As a star in high school at Tuscarora and in college at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Obadiah Noel has continually improved and ascended through the basketball ranks.
Should it persist, his next step on that tract would put him in the professional ranks, maybe even the NBA.
That’s Noel’s aim, at least.
The 2017 Tuscarora High grad and former News-Post Player of the Year tweeted a statement Monday that announced his intention to declare himself eligible for the 2021 NBA draft after earning all-America East Conference first-team honors in February for the second time.
This past season, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior shooting guard averaged a team-best 21.4 points per game (including a pair of 30-point contests) along with 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He also shot 75 percent from the free-throw line.
Earlier this year, the NCAA granted all fall, winter and spring athletes an extra year of eligibility to make up for the impact of COVID-19 on collegiate athletics. Under this rule, Noel could return for another UMass Lowell basketball season in 2021-22.
But he confirmed Monday via direct message that he is foregoing that option, and his college career is officially over. He has hired an agent.
“I want to start off by thanking God for every opportunity he has blessed me with throughout my career,” Noel tweeted. “This journey hasn’t been easy, but it has definitely been a rewarding and fulfilling one. I would like to thank my family for their sacrifices and nonstop belief in my abilities. I would also like to thank all of my coaches, staff and teammates for supporting me and helping me grow. ...
“With that being said, I have decided to declare for the 2021 NBA Draft to pursue my lifelong dream of playing professional basketball.”
In 2020, Noel sought knowledge on his NBA prospects by entering his name in the draft while maintaining his college eligibility. But the draft-season workout schedule — which typically includes camps where players can play before scouts and gain feedback — was altered by the pandemic last year.
He ultimately withdrew and decided to return to the River Hawks, further honing his jumper and adding more weight to a thin frame while putting forth his finest college season. He led the River Hawks to the America East Tournament championship game, where they fell to Hartford, 64-50.