When Noah Vonleh, all of 17 years, two months and 20 days old, signed his letter of intent to play for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers on Nov. 14, 2012, a visit to Bloomington the previous weekend sealed the deal.
“Cody Zeller, he was doing a lot of the guard drills,” Vonleh said at the time. “I want to do something similar like that. That just really stood out to me.”
Three months earlier at the adidas Nations championship game, a sixteen-year-old Vonleh was doing plenty of guard work on the court for USA Red 2014, but with mixed results:
It wasn’t until late in the game, when Vonleh stopped trying to dribble penetrate and went to the block for scores and rebounds, that he was able to force overtime, impose his will and bring his team a victory. He finished the game with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
This is the modern thought of talented teenagers at 6-8 or above with wingspans and size that once deemed them to the paint; they see Kevin Durant shining in the NBA, the positional revolution churning, and who can blame them for thinking: “I can do that … I want to do that, too?”
Noah Vonleh met with the media on Wednesday afternoon in New York City as part of NBA draft media day.
Watch his interview, where he’s asked about his time in Bloomington, his position in the NBA, which player from the draft he’d most like to play with and much more, in the embedded media player below:
We’re just a little more than 24 hours away from the 2014 NBA draft and also from learning where Indiana’s Noah Vonleh will play at the next level.
Vonleh is already in New York for the draft, which takes place tomorrow at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In our final edition of draft watch, we’ll take a look at the latest mock draft projections, where Vonleh thinks he may land and more:
Current projections (as of 6/25/14, 12:30 p.m. ET)
· ESPN’s Chad Ford: No. 4 to Orlando
· ESPN’s Jeff Goodman: No. 3 to Philadelphia
· Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears: No. 5 to Utah
· Sports Illustrated’s composite: No. 5 to Utah
· Draft Express: No. 5 to Utah
· NBADraft.net: No. 5 to Utah
The injury news regarding Joel Embiid has caused a shake up at the top of the draft, with both Ford and Goodman moving Vonleh into the top four picks.
The latest scenario laid out by Goodman has Vonleh moving up to No. 3 to Philadelphia and Ford has Embiid sliding all the way down to No. 6 with Dante Exum moving up to No. 3 and Vonleh at No. 4.
In an interview with Andy Katz of ESPN.com on Wednesday afternoon, Vonleh said he believes he’ll be picked in the top four. Considering Vonleh only worked out for six teams that we know of — Philadelphia, Orlando, Utah, Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento — he appears to be a lock to be drafted in the No. 3 to No. 8 range.
One of the top rising juniors in Michigan made a trip to Bloomington on Monday for an unofficial visit and left with a very favorable impression of the Indiana program, according to his high school coach.
Austin Davis, a 6-foot-10, 240 pound center from Onsted, got his first look at the Indiana program along with his parents and coach, Brad Maska.
“We were blown away. It was very impressive. The whole college package (is there) with Indiana,” Maska told Inside the Hall. “Obviously with the tradition in basketball, that speaks for itself. The beauty of the campus itself was amazing, the dedication to academics that they showed right from the start was very impressive, the strength and conditioning, it was just a great opportunity.
“I know Austin and both of his parents were very impressed with everything. The coaches were great, it was a family atmosphere.”
As a sophomore at Onsted, Davis averaged 21.6 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks per game. He was named first team all-state by the basketball coaches of Michigan and The Detroit Free Press. At just 15 years old with a 7-foot wingspan, Davis has grown six inches since his eighth grade year and it’s often a challenge for big men to continue making adjustments while growing rapidly.
Maska believes his big man, who has early scholarship offers from Central Michigan and Toledo, is meeting that challenge head on.
One of the top class of 2016 prospects from Kentucky took an unofficial visit to Indiana on Tuesday and left campus with a scholarship offer.
Eli Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard from Owensboro Apollo, picked up a scholarship yesterday during a visit with the Indiana coaching staff in Bloomington.
His guardian, Ben Moss, accompanied him on the visit.
“It was a good visit,” Wright told Inside the Hall via text message on Tuesday evening. “They have a great facility, it’s beautiful. They showed me around and I had a chance to play with the players.”
The Hoosiers join Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, UAB and Western Kentucky as the schools who have offered so far, according to Wright.
Unranked by the four major national recruiting services, Wright is ranked the No. 36 prospect overall by Future150.com for the class of 2016.
While keeping steadfast in their stance that college athletes should not be paid to play, the Big Ten presidents and chancellors issued a statement on Thursday voicing support to work “within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-athletes.”
The statement, which is signed by either the president or chancellor at each Big Ten institution, outlined four reforms the conference supports:
• We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate education. We want our students to graduate.
• If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student’s scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.
• We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.
• We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.
Only 15 days remain until coaches can hit the road recruiting in July, but the final days of June are typically a good time for schools to bring visitors to campus before the biggest evaluation periods of the year.
This year is no different in Bloomington as the Indiana coaching staff hosted a pair of class of 2016 visitors on Monday and will welcome another today.
On Monday, the Hoosier staff welcomed 6-foot-10 Onsted (Mi.) center Austin Davis to campus along with Merrillville’s D.J. Wilkins. And today, Owensboro Apollo (Ky.) guard Eli Wright (pictured) is expected to be in Bloomington.
Davis, who has early offers from Central Michigan and Toledo, is being evaluated by several Big Ten programs, including Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State. Wilkins, who plays for Indiana Elite, is believed to be a major target for Purdue in its 2016 recruiting efforts.