With Nerlens Noel's school-record 12-block performance Tuesday against Ole Miss, he moves into 2nd all-time on the single-season block list, behind only Anthony Davis. However, unlike last season, Noel seems to be blocking shots a bit more under the radar.
"Because we aren't winning like last year, If we were winning like last year, Nerlens would get all the praise," said John Calipari.
Even more impressive, Noel has turned up his blocking average during SEC play, and through the first 20 games of the season, he's swatted 95 shots. By comparison, Davis deflected 93 shots through the first 20 games.
But these are two very talented players with different skill sets, so let's take a look at all their stats through 20 games.
Noel earns the blocking lead by a narrow margin, while Davis scored 69 more points to this point. No big man in the country has more steals than Noel, who currently has 47. Davis finished his one season at UK with only 54 steals. Davis was a rebounding machine with 206, compared to Noel's 185. But when it comes to passing, the edge goes to Noel.
One thing that stats don't measure is leadership. It's something Calipari says Noel must improve upon.
"I just told him like I told John Wall and a couple of the others: take people with you. I don't care that you're doing all this and stuff''s good. Take some other guys with you. Grab them. If they don't want to go, push them aside, but take guys with you. It's not just you. Take them with you. Let's all play well," Calipari said.
If Noel wants to pass Davis' single-season record of 186, he will need help from his teammates. After all, Davis benefited from three SEC Tournament games and six NCAA Tournament games to pad his stats.