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Report: NCAA inquiring about top-ranked Nerlens Noel

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

The NCAA has begun inquiring about top-ranked recruit Nerlens Noel, according to a report by Pete Thamel of The New York Times.

Thamel reported on Tuesday that the NCAA sent two assistant directors of enforcement to Everett High School (Mass.), where Noel spent his first two years of high school before transferring to Tilton School (N.H.). Noel committed to Kentucky last month, choosing the Wildcats over Georgetown and Syracuse.

The meeting between Everett school officials and the NCAA lasted more than an hour, but the participants would not reveal specifics.

Sources told Thamel that the NCAA's inquiry centers around Noel's relationship with Chris Driscoll and Errol Randolph. Driscoll is a former Providence assistant coach who is among Noel's advisors, while Randolph is a former substitute teacher at Everett High School.

Thamel did an expose earlier this year on Noel, which included a look into his relationships with the people in his inner circle – including Driscoll, Randolph and others. Driscoll had been banned from Tilton's campus and had a falling-out with BABC, Noel's former AAU program. As for Randolph, Tuesday's report references a link on a social networking page between Randolph and Andy Miller, a basketball agent with ASM Sports.

The report also states that the NCAA is looking into Noel's finances, including how Noel was able to fly to Kentucky and Louisville on unofficial visits. Unofficial visits cannot be paid for by the university; earlier this year, Noel's advisors said that Noel's father paid for the visits.

Academics are another issue with Noel, and Tilton's headmaster Jim Clements told Thamel he wouldn't be surprised if the NCAA reached out. According to Clements, Noel is on track to graduate – but still has work to do.

Clements said he was unsure whether Noel would qualify academically for a scholarship.

“I'm sure there will be a little drama,” Clements said in the report. “It will get played out, but it won't be here.”

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