In every draft, there’s a guy who sits and waits for his name to be called, growing more anguished with every pick on which he is passed up.
At the NBA Draft on Thursday night, that guy was Nerlens Noel, the Kentucky big man whose college season was cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament in mid-February. Noel looked increasingly disappointed as the first five teams passed on the chance to draft him. Finally, with the sixth pick, the New Orleans Pelicans rescued him. Nerlins didn’t last long with N’Orleans, though. The Pelicans quickly traded him and a first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick.
Noel promised not to forget the night’s slights.
“Oh yeah, I’m going to make them pay,” Noel told USA Today’s Scott Gleeson.
Noel was considered a possible top pick before hurting his knee and he said his mother is his inspiration.
“Coming to America from Haiti, working two jobs, she never quit so I could be where I’m at today,” Noel said. “I wasn’t about to give up.”