With the top two high school men’s basketball recruits in the ESPNU 100 set to declare their college decision tonight at 7:30 ET on ESPNU, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and examine what these kids have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Take Nerlens Noel, the No. 1 recruit in the ESPNU 100, who’s deciding among the University of Kentucky, Syracuse University, and Georgetown University. In an ongoing blog on ESPN.com, Noel’s been describing his recruiting process since reclassifying from the class of 2013 to the class of 2012.
For some of this stuff, you have to read it to believe it.
Noel was down in New Orleans for the All-American Championships the same weekend of the Final Four, and as you might imagine, Kentucky fans were out in droves. Here, Noel describes his experience on Bourbon Street:
I literally got stopped hundreds of times and took dozens and dozens of pictures. The fans were showing me so much love out there, and I definitely have to say that most of the fans were from Kentucky. Now, of course that had a lot to do with the fact that they were playing there, but I'm always just shocked at how dedicated Kentucky fans are. One man asked me if I wanted to take his wife home with me."
Surprised at the level of celebrity these 17- and 18-year-olds have already attained? Their Twitter followings are more proof. Noel’s handle, @NerlensNoel3, has more than 20,000 followers, while the Twitter account of Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 2 recruit in the ESPNU 100, has 30,000-plus followers.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.