Every year after the college basketball season ends, there is at least one play – and usually more than just one – who flies up the draft boards.
Lately, the player who appears to be making his way up is former Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns’ point guard Elfrid Payton, who could wind up being a lottery pick. However, the prospect who has had the most steady rise may be former Indiana Hoosiers’ big man Noah Vonleh. Although the Hoosiers had a rough year, Vonleh’s talent stood out and he has been looked at as a certain first rounder and potential lottery pick for some time. Recent reports have suggested he could go as high as four to the Orlando Magic and the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings, who hold the following four picks, are all very high on Vonleh.
According to Chris Mannix, who projects the Lakers to select Vonleh, executives are “gushing about the potential of Vonleh.”
More and more executives are gushing about the potential of Vonleh. He has all the physical tools, including huge hands, a strong lower body and excellent athleticism. And his perimeter stroke suggests he can become a dangerous inside-out threat. At 18, Vonleh will take time — which may not make Kobe Bryant happy — but his potential is very good. The Lakers like Randle here, too.
Vonleh, who measured in at 6’9.5 and 247 pounds with an impressive wingspan of 7’4.5, averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 52.3% from the field, 48.5% from beyond the arc and 71.6% from the free throw line. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express ranks Vonleh as the seventh-best prospect in the draft.