Thursday, October 22, 2015

Quick Learner Sandro Noel On The Rise

When Sandro Noel first started playing basketball, just four years ago to be exact, he was extremely raw.

It's hard to imagine he'd be where he is today. Now one of the nation's quickest rising mid-major recruits, the wide-open Noel is sifting through a growing list of potential suitors.

Lacking the fundamentals and initially struggling to grasp the intricacies of the game, Noel embodied the often overused "work-in-progress tag affiliated with late-bloomers.

He barely knew how to set a pick.

Shit, he was out there posting up with his hands in his pockets.

That's truly what makes Noel's rapid ascension so unique.

With innate athleticism as well as a chiseled football-basketball body, Noel oozed of potent promise. He can score at all three levels, bag shots consistently from 20-feet out and beyond. His team first mentality and coachable nature has additionally added appeal to his Division 1 stock.

 Back in the day when Noel was firing up jumpers at a bandbox gym at Potential Church in South Florida, an AAU coach stumbled upon a big kid who displayed flashes of monstrous strength and rarified athleticism.

 He didn't always make the best decisions with the rock or have a great understanding of the game, but the build and the hops were there. There was a learning curve, one which Noel has worked diligently at mastering these last few months.

Several local area Miami AAU coaches took note of the kid. They implored Noel to pursue the game with a serious approach.

An unassuming and inexperienced kid bought into the advice and soon made hoops his livelihood.

As Elev8 Prep head coach Chad Myers and assistant George Johnson were quick to point out, Noel is super active in causing defensive disruption at multiple positions.

The issue Noel creates for foes is his ability to guard all five positions.

 Barreling to the rim over the long draping arms of defenders and snatching boards has allowed him to see meaningful minutes on Elev8's first team, alongside heavily courted recruits such as Tyson Jolley, Levi Cook, 6-foot-11 forward Kasper Christiansen and Ole Miss commit Dante Fitzpatrick.

Noel, who averaged 14 points and eight boards at McArther High School last season, is currently sifting through a variety of offers from across the country.

Georgia Southern, Rider, Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Hofstra, Cleveland State, Arkansas State, Tennessee Tech, and Central Arkansas have all offered.

Arkansas has recently expressed interest, having witnessed Noel's fluid, vastly improved shooting stroke and man-child build.

He's improved at his 3-point shooting, pull-up game, and ability to create his own shot off the dribble.

Call him a late bloomer, call him a quick learner.

On the surface, Noel's just a freakishly athletic guard/forward who could dictate a game with or without the rock in his hands.

"I think my best attribute is getting to the rim and shooting," Noel said.

"I figure my position in college to be either shooting guard or small forward."

Under Greg Tejada and Lance Tejada, a pair of NY-bred AAU coaches in Miami, Noel's understanding of the game improved immensely.

Both coaches preached constant on-the-ball pressure with an iron fist.

Witnessing this pipe-bursting confrontational pressure limit high scoring teams and splinter ball movement, Noel took great pride in manipulating shots and taking big, hard charges.

Beyond basketball, the Tejada brothers ingrained life lessons in Noel.

"The principles of their system was basically to man up at all times and never be soft during any moment," Noel recalls.

 "They taught me to seek every opportunity you get. They reinforced the fact that nobody can survive in this world by being soft or scared."

Noel rattled off Western Kentucky, Rider, Tennessee Tech, Georgia Southern, Southern, and Stetson as programs which have been in persistent pursuit since the very beginning.