Hornets assign Noah Vonleh to NBA D-League

  • 12/28/2014 12:26 pm in

Charlotte Hornets rookie Noah Vonleh, the Big Ten’s freshman of the year last season at Indiana, has been assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League.

Vonleh, the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, has played in just four games this season for Charlotte. He’s averaging 2.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in those contests.

“We believe Noah would benefit greatly from additional game experience,” Rich Cho, the Hornets General Manager, said in a release. “He will be able to get that playing time through this D-League assignment.”

As a freshman at Indiana, Vonleh led the Big Ten in rebounding and his size and wingspan propelled his draft stock into the lottery. But his transition to the NBA got off to a rocky start as he suffered a sports hernia over the summer and missed training camp.

The Hornets, viewed as one of the NBA’s major disappointments this season, are just 10-21 and are four games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Steve Clifford, in his second season as Charlotte’s coach, recently said that the preseason setbacks put Vonleh in catch-up mode to begin his pro career.

“It’s the speed of the game: To play consistent, regular minutes you have to have a comfort level with how the NBA game is played,” Clifford told The Charlotte Observer. “Unfortunately once the season starts you only have certain stretches of the year where you can practice a lot.

“He’s a 19-year-old who missed all of September, when the foundation was put in, and all of October and is now playing catch-up. The thing that gives him a chance is he’s very gifted and a great worker. But it would be tough for anybody to catch up quickly after missing his rookie preseason.”

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  • inLinE6

    Wish he’d be with us this year. He’s all we need to become a Top 10 team.

  • FinEndNow

    This is smart. He missed a lot because of the hernia. NBA teams should be utilizing the NBA D-League more often anyways. I like this move. He’ll get playing time and be able to improve in a fast paced league with NBA rules etc.

  • FinEndNow

    We had him, Hanner and Luke Fischer all on one team last year. Oh well. Time to go find some big men.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I said over and over that he wasn’t an elite enough athlete to leave as early as he did for the NBA. He should’ve stayed and he would’ve been benefiting from game play as well as competition! Competitive atmosphere is something you can’t replace in life and the D-league lacks in the “something to play for” category.

    I’m very irritated about how things went down with a couple of these young recruits. I think NV made a somewhat immature decision to leave a year earlier than he probably should have and I like Luke made a very immature decision by bailing on a commitment and his teammates last year. I played college baseball and I was homesick my freshman year. My father told me I couldn’t come hom because I made a commitment and I stuck it out and I’m better for it today. I know all the new age parents will get on here and argue with me, but we have to stop raising whiny babies who bail on commitments so easily. It’ll just make quitting that much easier after each time you don’t stick something out!

    Today’s generation of kids are capable of so much more than many parents, educators, etc. ask of them. If we set standards a little higher I think many of us would be surprised. If LF’a parents had said, “No, we feel like you should honor your commitment and not let your teammates down,” he could’ve worked through a little homesickness and made a major impact at a storied college basketball program. Then he could’ve looked to that steadfast decision in the future when trying to hold his marriage together through tough times, raise his own kids, and further his career.

    Okay, rant over, but maybe somebody will read this and think, hmm, maybe I won’t baby my kids so much when they want to quit on something!


  • SilverAtlanta

    Wait, you mean to tell me the Hornets aren’t a D-league.team?

  • SilentBob

    I disagree about it not being the right move for Noah, but I liked the rest of your rant lol

  • FinEndNow

    There was a bit more than “homesickness” as to why Luke left. But that’s nothing to talk about.

  • SCHoosier

    Show me the money………D league or not that first round draft pick paycheck arrives right on time.

  • NC Hoosier

    I believe “homesickness” was a bit misleading. Go to some other IU blogs and read what LF went through while he was at IU. I believe he was homesick, but that it was made much worse by some of his teammates’ actions off the court. His transfer is going to haunt us.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I’m not sure that leaving college to be a first round draft pick is an immature move. Actually, I am sure it isn’t.

  • mckillio

    I can’t find anything on “real reasons” as to why Fischer left. I get and respect not wanting to discuss that here but can you point me in the right direction?

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    Well when CWat and the Maine Red Claws play the Mad Ants again I can watch them both play.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Hernia or not, he wasn’t quite ready for the NBA yet. He could’ve benefited from another year in college and there is no question that we desperately needed him to stay. Now, I can’t say that I blame him for taking the pay check and I still think he will pan out and become a solid player.

  • MK

    There’s just such a big difference between quitting something and becoming a millionaire overnight. Would love to see you advise your kid not to make the same decision

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Noah will be fine…when the NBA is going to make you a first round pick…you go…The big men who are gone ARE gone rally around what IU can put on the floor today not in the future..when anyone says anything negative about Yogi or JB the comments go nuts with folks taking up for them…..but all the “sneak dissing ” of the current big men is a little overboard.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I didn’t say anything about NV “quitting”. I simply said his decision was “somewhat immature” in the sense that it was all about the money and not about being ready. I think i would probably tell my kid in that situation to stay at least one more year to develop, but I would understand the money obviously. It was LF I was speaking of when I talked about “quitting” because in his case I’ve been unable to find anything solid about why he left other than he was homesick.

    I tend to believe that was a lot of it and if so I stand firm that he made an immature decision.

  • Kelin Blab

    The D League has a far far more competitive spirit and something to play for than a college game:
    1. D League players are playing for the opportunity to be called up to an NBA Team.
    2. The players are playing in front of scouts, NBA & International on a nightly basis.
    3. They are playing for their livelihood where they could set themselves and their families up for life…for life.
    4. They are playing for 6, 7, and 8 figure contracts…..not a conference title.

    as far as being homesick…..if your kid wants to be closer to his family, I don’t know a parent that would tell their kid….”no no son, you have to stay with people you have known for 90 days tops….and commit to being away from people you have known all your life.” I appreciate a good ITH rant but this one I disagree with when two kids ….kids…made decisions about their lives that has worked out VERY well for both of them thus far.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Normally I agree with you KB, but I’ve been to a D-league game and the one I went through felt like a high school all-star game. There was no sense of urgency at all. As far as the parent you speak of, I know at least one, because that kid was me. Today I thank my dad for telling me to stick it out for the year because quitting midterm would be breaking a commitment I made to “a team”. He felt like a team commitment was like a family commitment and i needed to see it through at least until the end of the year. He was right and if my kids are ever in the same situation I’ll do the same.

  • eville87

    I had heard that all around he thought he made a big mistake. With playing time? (Jeff Howard) That there was some off the court and lockeroom stuff that pushed him away. This could be the one transfer that will cost Crean.

  • disqus_hZUXnZBP93

    all as raw freshmen. hanner is still raw, Noah or Luke would have made a significant impact with this team

  • FinEndNow

    A completely different board to talk about it haha. Umm.. try CFBSportstalk and go to the basketball page. Its a pretty nice site. It is nothing but message boards. Very well ran just like out beloved ITH.

  • FinEndNow

    He could have benefited from another year but missing 2 months hurts. Missing preseason will hurt a rookie so much. It happened to Anthony Bennett.

  • PDXHoosier

    Vonleh is still very young and missed valuable time due to injury. The D league will be better for him to improve, and I expect he will still be a solid player in the association in the future.

  • Zach

    I thought Noah needed more development before going to the NBA like many but he had to go and seize the opportunity. Athletes have a very limited window where their bodies allow them to play sports for a living and they have to make as much money as they can before that window closes. That’s just the way it is. My concern with Noah was that because he left while still developing some key fundamentals, I was worried it would affect his ability to produce in the NBA and earn a solid second contract. On one hand he has to take advantage of his chance but on the other, he could have developed further in college before jumping and setting himself up better for a longer career (assuming no injuries). But at the same time, he’s doing his developing now in the D-League and making some money at the same time.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Luke is averaging about 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. That one hurts a lot and if Marquette starts competing at a high level against the upper echelon of the Big East it’s gonna sting a lot more…

  • PBzeer

    I’d just as soon be done with the hypocrisy of “one and done” (or even 2 & done) and just let’em go straight to D-League from HS. Use scholarships for STUDENTS who want to play sports instead of wasting them on somebody just “passing through”. If the NBA wants them to wait a year (as currently), let them draft to D-League and not be able to bring them up for a year.

    If someone accepts a scholarship, then they should stay in school until they get a 4 year degree (if they can do it in 3, that’s ok, the main thing is getting an education).

    The same holds true, pretty much, for transfers. It’s one thing to transfer for educational opportunities, but it’s become way too easy to transfer for sports reasons. It’s college, an educational institution, not a sports factory (even though that’s pretty much what football and hoops programs have become). And as long as I’m ranting, I’ll add no coach of any college sport should earn more than the head of the college.

  • Eastwood88_2

    Hard to second guess the first round money he received, but I am certain his inability to pass would still be an issue for our team. No way do we want a black hole in the post. Ball goes in never to be seen again with some of the best three point shooters in the country. Now for Fischer….That was a game changer. We are one year removed from this terrible announcement. Whatever the reason for his leaving, it was on us and Crean to make him feel like there was not other place he wanted to be. This was a 4 year guy who we could build around. All the talents we needed to make us good. I agree with most everything you said ACEMAN. But some/most of the blame is on CREAN. The kid was too important to our future to let him go. The writing was on the wall NV was going elsewhere. Luke should have been at the Crean dinner table several times a week. Kid is going to tear it up and I wish him the best. The best should have been in candy stripes.

  • Eastwood88_2

    The new transfer rule is destroying the mid-major. Not that I have a problem with this(I am not a fan of small schools , but the rule is a complete joke. Kids are moving to established programs instead of the staying with the David schools. I am in complete favor of having kids stay 2/3 years min and not being eligible for the draft. Let them to go to the DL if that is there desire. College sports is still about the education and what Kentucky is doing is not helping anyone.

  • hardly

    great post – i couldn’t agree more. if a coach makes $1 million instead of $5 million, does it change their lifestyle much? No. But $4 million extra in the general scholarship fund sure would change a lot of lives. Universities have gotten too far away from their core values, and all parties are to blame – administrators, coaches, and alumni. One would hope that for all the drama that athletics creates it is a net positive contributor to the university’s budget – but it isn’t. At IU the athletic department is right at the edge, oftentimes dipping into the red. Unfortunately there is no good solution unless all schools get together and make changes collectively – which isn’t going to happen.

  • who’syourhoosier

    Not to mention the fact that he is only 19 years old. I can’t think of a reason to pass on being a top ten draft pick. Now he can completely focus on his game and will have NBA/D-league talent to play against.

  • cooper

    . He hurt his chance of a lengthy nba career by leaving early. Yes he got one nice contract but it’s going to be hard to get another one. Right move to go to D league though, he will never get better being the 12th man on the ends of the bench

  • Jp

    Hopefully he can get into game shape soon and get back onto the main roster. At least he has a guaranteed $5,161,920 mil for the first two years and from what it sounds like, he has a good head on his shoulders to help him earn the remaining $11 mil on the 2 options years and final qualifying offer year.

  • marcusgresham

    The problem with sticking around is the buffoonery of the NBA GM. If you’re 19 they just want to look at your potential regardless of what you actually accomplished. The longer you stick around the more things they pick out they don’t think you can do.
    I’ve said it before–if I were an NBA GM I’d draft a guy who may not have as much potential but is currently more ready to play; then in three years, after the other guy has started to reach his potential I’ll sign him (and my team will look attractive to him because I’ve had guys who can play and we’ll have a better record than the team “full of potential.”)

  • marcusgresham

    …and I currently have a friend posting Kentucky’s glowing team and individual GPAs. Hell yeah they’re over 3.0—they have multiple tutors and they aren’t taking anything strenuous because they know they aren’t going to have to be there more than a year or two.

  • Eugene Debs

    I know he has to count his Benjamins with a bill counter, but I can’t help but think that he should have stayed at least another year.

  • SilentBob

    I agree about one and done’s, simply because they are adults and should be able to make there own choice on what’s best for there life. Everything else you suggest constricts ones personal freedom and liberty. Colleges are supposed to help one build for their selected career. Sports might be ones selected career, and if a University isn’t providing them the best help it should be their right to leave (transfer or otherwise) just like any other student. I’m tellin’ ya right now if I was majoring in software engineering but google comes and offers me a job, I’m not going to finish my degree. As far as money goes, that’s capitalism for ya. Maybe you can get away with this in state funded colleges, but you can’t tell a privately funded college how to spend their money.

  • SilentBob

    The crazy/scary thing is Cal is staring to get 2/3/4 yr players who are 5 stars. The strange thing is though, if I’m a recruit, it’s usually because they (the 2+ yr players) aren’t living up to the hype. I, as a recruit (hypothetically) interested in becoming the best I could be, would start to question if Cal is really the best for developing my talents. Noel and Goodwin did little to develop their games while there. Poythress has regressed significantly each year. Am I the only one who remembers him dominating the McDonald’s All-American game? The Harrison’s stock dipped significantly as freshmen and hasn’t risen. Lee, Lyles, and Johnson were all 5 stars and aren’t even sniffing the draft right now. Kidd-Gilchrist was pushed out the door and look where that got him. Wiltjer and Harrow have both transferred and become stars at their new schools. And almost none of his players add to their bodies while there. Cal is a great coach and recruiter (I almost vomited typing that) but his development skills are questionable. I fail to understand why so many 5 stars go there every year.

  • PBzeer

    I wasn’t aware any school offered a degree in sports participation, nor that scholarships were condition-free. I understand the point you’re trying to make, but a scholarship is a commitment to the student and should engender an equal commitment in return. Or, more succinctly, let’s put the student back in student-athlete instead of maintaining the charade.

  • SilentBob

    Well they do for creative writing so they might as well. Scholarships can be revoked so why can’t players leave? I mean they got their scholarship because of sports so why should they stop making sports based decisions after that? Not allowing them to leave is potentially taking their career hostage. I mean marriage is a commitment too, but there is no doubt divorce is sometimes needed. The one year is penalty for transferring is more than enough

  • twarrior87

    yes, but we had no shooters. with our shooters this year IU would most likely be an undefeated top 10 team right now.

  • Dave Carnes

    The atmosphere on last years team was horrid.Unlike this year nobody played together nobody improved,and guys who couldn’t play at this level got way to many minutes.I would have got out while the gettin was good.

  • Dave Carnes

    Silver you get the prize. Nice one.

  • enickman

    One of the best posts I’ve read on ITH. Good tough-love life message!

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    It’s pUKe silly. They are ranked #129 in academics overall.
    IU is ranked #75 With a degree from pUKe, one can definitely have an advantage when applying at KFC.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    I do not think he would have benefited under CTC, Noah should have played the 4. He should have been able to develop his skills for the NBA. Imho