That’s A Wrap: Noah Vonleh

  • 03/27/2014 10:33 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Noah Vonleh.

Vonleh (30 games): 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 0.6 assists, 52.3% FG, 71.6% FT in 26.5 minutes per game.

Noah Vonleh arrived in Bloomington on May 29 weighing just over 220 pounds. By the time July arrived, he had put on over 20 pounds of muscle as the transformation of his body under the guidance of IU’s strength and condition program took hold.

“I wasn’t used to that at prep school, so that was a big adjustment,” Vonleh told the media in his first comments after arriving on campus. “I put on a lot of weight and am getting stronger.”

After just a few weeks at IU, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Kenny Johnson said Vonleh would put a cot in Cook Hall if he could, an indication of the work ethic he possessed at just 18 years of age.

The 2013-2014 season tipped off with high hopes for Vonleh and rightfully so. He arrived in Bloomington as the highest rated recruit of the Tom Crean era and at 6-foot-10 with a ridiculous 7-foot-4 wingspan, the Massachusetts native appeared ready to contribute right away.

And that’s exactly what he did.

Vonleh showed off a versatile skill set during his one and only season as a Hoosier. He hit 48.5 percent of his 3s and 53 percent of his 2s for an effective field goal percentage of 56. He led the conference in rebounding and his free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 62 percent ranked third among Big Ten players.

His performance would earn him the league’s freshman of the year award as well as an all-conference third team selection.

But Vonleh departs college leaving behind thoughts of what could have been for some. With only Yogi Ferrell to rely on consistently for offense, the Hoosiers missed the NCAA tournament and Vonleh’s play at times lacked aggressiveness. In games against NCAA tournament teams, he averaged 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds lower than his season averages.

His season didn’t finish strong, either, as a foot injury forced him to miss games against Ohio State and Nebraska. In his last game as a Hoosier, he struggled against Illinois in the Big Ten tournament. After that contest, Vonleh opted not to address his collegiate future, but word leaked quickly after that his mind was made up and that he would head to the NBA.

It’s hard to argue the logic in Vonleh’s decision to opt for the NBA. After just one season in college, he’s considered a consensus lottery pick and the opportunity to set himself and his family up financially for life is hard to pass up. It’s the right decision.

Bottom Line: Vonleh leaves Bloomington as likely the third lottery pick from IU in the past two seasons, a fact that the IU staff will surely use on the recruiting trail moving forward. As for Vonleh’s future, his fit in the NBA is likely at the four spot, but plenty of development still remains before he’ll be a consistent contributor at that level. Still, his potential is limitless and his career moving forward will be fun to watch as his best basketball certainly lies ahead.

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Filed to:


    Best wishes to you in your future NBA career. We will continue to support you. Go Hoosiers!!!

  • Disco_Briscoe

    I believe his numbers took a hit against better comp due to strategy/adjustments by the other teams (and lack there of from IU) and not having that outside shooting presence to take the attention off of him and the stacking of the paint.

    “In games against NCAA tournament teams, he averaged 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds lower than his season averages.”

  • HoosierGrampy

    Thank you for the memories you’ll be leaving in Bloomington. Be well as you move forward with your life both on and off the court!

  • Kyl470

    UK is the premier program in the country right now. They have made the Sweet Sixteen or better every year except for one under Coach Cal. I would love for IU to be able to claim that, but we can’t. You win basketball games with talent and IU needs all the talent they can get. CTC isn’t a good enough strategist to win games if he doesn’t have superior talent on the team.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Fully agree with you…and while we could look back and speculate about “Oh, what might have been…”, I’m going to focus on “What’s likely to be” with next year’s team.

  • Kyl470

    We definitely didn’t get to see Vonleh’s best. Hopefully he has a long and productive NBA career and helps IU recruit players in the future.

  • Bled4IU

    Listen to Crean talk about this in his radio interview that was posted earlier this week, he talks about his view of recruiting one and done.

  • Gregory Spera

    The greatest players in Indiana University Basketball history all had college careers of various lengths. Isiah Thomas and Cody Zeller two years. Scott May and Victor Oladipo three years. Steve Alford and Calbert Chaney four years. But now that the most talented college players only stay for one year, where exactly DO single season stars like Noah Vonleh and Eric Gordon (and future one-and-done’rs) rate? Is there a minimum requirement for greatness or is one year enough?

  • Rie

    Let me get this straight, we have one player under Crean, in Noah, who is a one-and-done, and all of a sudden you think this equals a trend?

  • CreamandCrimson

    I can’t speak for others but I don’t put Noah Vonleh anywhere close to the other guys you mentioned. I am 26 years old (have been a fan of IU basketball for as long as I can remember) so I didn’t see a lot of those guys live but I have a reverence for the players they were and for what they accomplished (along with many, many others). Can any 1-and-done reach the heights of Calbert or Alford? Not for me. Can they reach the level in lore of someone like Victor Oladipo? Yes. I think so. For me, it comes down to a few things…how the player performs throughout their career (Noah was consistently good, not great in my opinion), how the player performs in big moments (I don’t really remember too many big moments where Noah had a chance to do anything) and what the team accomplishes (obviously, this isn’t Noah’s exclusive fault but this year’s team accomplished nothing). If a guy comes in and averages 18 ppg, hits some clutch buckets, plays their tail off all the time and helps lead IU to a Final Four or a title? They can absolutely go down in history right below the “Mount Rushmore” guys who set records and/or led the Hoosiers to multiple titles.

    Good question though!

  • SplackThemHams

    I don’t think that there is necessarily a minimum requirement but more of how they overall impacted the program. While Vonleh and Gordon were no doubt special talents, they both happened to be a part of pretty forgettable seasons in IU basketball. I think for a one year guy to be mentioned with the greatest players in IU history, they would have to have an extremely remarkable season and likely make a deep run in the tournament. Otherwise, with such a short stay they probably won’t have much staying power in the minds of fans.

  • JohnFromBeyond

    Pretty hard to get yourself on the list of all-time great IU players in one year. I think he would have been Zeller-great after 2 years, for sure, be we’ll never know.

    My criteria for greatness is hitting the clutch shot when it matters most and the opposing team can’t stop you even when they know you are getting the ball, and being a key factor in winning those key games that get you championships. IMO Vonleh never got to that point, and was able to be shut down offensively quite often. I believe he WILL become great, though.

  • And One

    Think it depends on the result. A guy who’s here for one year ending in a banner, well, duh. Ending in a FF, though? Maybe not enough. A one-and-done will still be a Hoosier for life, but to join the Pantheon, you need to cut down the nets.

  • BT

    Marco Killingsworth leaves behind a greater Hoosier legacy.

    Nothing personal with the kid and best of luck to him, but as an IU fan first and foremost I’m going to view him as just another power forward in the NBA.

  • Joshua Haltom

    I am glad the kid came to IU but he was part of a forgettable season and though he is an incredible talent his numbers weren’t overwhelming. I am probably a little old fashioned (grew up in Indiana and Hoosier fan my whole life) but the 1 and done kids who aren’t from Indiana just don’t have as much cream and crimson attached to them. Not doubting their commitment to IU while in Btown just stating my thoughts and feelings on the situation.

  • Alford Bailey

    Hope Crean can find another Marco for next year!

  • dssnyder1

    @jordanlittman on twitter has an interesting article on NV. check it out
    I’ve got nothing but praise and best wishes for NV in his future, he truly seemed to be a quality kid with crazy bball skills

  • Eastwood88_2

    The eagle -tribune article says it all today. “I felt a little held back, there was more I could do” It went on to state he wanted to play the 4 not the 5 and was forced as such. 6-10, 7-4 wingspan and wants to play outside. Jason Collier all over again.

  • SCHoosier

    Since Noah is already “a wrap” for the NBA..I’ll just say “Thanks for selecting IU Noah. Glad the Hoosiers helped you with your physical development and got you all that TV time to improve your scout ratings with the pro’s. U do need to be a 4 not a 5….so go forth and flourish…at the NBA 4. Good luck and keep your nose clean.. Since you are nearly 50% complete toward your degree…seriously consider coming back and wrapping that up. Hope that foot improves enuff for you to do all those personal workouts before the draft.Go Hoosiers.

  • hgdownunder

    Crean has swung on and missed some – remember Kyrie Irving?

    Personally, I have no objection to one-and-dones but not if their talent and athleticism is expected to make up for gaping holes in team balance.

  • Snookafly

    I’d love to see that too, but Crean would never recruit someone in the mold of Killingsworth. A strong, wide body who likes to bang down low doesn’t seem to figure in his run-and-gun game plan.

  • Ry-Bread

    The most underutilized NBA lottery pick I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s literally mind boggling. Vonleh will be a great NBA player, perhaps the next Chris Bosh. Best of luck, sorry for wasting your time at IU.

  • kaponya44

    I’ll put it this way ..I am happy Noah chose IU ..I also look forward to seeing him play in the future.With that said I have a problem when a player does not just come out and say the money was too good to pass up.If it is the money say it is the money..If it is truly not the money and they feel their best interest is to develop further in the NBA I am concerned.If Noah goes out there next year ,earns minutes ,and averages 15 points per game and finishes among the top 2 or 3 rookies I start questioning why he did not average 25 15 here.I have heard it all about his passing and other weaknesses but he NEEDED to be at the four more often …Noah has the head on his shoulders to know this too.His comments in the cited article just make me say hmmmmmmm.His performances and role at times were even more confusing ..I feel it hurt both Hanner and Noah not playing together.Add in the whole Luke thing and it just becomes frustrating in thought..Establishing Luke & Noah as starters right out of the gates made the most sense then having Hanner spell Luke to play with Noah was so exciting to me in the summer..Then guess what .>it never happened .It is just my opinion but how does this never happen when it possibly helps all 3 guys tear it up last season and helps Luke get over .All would have been in their natural position.

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    I don’t get everyone bashing Crean for not ‘utilizing’ Noah enough. Great players find a way to get it done, period. I wish him all the best, but don’t see him being anything more than a role player in the NBA. Hope I’m wrong, but after what I saw this year, I don’t see him being anything close to an all star. Again, great players find ways to impact games without needing the coach to force feed him the ball. Same complaints with Zeller the last 2 years, and he still managed to lead the team in scoring, and to 2 Sweet Sixteens.

  • Iunorm

    Sure am sick of these 1and done players. If they are that good the NBA should just take them out of high school and stop screwing up college hoops. Bye Noah! Not NBA ready . Will be riding the pine for a few years…….but will be worth millions.

  • Shaggy_C

    Exact same situation as Cody Zeller – he was never a “back to the basket” guy until forced to be one due to lack of other inside options. He won the three point contest during Hoosier Hysteria yet never took a shot from outside.

    The problem is that 6’10” or 7′ is a giant in college, yet in the NBA it’s a PF. If you want to run a “pro-style” offense, and you only have one guy that size, you’re inevitably going to force them to play the 5 whether or not that’s really where they belong.

  • SCHoosier

    When the player says “I have to do what’s best for me”..he’s not talking bout the pro dancing girls at the game..he IS referring the money??

  • yimyames

    Sorry but it’s a team not a tryout for the NBA. Noah sounds selfish in making these statements, he should have been willing to do whatever he needed to make the team better. Obviously he was only concerned about himself. And if he sat out at the end of the year to protect his draft stock instead of helping his team get to the dance or even the NIT, I say screw him.

  • MillaRed

    “I didn’t see a lot of those guys live”

    Suddenly I feel very old.

  • MillaRed

    He was 18 years and 3 months old when the season ended and he led the Big Ten in rebounding. Adrienne Payne is a 4th year senior, and most mock drafts have him 20 spots behind Noah.

    We will never know for obvious reasons, but this kid could have been a top 20 or better all-time Hoosier. Without this kid we would not have won 12 games IMO.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    I wish NV all the best and think that moving on is his best decision. I don’t see anything at IU next year that would help him learn and further prepare for the pro’s. So might as well go now. I’m kind of torn about how IU treated him on the court. Others disagree, but in my opinion he never received good help from the point guard, and he likely has no reason to think it would have been better next year. It could be worse if IU brings in freshmen shooters who are told to shoot at will. At the same time if it became obvious to the team that he was a “one and done” might as well focus on others for next year. I’m looking forward to following him in the pro’s. I hope he looks back fondly on his time at IU.

  • lafreedm

    It has more to do with build than height. Dwight Howard is 6 10. Kevin Durant is 6 11.