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Noel to Wiggins: 'Stay humble'

Nerlens Noel knows what it's like to reclassify and take over the No. 1 spot like Andrew Wiggins


9:25 AM, Oct. 26, 2012 EDT

Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, who reclassified last year, has some advice for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep star Andrew Wiggins. / US PRESSWIRE

In February, when Nerlens Noel announced that he would indeed be reclassifying from the class of 2013 to 2012, he instantly moved up in the ESPN 100 from No. 2 in the junior class to No. 1 in the senior class, bumping Shabazz Muhammad to second best in the process.

It was a move that Muhammad, now a freshman at UCLA, openly disagreed with. 

“Me and Nerlens are cool, so it's got nothing to do with him, but I just didn't get it," Muhammad told ESPN in March. "He's a great player, but he's a shot-blocker. And I don't think that's a good thing to have at No. 1 for your service.”

It certainly wasn’t the first criticism Noel, now a freshman at Kentucky, heard after receiving the coveted No. 1 ranking, and as a result he’s “got a little advice” for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep wing Andrew Wiggins.

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“Thick skin,” Noel said. “Gotta have it.”

On Thursday, Wiggins reclassified from 2014 to 2013 and managed to retain his No. 1 ranking in the process.

That meant, depending on which rankings you fancy, Wiggins either dethroned Simeon (Chicago) wing Jabari Parker (ESPN 100) or Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) forward Julius Randle (Rivals150).

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Both of which have said in the last week that they “don’t pay attention to rankings.”

Now that Wiggins, per the rankings, is the consensus No. 1 player in the country, Noel said “it’s important for Andrew to stay focused and just be humble about it.”

“He’s just got to tune out all the hype that’s coming now,” Noel said of Wiggins. “And just continue to focus on going hard. If he does that he’ll be fine.”

Jason Jordan is a High School Sports reporter for USA TODAY. He can be reached at jcjordan@usatoday.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

 

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