Noel: Defense is ‘under-valued’

His impact at Ole Miss Tuesday while taking only one shot spoke eloquently than words on how defense can help Kentucky win.
But in response to media questions Friday, Noel tried to put into words how is record-setting 12 blocks helped UK beat the Rebels.
“Defense is something that’s under-valued,” he said. “It can change a whole game in a significant ways. That was what my focus was the other night knowing I wasn’t shooting the ball as much.
“On nights like that, you have to take 100 percent pride in your defense.and do the best for your team and find a way to be effective no matter what.”
Noel broke the previous UK record of nine blocks.
After he picked up his fourth foul with 9:52 left, Noel blocked six shots.
In this, Noel strayed from the script.
“Cal (UK Coach John Calipari) told me to stay cautious and they really needed me on the court,” Noel said. “But I knew I wasn’t going to be effective if I was just laying back and just letting them score.”
Noel said it was “just my choice” to continue to aggressively protect UK’s basket.
“I definitely took it to play smart,” he said, “especially avoid contact when they came to the basket. I just anticipated what they were doing (by) trying to jump into my body. I definitely took a different angle . . .
“I just did my best to stay away from contact so the referees didn’t have to blow the whistle.”
Noel downplayed his chances of breaking Anthony Davis’ school record of 186 blocks. His total is 95.
“I don’t keep track,” he said. “Some people tell me what the numbers are…That’s something I do want to break. (But) that’s not really the focus of this team.”