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John Calipari says Nerlens Noel and Anthony Davis are ‘totally different’


No. 1 overall pick, Team USA member, and former Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis might, on the surface, appear to have some similarities to incoming UK freshman Nerlens Noel, but don’t tell that John Calipari.

“He shouldn’t be compared,” Calipari told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “They’re totally different. They’re not even the same. Nerlens is going to give us a different type of game. Anthony understood how to compete on possessions. Nerlens is still learning. Like, he’ll take possessions off. Well, you can’t do that. What he is, is a normal freshman.”

It’s interesting that Calipari would call Noel “normal,” being that he is 6-10, averaged close to four blocks per game last season, and is expected by some to challenge Davis’ blocks record, set last season.

Last year around this time, Calipari said of Davis that he was “a little ahead” of Marcus Camby, the former UMass star.

Davis even weighed in, himself, when he returned to campus last month.

“I asked Anthony, ‘How was Nerlens?’ because that’s who he matched up against mostly,” Calipari recalled, as quoted by the paper. “He said, ‘He’s good, Coach. He’ll block some shots.’ I said, ‘How was he offensively?’ He said, ‘I kind of pushed him off the post.’ I said, ‘You pushed him off the post?’ Which is kind of like, OK, we’ve got to teach the kid how to sit down and hold your position until he gets stronger. But what he is, he’s not ever going to be Shaq.”

So what is to expect from Nerlens Noel this season? We’ll get our first glimpse at him later this month at Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness. Until then, we might just have to take Calipari’s word for it.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_