It didn’t take Noah Vonleh long to establish his dominance at Indiana. The freshman spent one year racking up double-doubles before deciding to leave school early.
This was always a possibility, especially when you have a player rated so highly in his class. IU’s return to prominence comes with a price; a revolving door of talented players who will have a brief but influential stay on campus.
Vonleh is considered one of the top 10 players in this years upcoming NBA Draft. Scouts praise his potential and no one has put a ceiling on his abilities.
The Big Ten Freshman of the Year recorded 10 double-double in his freshman campaign while averaging 11 points and nine rebounds per game. He was also a force on the defensive end with 1.4 blocks and a steal each night.
At 6-10, 240-pounds, and sporting a 7-3 wingspan Vonleh has ideal size for a post play at the professional level. It is likely that he is still growing as well since he’ll turn 19 before the start of next season.
With his athleticism he could play on the wing or in the post and has the ability to guard a variety of positions. He is a bit raw on the offensive end, but chalk that up to coach Tom Crean not force feeding him the ball.
He is an extremely talented rebounder, and that is something that doesn’t disappear at the next level. He also isn’t afraid to get physical in the paint and is willing to fight for loose balls.
Vonleh was by far the Hoosiers best player, and shot 52-percent from the field (and 48-percent from the arc). Despite his talent, he was taking just seven shots per game by the end of the season.
There was nothing left to be gained by Vonleh staying another season in Bloomington. He wasn’t going to improve his draft stock and based on how Crean was using him on the court, his skill set would only get marginally better.
The NBA is known for drafting based off potential alone. The Philadelphia 76ers traded to get Nerlens Noel last season, knowing that he wouldn’t play this year due to a torn ACL.
The Hoosiers are left with a big hole in their front court now. Without Vonleh, IU doesn’t have a dominant rebounder or defensive presence in the post.
We’ll take a deeper look at IU later in the week and address the questions heading into next season.