Draft watch: Vonleh a lottery pick in every projection

  • 04/04/2014 2:45 pm in

With his decision to enter the NBA Draft now in the rearview mirror, the question of whether Noah Vonleh will be back in Bloomington next season has been answered. What hasn’t been answered, and won’t be officially until Thursday, June 26, is which franchise will select Vonleh in the 2014 NBA Draft.

In our latest edition of draft watch, we take a detailed look at where Vonleh’s stock stands following his lone season in Bloomington:

Projections
ESPN: (7) Draft Express: (7) NBADraft.net: (6) Sports Illustrated: (8)

· Analysis: Since our last update before the Big Ten tournament, Vonleh moved up a spot in ESPN’s rankings, down a spot in NBADraft.net rankings and down two spots in the SI rankings.

We won’t have a good idea on which teams could potentially target Vonleh until after the NBA Draft lottery, which takes place on May 20. Right now, however, he’s a consensus top eight pick if you go by the four major mock drafts we’ve been tracking for most of the season. Those projections are consistent with the feedback Vonleh says he got from NBA.

“I heard I’ll be somewhere in the lottery, but that’s unknown,” Vonleh said on Thursday. “I’ve got to go into workouts and showcase my skills and hopefully end up where I want to be.”

Besides selecting an agent, something Vonleh said yesterday he’ll do in the next few weeks, the next major step in the process is the draft combine, which will take place next month. That event only helped to propel the stock of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo and it could yield similar results for Vonleh, assuming his foot injury is behind him by that time.

“I’ve been getting treatment trying to get my foot right,” Vonleh said. “It’s feeling a lot better. I’ve been resting it. So I’m back on the court, doing some stationary shooting, some ball handling drills and things like that and keeping my conditioning up with riding the bike and doing the StairMaster and things like that. I’m going to start doing individuals with the team and just doing some conditioning and stuff when my foot feels 100 percent.”

· Expert opinion: “He’s a lock for the Top 10. The question really is: How high can he go? Two players who play his position, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, are currently ranked ahead of him right now. Randle is more NBA-ready, and has more offensive skills in the paint at the moment. Gordon is the best athlete of the group, and is already an elite defender. But Vonleh is bigger than both, has a more established outside game than either player and is a terrific rebounder. He’s probably less ready than Randle and Gordon to come in and compete as a rookie, but many scouts believe that in three years, he might be the best of the bunch.

His biggest fans in the NBA agree with Kevin Pelton’s Chris Bosh comparison. If that’s accurate, he should be a top-5 pick. If he’s something less than that, then we probably have him accurately pegged at No. 7 on our Big Board. Workouts might be key for him. NBA teams are going to try to get these three in for workouts together, and if Vonleh can dominate there, he’ll likely leapfrog both.” – Chad Ford, ESPN.com

· Vonleh on what he proved at Indiana“I think I proved that I’ve got a pretty good skill set. I can step out, shoot threes. My post game has gotten a lot better, still a work in progress. I can still improve on it. I can still improve on a lot of things in my shot, getting my release quicker, being able to push the dribble out and do different things like that, just to make myself an overall better player.”

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  • hoosier1158

    Eric had to go pro after his freshmen year. The program had a complete meltdown. That is one thing i applaud CTC for, he got the program back on it’s feet quicker than anyone thought he could.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I don’t know that IU is playing the one and done game so much as there were unexpected departures and lack of development that really impacted this year in particular. Fischer leaving unexpectedly, Perea not developing, Sheehey not having a strong consistent season, Oladipo leaving early (not that he was a big but if he was on this team it is a different team), those are tough to perfectly plan for. Honestly before the season I didn’t look at Noah and think he was a one and done guy, I still don’t necessarily see it but if the NBA is going to take him early best of luck to him.

  • enickman

    Good point Gregory. CTC’s reputation is also going to be factored in by the kids and there are many schools who happily take 5 star players that actually have a coach. pUKe for example. Like it or not, other schools that actually allow the one-and-done to compete for championships. I’m real concerned for our program right now.

  • PBzeer

    Near as I can see, the 5 star probable lottery picks that DON’T go to Kentucky figure they’ll shine better somewhere else (where it’s not so crowded). I just wish everyone would quit pretending academic education really has anything to do with it. Or that any of them have any real ties to the schools beyond a pathway to the pros. You might get some in-state players, but how many of the others do you really think keep up with their “teams”, once they’re gone.

    Don’t get me wrong, that’s not meant as a putdown. I’m just saying let’s be honest about the whole “succeed and proceed” BS. I understand the desire to win, even the need to, for a coach to keep his job and the fan base to stay happy, but as good as leaving college early may be for some, that means there’s also someone who might have gotten that scholarship and used it to get an education, as well as to play ball for “his” team. And to me, that’s the real tragedy of one and done (or anything short of a degree).

  • The_Bob_Michaels

    Oh. I understand completely. I really don’t have any interest in where NV is drafted or how he does in the NBA – I wish him well, but fear he’ll languish on the bench because of how young he is. As for Gordon, it was like we got a great local player for one year and then he can’t even finish the season healthy – frustrating.

  • iuball11

    Noah at SF, Cody at C

  • David Wegener

    Not sure IU is playing the one and done game. We’ve had three in our history: McGinnis, Gordon and Vonleh. That’s less than one season’s worth for Kentucky. McGinnis was a hardship case. Gordon had to deal with la maladie du Sampson. And then there is NV.

  • Dean Olson

    But playing with the top coaches and top competition doesn’t always equate to greater development. If that was the case, then baseball teams would bring up prospects a lot earlier rather than letting them refine skills in the minors. For a lot of players, college basketball works the same way.

  • Corey Schroyer

    Lol, by no means am I endorsing the ideal of him and Chris Bosh as equals, but with a solid work ethic and some major time behind the three point arc, maybe he can become IU’s next great nba success. (Hope Oladipo beats him to it though)

  • IUMIKE1

    Excellent point and one that a lot of fans don’t really understand or believe or are just in plain denial about. Those fans, or at least some of them, tell themselves it doesn’t matter to escape having to admit that there is that downside to it.