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Noel uses family background to excel as senior linebacker at N.C. State

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Rodman Noel played basketball in his driveway, touch football with his friends at nearby Everett (Massachusetts) High School and little bit of baseball, too. In some ways, he was a typical kid. But he and his brothers, Jim and Nerlens, all became Division I athletes. They grew up the sons of Haitian immigrants and blue-collar workers. When they arrived home most nights, the house was empty. Their community helped raise them. Those experiences growing up in Everett fostered his competitive spirit and taught him to be a leader. Together, Rodman, Jim and Nerlens built each other’s competitiveness on the basketball court and on the football field, which Rodman will apply as a senior linebacker for N.C. State’s when it faces Syracuse for a 3 p.m. game in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. Nerlens is starting his first NBA season with the Philadelphia 76ers after starring during his one season at Kentucky in 2012–13. Jim is a graduate assistant at Temple football after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks during the 2013 preseason and Rodman leads the Wolfpack defense with 48 total tackles and an interception through eight games. “Their family’s important,” said John DiBiaso, the head football coach at Everett High School, “they’re brothers and they’ve got to look out for each other.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBasketball games in the Noel’s driveway ratcheted up the brothers’ competitiveness. But before the driveway, the boys had to go to the park because they had no hoop. The three Noel brothers stayed at the park until late hours. Dorcina Noel, their mother, would demand they come home and when they refused, she brought home a basketball hoop. She put up the hoop so if they stayed out late, at least they were in their own driveway. On the first night they played until 2 a.m.“When it would start to get real competitive, we would start shoving each other. If somebody had the game-winning basket, it would start getting a little physical,” Rodman said. “And the other one would get mad because he called a foul, the other person would think it wasn’t a foul and we would start getting into it.” When Rodman was 10, they’d play basketball at Everett and get rides home from DiBiaso. They played with his son and DiBiaso bought them all chicken nuggets on the way home. “I’d be bringing them home and the lights would all be out, their mother and father would still be working,” said DiBiaso who usually dropped the Noels off between 10 and 11 p.m.Dorcina Noel worked in a hospital and Yonel Noel drove cabs to support the family. The Noel brothers relied on each other. Jim played a “big-brother-slash-father” role to Nerlens and to a Rodman in a lesser degree, DiBiaso said. When all three played on the football team during Nerlens’ freshman year, they’d get to practice at different times. DiBiaso said Jim arrived five minutes early, Rodman on time and Nerlens always 20 minutes late. It prompted DiBiaso to teach them to stick together. What Rodman learned growing up translated at Milford (New York) Academy — a cutthroat prep school for football players who want to improve on and off the field. Milford head coach Bill Chaplick said that making it through Milford speaks to Noel’s competitiveness and toughness. “You’re here with players that this is the last shot in their life and if they don’t make it, they’re not going anywhere,” Chaplick said. “You throw that all in with 55 guys, you’ve got to fight everyday for what you get here and you only get what you earn.”At North Carolina State, head coach Dave Doeren praises Rodman for working off the field to get results on it and calls him a “great preparation guy.”Now Rodman hopes that the late-night basketball games, extra year at Milford and four years at North Carolina State make him the third Noel brother to play a professional sport. It wouldn’t be a coincidence. “It would mean the world to me. I just know that I am blessed — I came from a great family, a great competitive family and I just thank god,” said Noel. “I’m just gonna have to keep working every day.” Comments Published on October 31, 2014 at 12:02 am Contact Chris: cjlibona@syr.edu | @ChrisLibonatilast_img read more

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