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November 9, 2013

College Basketball: Three area greats ready to make names for themselves

Three area greats primed to capture nation's attention

(Continued)

After the game, coach Tom Crean said, “Noah has a triple double in the sense of the rebounds, points and 12 deflections. To me, that’s a big deal in his first game.”

Seventy seconds into the game, he grabbed a rebound, dribbled the length of the floor and scored on a left-handed driving lay-up.

Not a bad way to introduce yourself to the college basketball world.

Many experts believe it may be just one year in Bloomington then off to the NBA. But Noah doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.

“I’m not even sure,” he said in a recent telephone interview. “I’ll just play this year out. If I have the option, I’ll talk to my family.”

Crean must be hoping Vonleh is a two-year Hoosier much like last year’s All-American Cody Zeller.

Crean told the Indianapolis Star in July, “He’s going to have an opportunity to leave (for the NBA) at a young age. He’s got a drive but there’s a humbleness to him. ... He knows what he doesn’t know.”

Vonleh’s greatest strengths are his rebounding, his ballhandling and his versatility much like longtime NBA standout Lamar Odom. He still has to develop a couple of go-to offensive moves.

“I’m playing the 5 (center) and 4 (power forward) and 3 (small forward), using my versatility,” he said.

Even for players at gifted as Vonleh, freshman year can be an eye-opener.

Have there been eye-opening moments?

“Every day,” he said with a laugh. “Sometimes its Yogi Ferrell or Will Sheehey. Everybody is dunking on each other. It’s great.”

There were a couple blips in the preseason. He had a minor ankle injury and then he missed all eight of his free throws in two exhibition games. So it was a relief that he was 5 for 5 from the stripe vs. overmatched Chicago State.

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