Freshman Focus: Noah Vonleh

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“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s six incoming freshman. Over the next couple of weeks, we will examine what kind of an impact each player can have for the Hoosiers next season. Today: Noah Vonleh.

Of Indiana’s six incoming freshmen, Noah Vonleh figures to have the biggest role, responsibilities and impact right away.

Vonleh, the last of the 2013 recruits to commit, is the prize of the class. He’s a 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and a skill set not common for someone his size and age. He’ll turn 18 in late August.

Vonleh, ranked 13th in the 2013 class by ESPN.com, has an above average post-up game and also possesses the ability to go out on the perimeter and knock down a 3-pointer. Oh, and he averaged 11.8 rebounds per game as a senior at the New Hampton School (N.H.) and he plays defense, too.

“He fits the physical characteristics already to play at that level,” said Vin Pastore, Vonleh’s mentor and AAU coach for Mass Rivals. “He can rebound at any level, anywhere right now. He’s going to be able to do that immediately at Indiana. If you look at his skill set, you’ll see he’s polished for a big guy. He handles the ball extremely well, he has great touch.

“Have you shaken his hand yet? Go shake his hand. It’s as hard as a catcher’s mitt. And usually when a kid’s hands are like that, you don’t have the touch. But he defies everything.”

Vonleh is already on campus and began working out with some of his Indiana teammates on June 3. He’s also currently taking summer school classes. Indiana coach Tom Crean has continually raved about Vonleh on his Twitter account ever since he arrived in Bloomington, marveling at his desire to get better and his commitment to stay in the gym.

Crean tweeted that he believes Vonleh will soon be a ’365 day’ guy for the Hoosiers and said he’s a McDonald’s All-American “with no entitlement issues”.

“He’s always in the gym,” Pastore said. “I’m sure the Indiana coaches will be saying, ‘He’s back for more. A lot of kids, when they get to 16, other things take over in their life. Noah’s 17 and still the gym would be his first love. I think you’ll see Noah using most of his free time to get in the gym and try to get better.”

Because of his unique talents and work ethic, there has been speculation that Vonleh could be a one-and-done guy in Bloomington, something that hasn’t been done since Eric Gordon left as a lottery pick in 2008.

I asked Pastore, who has known and worked with Vonleh for the last six years, if he thought Vonleh would leave for the NBA after only one season.

“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Pastore said. “I don’t know exactly what his plans are. I surely think he’s talented enough that that’s a possibility. But I also know he’s the type of kid that wants to get things right. If they’re not exactly right, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does something different.”

  • Steve Fischer

    He’s ready and we are ready to watch! Congrats to IU Baseball as well – they will keep us entertained almost till basketball starts.

  • SCHoosier

    At 17 NV is a boy in a man’s body!! I thought Johnny Bench had big hands…but this kid makes the b-ball look like an orange in his hands. Might need a slightly nastier on court demeanor to take advantage of his size and skill..seems like he sometimes defers to other players on his team. Good student..great work ethic and will be a dominate player in the B-10 if he stays long enuff. Right now I’ll take two years and be grateful. Can’t wait to see his development.

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    Have you been reading what he’s been saying? He’s saying he’s a four year guy.. I know that can change, but I was hoping more like for at least three years. You’re right about the hands though.. huge. I’m thinking Johnny Bench’s aren’t a very good comparison and wouldn’t even be close, to a guy with NV’s size that also has extraordinarily large hands. Gotta say, they do make that basketball look small don’t they? I think he’s really going to be something special for IU.

  • BrianK

    Looks to me he is saying 1-2 years. I do not see 3 at all

  • Caleb Moore

    Yeah incredible he’s got that frame and work ethic at 17. He’s not a one and done in my opinion though. He’s a two year, maybe 3 year guy. His ceiling is so high that if he stays a few years in our development program he’s going to be a top 3 pick for sure. He just needs to get a lot of shots up and keep working on his body. Had seen he’s lost 10-15 pounds since the McD’s game, which is excellent. Also saw Marni tweet a picture of him working on a paper last week, so he’s obviously hitting the academics strong from the start. Saw she said he’s one of the nicest young men she’s ever met. I think he’s got a lot of Vic qualities in a 6’10 body. Oh my this is going to be good.

  • Caleb Moore

    yep big props to IU baseball this weekend. Watched both games. We have as good a lineup as any team in the country. Tracy has done an amazing job. But dont forget about the football team coming on this year too! We’ve got 8 home games and all are very winnable. They are going bowling this year for sure. Fred Glass…….tremendous job as AD.

  • BFowler

    I will confirm he is an extremely nice and humble kid with huge hands that wrapped around mine twice when I shook hands with him.

  • Kenneth234

    I would strongly urge everyone to consider any time he spends in Hoosier candy stripes as a blessing, and not to get their hopes set on him being around for seasons past this next one. Personally, I wish for him to work hard enough to earn the ability to showcase his abilities and potential next season and help this young team get back to the Sweet and beyond; if that is all we get, I will be happy. Opportunities to go in the lottery will likely be there next year, and after witnessing Zeller and Oladipo go early this spring, I have to believe that the pull to the NBA is very difficult to fend off.

  • IUMIKE1

    Two years tops IMHO. Even if he leaves after two or even 1 it has instant impact in recruiting other players of his caliber & abilities.

  • HoosierTrav

    No chance he’s a 3 year guy. I’d be willing to bet the house on that.

  • HoosierTrav

    Some mock drafts also had him in the top 5 in that same draft class as well.

  • marcusgresham

    Basketball team is back where it belongs, soccer team won a national championship, baseball team is on an historic roll, and I truly feel Wilson has the football team headed in the right direction…..of course, all I hear is U of L though.

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    In an article that came out last week, I think it was on this site… Noah was quoted as saying he was planning on four years. The article did say, that could change… and personally I doubt he’d be around longer than two. But that article did quote him as saying four years

  • Janet Piepho

    enough of this 1 yr talk. NV has to stay at least 2 years because of the NBA minimum age requirement of 19 by draft time, which is annually at the end of June. NV turns 19 in the fall of 2014, so he can’t be drafted until 2015, the end of his sophomore year.

  • JB07

    19 or 1 year removed from your graduating class of high school. If he wants to go, he will be eligible for 2014

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