The screams were audible on press row.
Nerlens Noel, the projected first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and the indisputable best player for the Kentucky Wildcats, was in agony beneath the basket. He clutched at his left knee, everything suddenly and painfully in doubt – for him and for his team.
That jarring development overshadowed Florida's 69-52 whipping of Kentucky. When Noel went down, the outcome of the game – which was already decided – became secondary.
Really, the outcome of Kentucky's season is secondary, although a significant injury would increase the chances of the 17-7 Wildcats missing the NCAA tournament. The greater issue is Noel's future, and the way it is put at risk by a system that forced him to play college ball for a year instead of going straight into the NBA draft.