The countdown continues on our sprint to Indiana basketball's regular season on Friday. We've come down to the final member of our freshman class and most likely the biggest impact player of the group, Noah Vonleh. During the summer we already took a bit of a look at what to expect from Noah in an empirical manner, but now that we've had a chance to see him compete in some actual games has that changed?
Hometown: Haverhill, Mass.
High School: New Hampton School
Height / Weight: 6-10 / 240
Noah is a guy that I think most here would agree is going to be and has to be a high impact player right off the bat for the Hoosiers. He's got a ton of length. At 6-10 he has a reported wingspan anywhere from 7-3 to 7-5 depending on who you ask. That's a lot of Noah to block shots and rebound. Despite his size though, he's still a guy that can step out and play a perimeter game as well. He hit a 3 pointer in the game against USI and more so than Cody, I think we're going to see him do some shooting away from the rim. That was something Cody was good at, but never did. I think Vonleh is less shy to take those attempts.
What Vonleh does need to address is his presence on the court. He has the same problem as Zeller in the fact that he can dominate a game with his ability but doesn't necessarily demand the ball to do so. What truly separates the good from the great in college basketball isn't necessarily talent, but mindset. The best in the game are guys with the killer instinct to take over a game. The ones that are just very good have the same level of talent, but not the go for the throat mentality. Vonleh has to find some of that fight in him.
Mentality aside, Noah's a hell of a rebounder and could provide a great defensive presence in the post. His length is going to allow him to block a lot of shots and grab defensive rebounds. We're also going to see him flashing some ball handling this season as well, because despite his size, he handles the ball well. There will be a couple times this year where I expect to see some coast to coast type moves from the big fella.
Getting down into the nitty gritty of expecations, Noah should be easy to pinpoint as a floor. However, I'm not 100% certain what his ceiling is going to look like on this team. I would say a bad year for Noah is one where he gets a majority of the starts but just can't find any flow in his offensive game. 8 pts and 5 rebounds would not be a good year for a top 10 recruit. A good year would be starting lineup with 12 points and 7 rebounds. That's the average numbers for a guy ranked where he is out of high school at his position. In a ZOMG TOM CREAN IS THE BEST TALENT DEVELOPER EVER year Noah would put up Cody Zeller numbers. 16 points and 8 rebounds a game would be enough to get him on an All-American freshman team, B1G Freshman of the year and in the discussion for first team All-American honors. It would also likely put Indiana squarely in Big Ten championship contention.