Nerlens Noel is still the SEC’s best bet to win Freshman of the Year

Nerlens Noel - photo by Tammie Brown |
Nerlens Noel – photo by Tammie Brown |

Handicapping the ’s Freshman of the Year race didn’t take much effort back on February 10. was fresh off of his third straight double-double and was the anchor behind ’s rise from the Tournament bubble to the Top 25. In 10 games, he had averaged 10.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.7 blocks per game to lead the Wildcats to an 8-2 conference record. More than halfway through the season, the award was his to lose. Through no fault of his own, he may have.

Noel tore the ACL of his left knee in the middle of a loss to last week, ending his season and possibly his career. His absence has left a big hole around the rim for and created a void at the top of the league’s freshman pecking order. With Noel out for the final four weeks of conference play, the Freshman of the Year (FrOY) award is seemingly up for grabs. However, a lackluster crop of first-year players means that ’s injured center might still be the league’s best bet to win the honors.