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Nerlens Noel: Give me two years at UK over going pro after high school

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

Possible No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, Nerlens Noel, went on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday and discussed a few new things about his college experience, his season-ending knee injury and what the conversation with coach John Calipari was like when he decided to leave Kentucky. Noel also went into detail about knee rehab, his connection to Boston (in the wake of the bombings) and the desire to play against Kevin Garnett next season.

But Patrick, who's one of the best radio interviewers out there, asked Noel a good question amid talk of Kentucky, one-and-done players and the like. First, he asked Noel what his thoughts on the one-and-done rule were, and then he posed this scenario: go to the NBA out of high school or play two years at Kentucky? If those were the only options, which would Noel have chosen?

Noel was definitely caught off-guard by the question. He took his time in answering but ultimately said he'd have picked the two-year route over the immediate jump out of high school. That clip begins around the 2:55 mark in the video above.

This opens up an interesting discussion. It seems we're closer to getting a two-year rule than going back to how it used to be, with high school players eligible right away to leave for the pros. The rule, which is the NBA's and not the NCAA's, is constantly under attack. But what if it was an either/or? I've waffled on what protocol I want/like best for some time now, but I think this is the most reasonable one, the rule that could appease the most people.

So, how about it? There is no trial period. You can commit to the NBA directly out of high school, or you've got to wait two seasons before you can put your name in the draft. That seems fair and probably the most transparently beneficial to the pros and college. Those who have the option, confidence and desire to make the immediate leap can do so. Anyone else who has enough doubt will have at least two seasons to introduce themselves to the sporting public.

The college game would lose guys like Noel, Shabazz Muhammad and Anthony Bennett more often than not. But if familiarity means more to the greater good of college hoops than fleeting star power, the NBA and NCAA need to (finally) have some formal meetings and consider the bigger picture. The middle ground is there; the sides just need to once and for all agree to convene there.

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