I caught up with Nerlens Noel this evening to talk about Thursday night’s NBA draft, where he could become Kentucky’s second straight No. 1 overall pick and third in four years, joining John Wall (2010) and Anthony Davis (2012). He addressed those ugly rumors (which I also wrote about here), the progress of his knee, a timetable for return, daydreams of playing with LeBron and a planned draft-night surprise for Cats fans. Check it out:

Q&A WITH NERLENS NOEL

How does it feel to know that the biggest moment of your life is four days away?
“It’s been a long time coming. I’m definitely excited to get it over with and get to the point where I know what team I’m on and start to develop a relationship with the team and staff.”

So what about these rumors that popped up last week, that you have ‘epic bad dudes’ around you?
“That’s foolish for anybody to say. That definitely bothered me. I heard some crazy things about myself. Seeing what was said, it was definitely provoked by agents that I didn’t meet with. I was mainly focusing on rehab and I told my advisor that. I told him, ‘Just tell them I’m not meeting with any agents.’ I guess they took that personally. That amounted to them talking negative about the people around me, thinking my advisor was the one that was putting them to the side, when I really told him I didn’t want to meet with so many agents so I could focus on my rehab. But it is what it is. They’re going to say things. I didn’t let it get to me.”

What was your reaction when you heard about the rumors?
“It was shocking. I wondered, ‘How could they say this stuff about me?’ My mom and my advisor and my agent are the only people around me. There’s nobody bad around me. You’ll never see me with too many people, nothing you’d call an entourage.”

The more important question most teams probably have about you is: How’s the knee?
“It’s going great. I’m still ahead of schedule. Everything’s going very well. I’ve been able to do the catch-and-slides on the court. I’m jogging. I’m really starting to do some advanced exercises in rehab. No jumping yet. I’ve been shooting, doing a lot of form shooting.”

What’s the timetable – if there is one – for when you might be available to play for the team that drafts you?
“Yeah, I’d definitely say around November, December. Everything is moving ahead of schedule, so I’m looking forward to a strong comeback. I’m being careful, listening to my physical therapist and Dr. (James) Andrews about when I’m able to come back.”

What did the Cleveland Cavaliers (owners of the No. 1 pick) and their medical staff say when you visited this week?
“The doctor said everything was perfect. All three teams I’ve been to said it looks 100 percent fine and I’m definitely ahead of schedule. It’s all been positive feedback.”