like Terrence Jones and Doran Lamb did (in 2011-12). Those were the key players they needed to win that championship. I feel they will be very good next year."

On paying attention to NBA mock drafts …
"I don't pay attention to those at all. I just stay focused on my physical therapy. I try to keep my mind right."

On what it would mean to be the No. 1 draft pick …
"It would be a dream come true being the first pick in the NBA Draft. That's something you dream about when you're a kid. I would be very blessed to be in that position."

On his thoughts the days after his injury and its effect on his draft status …
"When I heard about my injury a lot goes through your head. When it first happens you don't know what the injury is. You don't know if you will ever play basketball or whether you'll be playing a month from now. When I heard what the injury was I knew I'd get back on the court as fast as I could and get back to what I love doing."

On what he's hearing from the NBA about his possible draft position …
"I don't hear anything. That isn't a priority to listen to what they say. I'm my own player, and I just have to worry about getting better, getting stronger, getting my leg stronger and getting right back on that court."

On watching the UK season after getting injured …
"It was very tough just watching those guys play knowing I could have helped them in so many ways. I'm proud of those guys. They played as hard as they could. They fought; they beat two of the best teams in the league without me. You can't underestimate those guys. Things just didn't roll their way sometimes on the road. I love those guys. They played their hearts out. I'll always be proud of them no matter what."

On how good Willie Cauley-Stein can be …
"Another year Willie can be one of the best big men in the country, definitely. I'm sure he will be. Willie is a freak athlete. He's 7-foot; he's fast, strong, quick. He has all the intangibles to be great. I mean next year, I'm sure he is going to dominate the collegiate rankings and move on to bigger and better things."

On how Willie Cauley-Stein has changed since the beginning of the year …
"A lot. A lot. He has made so much progress in his game, even mentally. Early on, Willie wasn't too confident about things but as the season went on he has gotten so much more confident. He's so sure about himself that there were times in practices that he would just dominate. You would see flashes. Willie has come a really long way physically and mentally and he's really coming into his own as a player."

On his injury giving him or other players a different perspective …
"You have to go out and play hard every day. You can't take it for granted; you have to cherish the game you love and play. I feel like that's what I did. Things like this happen you're a human being; you're going to get hurt sometimes. You just have to stay focused and be ready to fight and get back to doing what you love."

On what exactly caused his injury …
"I don't really want to recollect that. It's over. That's not what I'm really thinking about. I'm just thinking about moving forward and getting back on the court."

On what they are telling him about getting back on the court …
"We're just taking it step-by-step. It's a six to eight month injury, I had surgery six weeks ago so it will probably be around Christmas time but you never know. It's a long healing process. I'm just staying focused and doing my rehab."

On the events that happened in Boston …
"That definitely affected me, just growing up in that city, born and raised, and to see that happen you just can't think of a human being that would do that. People run in the Boston Marathon from all over the country. Everybody is out there having fun, enjoying themselves, for something they have prepared so long for. That was a very tragic happening. Seeing it on TV all day, that was the same day that I had declared but that wasn't even on my mind the rest of the day, just me sending my prayers out for everybody that was affected that day."

On what he was doing the day of the Boston Marathon …
"I actually woke up that morning and went to rehab, I declared that same morning but I was in rehab and it was all over the TV. Even when I got home, I was lying in bed just looking for updates, making sure everybody that I knew back home was OK."


On how being in college for a year benefited him …
"It benefited me a lot, especially playing here under coach Calipari and the coaching staff. There are no pushovers here, they want you to be the best you can be and they don't accept anything less. Coach Cal has taught me so much on and off the court, how to be a good person and really know how to have a good work ethic. He made us love to work. Just carry yourself, a lot of life lessons that not any regular coach would teach you about off the court."

On his one year a Kentucky …

"This was one of the best experiences of my life being here. Regardless if you have to stay three, four years, these are the best times of your life whether you're here one or three years, regardless."

 

On the one-and-done rule …

"There is a lot of politics. I don't really get into that. Both sides are reasonable as to why they should come out of high school and why they should stay a year in college, or two. I don't get into that too much. I focus on what I have to do. If I have to come to school for a year, I do it."

 

On if he regrets the play that tore his ACL with the score being what it was …

"No. No way. We weren't down too much. Regardless of the score, I wasn't going to let them get that easy basket. I will not be embarrassed in any type of way. I will not give them an easy basket. I just wanted to keep fighting and give my team the best chance of getting back in a fighting position to win that game."

 

On the healing process …

"I'm taking it in stride. If I'm ready, I'm ready. If I'm not ready, I'm not ready. The main focus right now is to keep working so I am ready when my body tells me I am. You just take it one step at a time."

 

On where he is right now in the healing timeline …

"Today is the six-week point. I am doing everything out of the brace. All of my exercises, so that tells I am ahead of schedule. I can tell I have had a lot of muscle added back in my leg, but it takes a while to heal and get two and two in the body with the nerve system. I am taking it slow, with exercise and agility."

 

On being a community role model …

"God blessed me with my God-given talents. I remember when I was one of those little kids and I looked up to them as a role model. When I would see someone that I looked up too, I wouldn't mind if he came to visit me. That's the way I looked at it.  I try to look back and give back to people who aren't as fortunate as myself. Anything I can do to make a kid smile, or make their day better, whether it would be cancer or leukemia, anything that's life threatening. I just do my best to give back to them, especially to kids who aren't as fortunate as me."

 

On what he will be doing at the NBA Combine …

"I have seen the combine. It was on TV. I have seen what the actual players will do. But, going in with the injury I have right now, I'm not sure I'll be able to do too much, besides get checked out by the doctors. Maybe I can shoot some free throws, or talk to GM's, but as far as that, I don't think I'll be doing too much."