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Nerlens Noel says knee rehab ahead of schedule, hopeful of being No. 1 pick in NBA draft

Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel calls himself ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and expects it will not keep him from being the first pick in next month's NBA draft.

Noel said Thursday at the NBA combine he doubts he'll make it for the start of the season because it would be a little over six months from his March surgery to the start of NBA camp.

If Noel doesn't go No. 1, Kansas guard Ben McLemore may become the first shooting guard since David Thompson 38 years ago to go No. 1 overall.

The lack of a dominant marquee name player like Kevin Durant or LeBron James is causing some to downplay the talent level in this year's draft.