Eighteen-year-old Noah Vonleh’s dream of playing in the NBA will be under scrutiny when the 2014 Draft Combine opens on Thursday in Chicago.
American-born Vonleh is the son of Ms. Rennel Vonleh who moved to Massachusetts from Liberia in 1994 after spending some time in the neighbouring Ivory Coast.
He is one of the candidates willing to showcase their athletic abilities to executives, scouts, coaches and doctors.
Top NBA prospect, Vonleh joins the event with the Big-Ten Conference Freshman of the Year award under his belt, after averaging 11.3 points and 9 rebounds per game at the Indiana University (IU).
The 2.08m forward is a very athletic player who still needs to improve some skills including his footwork and ball handling, but this did not prevent him from declaring available for the 2014 NBA Draft.
During his press conference – held last month – alongside Indiana University head coach Tom Crean, Vonleh said it was a difficult decision to make, but encouraging messages from friends, former coaches, NBA scouts, critics, media and more importantly, the encouragement from his single mother, made him believe he can succeed in the Draft next month.
Vonleh spent only one season under coach Crean, but his numbers and performances kept growing, and he thought it was time to follow the steps of former IU Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller who were selected 1st and 4th in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Coach Crean supported Vonleh’s decision, and highlighted his work ethic. “We're proud of him. He's got an unlimited future because of his potential, because of his character, because of his work ethic, the talent is there, the weight and the strength that he's put on in a short period of time,” Crean said of Vonleh.
When asked to talk about his game, Vonleh said: “I think I proved that I've got a pretty good skill set. I can step out, shoot threes. My post game has gotten a lot better, still a work in progress. I can still improve on it. I can still improve on a lot of things in my shot, getting my release quicker, being able to push the dribble out and do different things like that; just to make myself an overall better player.”
Usually the NBA Draft Combine determines whether participants have realistic chances of embracing the NBA world.