Q & A: Noah Vonleh discusses future in Charlotte

  • 06/27/2014 8:06 am in

Former Indiana big man Noah Vonleh was the No. 9 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft to the Charlotte Hornets. Vonleh met with assembled media at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn afterward for a brief Q & A (transcript via ASAP Sports):

THE MODERATOR: Noah, if you’d start opening statements about being drafted by the Hornets.

NOAH VONLEH: This is a blessing. This is a dream come true to finally get picked up by a team. And just watching the NBA draft for so many years, I’m very excited to be able to go to Charlotte and start off my NBA career.

Q. Noah, congratulations. Charlotte made the playoffs. They’ve been making strides. Talk about how your game, especially being a stretch four, can help complement Al Jefferson’s post game and Kemba Walker’s outside shooting.

NOAH VONLEH: I think it can definitely complement those guys, playing in the pick-and-roll with Kemba, being able to pop, hit the shot from 18 feet, step out, hit some NBA threes, catch the ball, be able to take guys off the dribble, and just use my versatility to the best of my abilities.

Q. Noah, kind of known around the NBA Michael Jordan signs off on who gets picked. Being picked by Michael Jordan, what’s that say to you, and what do you feel like?

NOAH VONLEH: It’s a great feeling being able to be picked by the greatest to play the game. He obviously saw something in me. I didn’t even come into Charlotte to work out, so I guess I was the best available on the board, and he saw something in me. And they ended up choosing me. So I’m very blessed and excited.

Q. Excited about Charlotte?

NOAH VONLEH: Yes, sir.

Q. Congratulations.

NOAH VONLEH: Thanks.

Q. Charlotte went and made the playoffs this year. What do you think you can do to help that team improve, maybe get a home court series in the playoffs? What do you think you bring to that team and help them improve?

NOAH VONLEH: I’m a young guy. I have a great work ethic. I bring — right away, my rebounding translates to the next level. I’m a versatile player.

Like I said before, playing in the pick-and-roll with Kemba, pop in for midrange jumpers, three-pointers, and just basically trying to showcase my game and help my team.

Q. Cody Zeller is already tweeting the flight from Indianapolis to Charlotte is only an hour and a half. I know you didn’t play with him, but what’s your relationship like with him?

NOAH VONLEH: I talked to Cody a little bit during the season and a little bit as I was getting into the process of getting ready to come out — deciding to come out for the Draft, and he just helped me out, gave me some pointers about the league and things like that. So that really helped out a lot. I think now that I’m there in Charlotte with him, we’ll definitely have a better relationship.

Q. You’re still only 18 years old. What made you so NBA ready at such a young age?

NOAH VONLEH: Just the gifts from God. I’m 6’9 1/2″. I’m 250 pounds. I was blessed with big hands and just a great body. Just the skills I possess, it’s just a blessing from everything — a gift from God to have these abilities.

I thought that’s why I was NBA ready. I just had a good year at Indiana, also. And it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA, and I thought it was time to come out.

Q. What do you look most forward to about going to the Garden, playing in your home state?

NOAH VONLEH: It’s going to be great playing in front of family and friends. A lot of people, they thought I was going to be playing in the NBA, and now it’s finally here. It’s going to be great going back there and playing in front of them.

Q. I have to say, I love the bow tie. I’ve been seeing a lot of players doing it. Can you make your own bowtie? It’s a skill I’m very envious of. How did you come up with the shirt? I like the fact that it’s not monochromatic. You actually mix up the colors.

NOAH VONLEH: I wanted to go something different. A lot of people tried clean suits. I wanted to try colors out. A lot of colors look great on me. I wanted to try something different. And I went with the bowtie to try something different.

Q. There’s been a lot of other guys from the New England area that have recently entered the league. Obviously, Shabazz is going to be picked soon. Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, have you had discussions with these guys on just life in the NBA?

NOAH VONLEH: Me and Shabazz, we were talking a lot during the day about how it’s crazy we’re both going to be in the NBA. We are both from Boston, and it’s a blessing how we’re going to be chasing our dream in the NBA.

And I talked to Nerlens, too. He told me if I need any advice in the NBA, just let him know. It’s great to have him in the circle.

Additionally, here is more from Vonleh from a post draft conference call:

(On his reaction to being selected by the Hornets)
“I was a little surprised because I didn’t work out for the Hornets so it was a little bit of a shock, but I’m happy and excited that they saw something in me.”

(On Charlotte)
“I know they are an up-and-coming organization in the NBA. They’ve got young guys like Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Al Jefferson also, and a few other young guys. They’re an up-and-coming organization in the league. I know Michael Jordan is the head of everything over there. It’ll be nice to have him as a boss.”

(On the skills he can bring)
“I think rebounding right away. That is something that will definitely translate. I think I’m versatile – I can be a stretch forward, make jumpers, hit the threes. I play pretty well in the pick-and-roll. I can play pretty hard and do whatever it takes to win.”

(On not working out for the Hornets)
“My agent told me that the Hornets were interested in me but they didn’t think I was going to fall to nine. I think they were surprised but it all worked out pretty well.”

(On his relationship with Cody Zeller)
“I talked to him a bit every now and then. He helped me with the draft process so it was good to have him in my corner. He texted me, I saw his name pop up on my screen but my phone has been blowing up so I haven’t gotten the chance to text him back yet.”

(On his passing and ball-handling abilities)
“Growing up I was real versatile, I was playing like a point forward throughout high school. I didn’t get to do too much of that in college, which was a little bit of an adjustment. But that’s something I have always been able to do, handle the ball. I definitely want to be able to do that at the next level. In high school, I played point forward, taking the ball to the rim, pushing it even further down, so that’s something I can definitely do.”

(On reclassifying in order to go to college early)
“I re-classed in 2014 so I could jump back up to my original class and go to college early.”

(On playing for Tom Crean at Indiana)
“I think he used me pretty good to what he thought would help the team, where he thought I’d be best and help the team win. I adjusted pretty well to where he put me. I wouldn’t say it worked out because we didn’t make any tournaments, but he put me where he thought was best for the team.”

(On what fans can expect from him)
“Hard work and play. I’ve got a great work ethic and I will play hard from day one and try to make my way into the rotation. I bring a lot of energy to the floor.”

(On Al Jefferson)
“I’ve talked to Al Jefferson a couple times. He’s in the same agency I’m in so I’ve gotten to talk to him a few times, so it’ll definitely be great to play alongside him and learn some things about the league, how to go about myself in games and things like that. I think it’ll be pretty great to play on the court with Al.”

Filed to:

  • Teri Watkins

    Oops…1st paragraph says media met with Zeller.

  • MPmike B

    Congratulations Noah!! Keep working hard and you will continue to reap the benefits of your hard labor. Stay hungry!! The IU nation will be watching and pulling for you and Cody this year.

  • weasel

    From the NBA Call Transcript post-draft:

    “(On playing for Tom Crean at Indiana)“I think he used me pretty good to what he thought would help the team, where he thought I’d be best and help the team win. I adjusted pretty well to where he put me. I wouldn’t say it worked out because we didn’t make any tournaments, but he put me where he thought was best for the team.””

    Gee, tell us what you really think Noah…

  • BlakeD1223

    Growing up I was a big Hornets fan. Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Buggsy Bogues. I loved that team. Now, I have another reason to be a Hornets fan. Zeller and Noah. Love it!

  • BlakeD1223

    I’ve always thought he didn’t like how Crean used him.

  • SCHoosier

    I don’t see anything wrong this this statement..given that it t appears to be true!

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    I think Noah is dead on!!! CTC should have had Cody and Noah float outside and draw out the defense when they hit 3’s @ will. How many bigs can do that – think Adrien Payne – got them to be better and harder to defend.

    The great coaches are master conductors, the mediocre ones are teachers at a community college . . . they do not grasp that their linear thinking mind is the limitation they put on themselves for evolving.

  • HoosierGrampy

    There are a lot of people who post on this forum who weren’t too fond of the way CTC (mis)used him either. Your point being???

  • HoosierGrampy

    Had CTC tried a little more innovative or flexible approach in using NV where his skill set could have been better utilized, several things might have simultaneously occurred: 1) HMP might have gotten some real playing time, 2) Luke Fisher might not have become homesick in less than 3 months 3) NV might have become a viable option as an outside shooter…oh wait, aside from Yogi, there just weren’t any other outside threats. My bad.

  • BlakeD1223

    I was just making a comment. Sorry I didn’t make a comment that was earth shattering.

  • HoosierGrampy

    They are headed in the direction (Upward) I hope to see the Pistons go now that they have a decent coach. Your Hornets have a lot to like about them!

  • HoosierGrampy

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with your comment. I apologize for misreading/misinterpreting what you wrote but even more for the smart-ass question at the end of my remark…Players who make matter-of-fact candid comments like NV did tend to validate the thoughts of us fans who saw room for improvement/experimentation but waited in vain for changes to occur. Perhaps this coming season…

  • BlakeD1223

    No problem man. It’s all good.

    It was a rough year. I tried really hard to not criticize Crean throughout the year but I couldn’t help myself towards the end. I hope he removes his blinders next year and lets the players play where they are best. I never thought Noah was a great low post player. He could definitely play there but I thought having him out further on the block would open up a lot. He’s a great shooter but was never able to shoot. We never know what they are working on in practice but some things just seem obvious.

    I can’t handle another season like last season.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Thanks! I’d also like to think that the 2014-15 edition of our Hoosiers will better than last year. The mere fact that there are incoming players who can shoot the rock is sufficient reason to hope for significant improvement at the offensive end of the court. However, there are some equally significant question marks at the other end of the floor, with his in-game adjustments and with his unusual substitution patterns. It will be interesting to see if CTC has the ability to answer them with the players he recruited.

  • hardly

    So does Charlotte let McRoberts go and keep both NV and CZ? All 3 of these guys are stretch 4s (Cody will become more so as his shot gets better) so there doesn’t seem to be room for everyone. Or does either CZ or NV have to spend a lot more time on the block?

  • Corey M

    McRoberts is already gone

  • Corey M

    Crean was too stubborn to ever pair NV with another 4 or 5 and ultimately that costs the team a chance at a good season, Luke Fischer, and a possible 2nd year out of Noah….

  • hardly

    just because you opt out doesn’t mean you’re leaving. he hasn’t signed anywhere else has he?