Everyone was invited last night as Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel racked up 12 blocks in a victory over #16 Ole Miss. Kyle Wiltjer scored a career high 26 points, and Archie Goodwin had his best game since November (24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 6-11 FG, 12-14 FT). Not even the presence of Marshall Henderson could overshadow Noel’s dominance on the defensive end. The 12 blocks is a new Kentucky single-game block record.
A day after winning SEC Freshman of the Week, for the 2nd straight week, Noel’s performance in Oxford has made waves through the college basketball world. Ole Miss’ Murphy Holloway says Noel is better than Anthony Davis. Through 20 games, Noel has 95 blocks compared to 93 for Davis. Skip Bayless says Noel’s performance made him some NBA money, and is one of the most dominating displays he has ever seen. Noel blocked nine layups, a dunk and two jumpers last night and kept nine of his 12 blocks in play. Those numbers are Bill Russell-esque. The 12 blocks is the 5th most among NCAA freshmen, and 3rd most all-time in SEC history. Since blocks started being recorded in 1984-85, only 18 Division I players have had more blocks in a single game than Noel did last night.
Now to put the icing on the historical cake. In 16 SEC games, Anthony Davis blocked 79 shots. Noel has 48 blocks in 7 game s, which means he is averaging a shade under 7 blocks per game in league play. If Noel continues this pace, he will rack up over 100 blocks and completely shatter the mark set by last June’s #1 NBA Draft Pick. When the conversation started comparing Noel to Davis, the words out of everyone’s mouth was “that’s not fair.” Davis won the championship, every major award, #1 draft pick, and a gold medal. Noel may not leave Kentucky as decorated as Davis, but he may prove to be more of a force.