Vonleh’s coach: “He’s a kid that doesn’t have any kinks in his armor”

INDIANAPOLIS — Noah Vonleh is arguably the top prospect taking the floor at this week’s adidas Invitational, so it was no surprise he was quickly surrounded by voice recorders and cameras after his Mass Rivals team dropped their opening game on Wednesday night.

As Vonleh answered question after question on just a few hours of sleep after arriving in Indianapolis at 2 a.m., it became clear his demeanor off the court was a far contrast to his dominant presence on the floor.

The 16-year old son of immigrants from Liberia, Vonleh is soft spoken, humble and seemingly unaffected by the recruiting attention he’s receiving from the country’s top programs.

“I think the best part about Noah through this whole process is that he’s a gentleman,” Mass Rivals coach Vin Pastore, who has worked with Vonleh since the seventh grade, told Inside the Hall. “He hasn’t been poisoned by the system. I think the goal is to keep him that way. He’s got a lot of humility off the court. He’s actually kind of a reserved guy. He doesn’t like a lot of attention.”

The attention, whether Vonleh enjoys it or not, has come full throttle over the last month.

He mentioned Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, North Carolina, Arizona, North Carolina, Syracuse, Boston College, UCLA, Providence, Massachusetts and Connecticut as some of the schools showing interest.

“Right now I don’t have any school that I’m favoring,” Vonleh said. “I’ll probably wait until the end of the summer and cut down some schools. But right now, I’m open to everyone.”

At 6-9 with a 7-4 wingspan and a size 17 shoe, he’s rated as the top power forward nationally in the 2014 class by ESPN.com.

Vonleh, who plays at New Hampton Prep in New Hampshire but is from Haverhill, Massachusetts, can play on the block and has the ability to come out to the wing as well.

“He’s a kid that doesn’t have any kinks in his armour,” Pastore said. “He plays hard, he’s got unbelievable skills, length and size. He can shoot. He’s got great touch. He puts it to the floor great. He’s unselfish. He’s mean on the court but he’s a sweetheart off the court. He has all the intangibles. Anytime you can get to coach a kid like that, it’s once in a lifetime. He’s that good.”

Pastore, who said he places the development of his players before winning on the AAU circuit, said Vonleh’s game has evolved tremendously since the two began working together.

“Obviously he was used at a younger age on the block and we took him off the block and then he put the ball on the floor. He was putting the ball on the floor and getting into the middle and making plays,” Pastore said. “The next phase has been, he’s really shot the ball great this year. That makes him pretty much un-guardable. I think the next part of his game is to develop a midrange game where off the dribble he can make some shots.”

Vonleh, who has only visited Massachusetts, Connecticut, Boston College and Providence, planned to make an unofficial to Bloomington when he was in Chicago for adidas Nations last month.

The trip ultimately didn’t work out, but he’s still hearing regularly from the Hoosier staff.

“I’ve been talking to Coach Kenny Johnson and Tom Crean,” Vonleh said. “They’ve been talking about getting me up for a visit pretty soon. I don’t know when that will happen.”

The school that ultimately lands Vonleh will be getting a player Pastore believes is simply too talented to keep off the court, regardless of the position he ends up playing.

“The bottom line is that he’s gonna play somewhere,” Pastore said. “But it’s going to be on the court no matter where he goes to school because he’s a winner in every aspect of the game.”

  • Iu1987

    This kid along with a few others is exactly the reason why Indiana passes on Trevon B. Again nice player, but due to the needs and scholly situation we can be picky. I totally disagree with Kelin this guy can’t play the 2. Not quick enough and a streaky Buss kind of shooter. Pinson, Noah and Booth much bring more impact. In case your thinking alexander he’s going to MSU or KY. Lyle OSU, MSU or Louisville. There’s a reason why we let the ship sail on this one.

  • Iu1987

    This kid along with a few others is exactly the reason why Indiana passes on Trevon B. Again nice player, but due to the needs and scholly situation we can be picky. I totally disagree with Kelin this guy can’t play the 2. Not quick enough and a streaky Buss kind of shooter. Pinson, Noah and Booth much bring more impact. In case your thinking alexander he’s going to MSU or KY. Lyle OSU, MSU or Louisville. There’s a reason why we let the ship sail on this one.

  • scubahoosier

    A big part of recruiting these guys has got to be getting them on campus. Living on the east coast I have seen UMass and BC, which are nice facilities, but they in no way compare to IU.

  • Andrew

    i’m starting to get the feeling that our class in 2014 is going to be a little ridiculous. Lyles, Blackmon, Jr., and take your pick from Bluett, Booth, lyle, Vonleh, White, pinson, Alexander, Russel, Jones, and more.

    I know obviously we are not going to sign them all but any of those 2 above with Lyles and Blackmon will have to be top in the nation. And with our 2013 class being solid makes it even better because if we were UK we would need a class like this every year. Crean is starting to do a nice job, especially in 2012 and 2013 so far of getting elite talent, but also some studs that will stick around fro 2-4 years. I’m loving it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.williamson.90 Charles Williamson

    I agree. I would say one other from that group would still be top 10. IU is now in reload mode not rebuild. The continuity is very important for success. It is nice to know who will actually be on the team one year to the next.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.williamson.90 Charles Williamson

    I agree. I would say one other from that group would still be top 10. IU is now in reload mode not rebuild. The continuity is very important for success. It is nice to know who will actually be on the team one year to the next.

  • Kelin Blab

    Trevon fits better with IU’s 2013 and 2014 classes better than alot of kids we are looking at in 2014. Vonleh is a helluva player but has played as a primary option in high school. I just think Trevon fits IU better, and has improved in so so many areas from shooting, athleticism, ball handling, and is a tough player who plays smart.

    Sometimes higher national ranking is great but if they don’t fit, it may not be worth it. For 2014 we don’t need impact we need guys that fit.

  • IU1987

    I just seen Vonleh yesterday and don’t tell me we don’t need impact for 2014. Msu could have Parker, Alexander, lyle, and Gary harris on the floor for 2014. I feel better with impact guys and not role players (Hartman, Austin, Buss N Blueitt) no disrespect to any of them. You take horses when you get them and you can NEVER have enough of them. As I said very nice player, but we can afford to be picky.

  • Jake

    MSU could have those guys but IU could have Yogi, Lyles, Hollowell, Anya, and Blackmon

  • Kelin Blab

    …………and Stanford Robinson, Perea, Luke, etc. I get what you
    are saying IU1987 and agree to an extent but Bluiett has just gotten better and better. He is far from a role player.

  • MarkDIU10

    Is that kid from Canada, Wiggins, looking at us at all? I read somewhere Trey Lyles & him were tearing it up for Canada.

  • Jake

    Yeah, I was typing on my iPod though so I was just naming guys off the top of my head. But I think I want Bluiett more than any other play in 2014. It seems like he’s at least a good 3 year player.

  • 888

    Lyle said Texas is his dream school. They have offered too. I think hes shocked that IU wouldnt return his calls. That may make him want IU even more. I like Vonleh. We get him to campus and hes ours. He wants an education.

  • 888

    Lyle said Texas is his dream school. They have offered too. I think hes shocked that IU wouldnt return his calls. That may make him want IU even more. I like Vonleh. We get him to campus and hes ours. He wants an education.

  • 888

    I think Harris will be gone by then and Parker is 1 and done. I agree though we should be picky at this point. Impact guy or nothing.

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