College basketball fans, pinch yourself. These are the good old days.
We’ve never had an impact player in bigtime men’s basketball. Now after 70 years of roundball irrelevance, we’ve become New York City. It certainly feels like it, anyway.
This winter there are three local products expected to do big things in the bigtime.
How big? This Big 3 averages nearly 6-10, 245 pounds and their reputations are even bigger than that.
Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh of Haverhill (44th) and Iowa State sophomore Georges Niang of Methuen (95th) were ranked in the top 100 college players in the country by CBSSports.com. Vonleh was ranked No. 31 by USA Today while Niang was tabbed No. 73 was by the Bleacher Report.
Transfer Carson Desrosiers is a 7-0, 250-pound junior from Windham and Central Catholic now playing big minutes at Providence.
Get your clickers ready and keep the ESPN listings handy, it should be a winter to remember for college hoop fans.
Noah Vonleh, Indiana Freshman: Haverhill meets Hoosier Hysteria
The last time most area basketball fans saw Noah Vonleh play, he was a 15-year-old sophomore at Haverhill High displaying otherworldly skills the likes of which have never been seen in these parts.
He’s three inches taller (6-10), put on 25 pounds of muscle in the last year (up to 240), still has the freakish wingspan (7-feet-4) and still has the otherworldly skills.
Vonleh, who was ranked the No. 8 senior in the country by Rivals.com last winter, is coming off two big years at New Hampton Prep and now is ready to make an immediate impact at Indiana.
The freshman played forward and center in the season-opening 100-72 win over Chicago State on Friday. Vonleh had a whopping 11 boards in 12 first-half minutes and finished with 11 points (3-10 shooting, 5-5 free throws), 14 rebounds, 12 deflections and 3 blocks in 22 minutes.