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By LARRY VAUGHT
Nerlens Noel says he developed his basketball skills playing against his father, Yonel, and older brothers Jim and Rodman during backyard pickup games or by watching Boston Celtics games on television with them.
“It started with them in the backyard playing two-on-two. It just really grew on us. Our love for the game grew. My brothers always pushed me. They were hard on me. I mean, look what it has done for me now. Put me in a great position and given me a chance to play at the University of Kentucky. That’s real special. I credit my family for that,” Noel said.
Jim Noel is now a 6-4, 200-pound senior defensive back at Boston College. Rodman Noel is a 6-3, 210-pound sophomore linebacker at North Carolina State. Jim Noel was a basketball, football and track standout in high school and Rodman Noel was a basketball and football standout.
Nerlens Noel also played football.
“I played my whole life growing up, he said. “I played a lot of positions — quarterback, running back, safety, receiver, corner, defensive end. I threw that ball real good. I gave up football after my sophomore year in high school when I played quarterback and receiver.”
Does he ever think of maybe playing college football even now?
“They could throw me in. I don’t mind. I could line up at receiver and go grab a few balls for Kentucky,” he said.