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Rothstein Files: Breaking Down Potential Suitors For Nerlens Noel

(credit: Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

(credit: Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

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By Jon Rothstein
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With National Signing Day set for Wednesday, we break down the potential suitors for Nerlens Noel, the top big man in the Class of 2012.

TOP SUITORS FOR NERLENS NOEL (CENTER, THE TILTON SCHOOL)

1. KENTUCKY

THE ODDS: 2-1

THE SKINNY: Despite facing stiff competition from Georgetown, everything we’re gathering leading up to Wednesday’s decision leads us to believe that Noel will arrive in Lexington as the sole replacement for Anthony Davis in the middle. While he’s not quite as gifted offensively as Davis, Noel might be a better defensive player in terms of protecting the rim. With no big man set to man the pivot next season for Kentucky, Noel is the most pivotal recruit for John Calipari in the Class of 2012.

KENTUCKY’S PROJECTED 2012-13 STARTING FIVE WITH NERLENS NOEL

PG Ryan Harrow
SG Shabazz Muhammad/Archie Goodwin
SF Alex Poythress
PF Kyle Wiltjer
C Nerlens Noel

2. GEORGETOWN

THE ODDS: 6-1

THE SKINNY: The Hoyas’ tradition of great big men obviously helped them in the Noel sweepstakes but it would take a monumental upset for Georgetown to upend Calipari in this race. Without Noel, Georgetown has a slew of question marks after the departures of Jason Clark, Henry Sims, and Hollis Thompson. With him, they immediately become a Big East contender as he would form a potent front court alongside sophomores to be Greg Whittington and Otto Porter.

GEORGETOWN’S PROJECTED 2012-13 STARTING FIVE WITH NERLENS NOEL

PG Markel Starks
SG D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera
SF Greg Whittington
PF Otto Porter
C Nerlens Noel

3. SYRACUSE

THE ODDS: 20-1

THE SKINNY: While the first two teams on this list desperately need Noel to be a force next season, Syracuse doesn’t. The Orange are already loaded on the baseline next season with incoming freshmen Dajuan Coleman along with sophomore Rakeem Christmas and juniors to be C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita. From everything we’re gathering, it’s unlikely Noel winds up spending next season at the Carrier Dome.

SU’S PROJECTED 2012-13 STARTING FIVE WITH NERLENS NOEL

PG Michael Carter-Williams
SG Brandon Triche
SF James Southerland
PF C.J. Fair
C Nerlens Noel

Where do you think he’ll go? Be heard in the comments below!