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Q&A: Philadelphia 76ers' Nerlens Noel knows he still has a long road ahead

The former Kentucky forward was selected sixth overall by Philadelphia in the 2013 NBA Draft but missed the entire 2013-14 season while recovering from a torn ACL.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 6, 2014
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photo - Philadelphia 76ers returning player Nerlens Noel talks with coach Brett Brown, right, during practice, Wednesday July 2, 2014 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tom Gralish)
Philadelphia 76ers returning player Nerlens Noel talks with coach Brett Brown, right, during practice, Wednesday July 2, 2014 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tom Gralish)

Coming out and playing, getting on the floor and being effective, is that validating?

Oh yeah, it’s very validating. It’s been 18 months since I played an organized game, and it felt great. I didn’t do as much as I wanted with rebounding and being active defensively. But that will come through as I build more stamina to be active in the game.

You seem calm, cool and collected, but you’ve got to be ecstatic after that performance after all this waiting.

Oh yeah, I’m real happy. But I can’t get too happy. It’s a long road ahead of me. I got to stay focused and keep working and get better and better. It’s no time to celebrate now.

You had a chip on your shoulder on draft night because of the teams that passed on you. Do you still have that after having missed a year?

I’m a Philadelphia 76er. I’m not focused about what happened on draft night. I’m going forward and just continue to grow as a player, person and as a leader for this team.

But will that still motivate you?

Yeah, it motivated me for rehab. But I’m here. I’m a 76er now. That’s all I’m focused on.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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