CHEERS to former Haverhill hoop star Noah Vonleh, who has decided to leave Indiana University after his freshman year and enter the NBA draft. We won’t know for sure if this was the right decision for years to come. But it’s clear that big-time college basketball is in reality a minor league system for the big-money National Basketball Association. Who can object to Vonleh’s decision to promote himself to the pros now rather than risk an injury that might short-circuit any chance he has to use his God-given talents to benefit himself and his family? Indiana University has already made a small fortune on the backs of Vonleh and teammates.
It might be different if the 6-foot-10 Vonleh weren’t so highly regarded. At just 18, he stands to make $7 million to $8 million on his first contract if picked in the top 10 in the draft, as expected. He’ll make much more after that if he proves himself.
We wish him good luck and success in his NBA career. Our only other hope is that the Celtics find a way to draft him. Wouldn’t it be great to be rooting for a Hillie as the Celts rebuild the historic franchise?
JEERS to Luis Figueroa, of Salem, N.H., who had the effrontery to protest a judge’s decision to hold him on $1.5 million cash bail after his arrest following a police pursuit Friday that began when police found him apparently passed out in his Mercedes with the car in gear. Roused from his torpor, Figueroa took off damaging several parked cars and three cruisers and sending two police officers to the hospital. At his video arraignment Monday, Figueroa yawned as Salem police prosecutor Jason Grosky asked for the $1.5 million bail, citing his long criminal record and risk of flight to avoid prosecution.