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Calipari: Kentucky’s prized freshman has been cleared to play

Nerlens Noel is good to go, and so Kentucky can go back to being a Final Four favorite. (US Presswire) Kentucky coach John Calipari said on national television Wednesday that prized freshman Nerlens Noel “is cleared to practice and cleared to play games,” meaning the 6-foot-10 center appears to have any and all amateurism issues behind him. Consequently, he should be available when the Wildcats open on Nov. 9 in Brooklyn against Maryland.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams confirmed the news to USA Today.

An NCAA source also confirmed the news to CBSSports.com.

Noel’s eligibility had long been considered up in the air because of perceived red flags surrounding his high school career, most of which were reported by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.

Interestingly, an NCAA source told CBSSports.com on Wednesday that one of the final issues about Noel’s amateur status that needed to be resolved was how he once paid for an unofficial visit to Louisville. In other words, an unofficial visit to Kentucky’s biggest rival played a role in the uncertainty that has for months surrounded the Wildcats’ best recruit.

But now the uncertainty seems in the past … unless, of course, further issues surface during or after the season like they once did for another Calipari recruit, Derrick Rose. Either way, now the attention turns to UCLA — where Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson await word on whether they’ll be allowed to play, and if so, when. Both heralded recruits are also facing amateurism questions. CBSSports.com first reported Muhammad’s connection to two financial advisors last February.

Tags: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky Wildcats, NCAAB
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