Vonleh goes No. 9 to the Charlotte Hornets

Noah Vonleh suffered a late slip in his draft stock, but still went No. 9 overall to the Charlotte Hornets in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

Vonleh, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, joins former Indiana center Cody Zeller in Charlotte, as well as center Al Jefferson and guard Kemba Walker. The Hornets, who were still known as the Bobcats last season, took the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season before being swept by the Miami Heat in the first round.

Vonleh becomes Indiana’s third top 10 pick in the last two seasons, joining Zeller and last year’s No. 2 pick in Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo.

35 comments

  1. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who feels this way but being a one and done player leaves me feeling no sentimental connection to Vonleh. Maybe if the team had accomplished something last year it would be different but I feel like he was just killing time at IU until the draft. I’m kind of glad the draft is over with so I don’t have to hear about him anymore.

    I’m not a big NBA guy but I looked up the box scores to see how Victor and Cody did all last year but with Vonleh I’ll only notice him because of Cody and DJ. Nothing against him personally but the charade of one and dones bothers me. I don’t know how Kentucky fans can be so passionate about their teams.

  2. Aruss, you answered your own question: “…no sentimental connection to Vonleh. Maybe if the team had accomplished something last year it would be different.”

    “I don’t know how Kentucky fans can be so passionate about their teams.” Yes you do. Like it or not, UK Basketball is a winner.

  3. Agree. Yet we moan & groan when we don’t get the big name recruits. NBA said they want to do something about the one & done. Maybe a start. They also said they want the college game ref’ed more like the NBA. Hate to see that.

  4. I thought one more year under his belt would’ve done him much good, but I guess that’s just me. Noah did many things well, but needed polished in some other areas. Maybe his NBA coaches will shore up his shortcomings.

    Aruss – I don’t think Noah was killing time. Perhaps his agenda was just to get to the NBA, and take care of his family. We don’t know. I don’t like Kentucky either, but winning cures a lot of complaining. Like it or. to, it’s a gravy train in Lexington.

  5. One and done is a bad joke. Bad for everyone involved except NBA owners. It should be abolished.

    I have not watched five minutes of an NBA game in 20 years. If the college game is basketball, the NBA game is something else. I wish Noah well in the future, but I’ll probably never see him play again.

  6. I agree with the sentiments to a point. However, had this team made a run in the tournament this year, I’m sure I would have had a much stronger connection to Noah.

    One and done sucks. Either make it min 2 years (would prefer 3, but probably unrealistic) or get rid of it all together.

  7. What also sucks is that three young men from Indiana that got drafted last night didn’t even go to IU.

    Michigan and Michigan State would have only had one pick(Stauskas) in last night’s Draft without their state and schools getting their bragging rights on behalf of Indiana kids(McGary, Harris, Robinson).

    Indiana kids did a lot of advertising for the state of Michigan last night. Meanwhile, Tom Crean pads his personal resume in primarily taking under-the-radar kids from more populous states in the East and providing them Indiana and all its wonderful basketball heritage as their temporary NBA development camp.

    Zak Irvin and Trey Lyles will add two more that passed on Crean and IU from our home state that will likely be in the NBA Draft next year.

    All is not lost…We did get the Fort Wayne kid that would have likely preferred to play his one-and-done year at Kentucky; finally concluding that the appropriate stage for his awesomeness should be Indiana because the UK competition is merely too stiff.

  8. Character concerns? Didn’t you just answer your own question sorta…?

    How much character does any kid have that simply wants to use the dollars, fans, exposure, and facilities of a fine university to pave the quick road to their own individual glory through the one-and-done process? They don’t even care enough about the fans to fight for banner that hasn’t been lofted above McCracken for almost thirty years.

    So, can we please stop using ridiculous hype claiming “everything hinges” on any of these recruits that care first and foremost about their own personal wealth and glory? They don’t come to Indiana to raise banners. They come because it’s there best opportunity to put their skills on a billboard for NBA owners.

    If we have no choice to be part of that ugly system the now allows the NBA to use universities to prop up the popularity of their networks and game, can we please get a coach that can get them to understand the game and teach them at the accelerated rate? We’ve witnessed two-and-done’s and three-and-done’s that still play a very disjointed and confused game of basketball.

  9. Harvey,

    I’m confused. You sometimes portray a circular logic with your thinking on this issue. You slam Crean for not getting enough Indiana kids. But almost everytime you talk about Indiana kids that do come to IU to play for Crean, you get down on them, too. JBJ is only going to IU because he’s a wimp who can’t deal with the competition at Kentucky. Zeller joined the Jesus cult.

    BTW, I wholeheartedly agree with you that seeing so many kids leaving Indiana to go to our competition (and generally kill it there) is a real problem. If we even got half of those kids we might be staring at #6. Unfortunately for you, if that happened, you’d never get rid of Crean. 😉 But, I don’t know why we seem to be looking everywhere but our own backyard.

  10. Over the last six years, how many times have we heard Tom Crean say “it’s a process?” Answer: 10,000

    Dear Mr. Crean,

    Hate to break it to you, but when the primary highlight real athleticism is what you seek in a recruit(the draft types that get NBA execs to salivate and pull triggers early even though the prospect might not be technically ready for immediate NBA contribution), then you ain’t got time for “processes.” Either you have to be a faster teacher, or you need to find a different profession. Why? Because this is Indiana and we prefer teachers over snake oil salesman.

  11. Harv, I thought you were sympathetic to kids who come from poor backgrounds who are exploited by the system. I don’t think it is poor judgement or character for players to leave a system that is exploiting them. They are required to play for free (this crap about a free education is just indentured servitude). Taking the opportunity to go to the next level where entities that are able to play you what you are worth will do so. We need to stop pretending the billions that NCAA and Universities make off these kids is acceptable.

    I don’t find this to be just a matter of disagreement with you. I find it revolting that you are so quick to judge the character of people you’ve never met and never interacted with. In fact, by all public accounts, they seem to be great people on and off the court.

    I also remember you writing about 10k words in support of Captain Douchnozzle down at UK and his Band of 1&Doners. I guess they only jerks are the ones that decide to play for Crean and go pro.

    You’re in dire need of an ethos.

  12. Getting more of the NBA talent(the one-and-done and two-and-done prospects) that played high school ball in this state to come to I.U. would only add in highlighting the fact that Tom Crean doesn’t know what to do with talent. It would shorten up his time frame for “processes” even more. He’s no John Calipari. Crean can’t get talent to gel into a team quickly. They often look more lost come tournament time than they did during preseason exhibition games. It’s almost as if Crean’s forte is “negative learning” of the game. Stick that “circular logic” in the circle the sun don’t shine.

  13. Since Kentucky is a 1 and done school; I am willing to venture a theory that agents and Alum are cacheing money til the kids leave …hiring the agents that are lined up.KIDS see the money waiting at end of first semester .its a nice gig if you can get it

  14. No need to get crabby. I can always tell when you’ve painted yourself in a corner. You start calling me names, puddin’.

    Tell me: why do never have anything nice to say about Indiana kids that play for Tom Crean, but rail against Tom Crean for not recruiting enough Indiana kids?

    I was not having a discussion about Tom Crean’s coaching ability.

    Your Hero,
    Sugar Lips

  15. But I’ll remain interested. There’s always a balance and there’s a way to say “thank you” to those that helped you and guided you. Dreams are not achieved alone. In my humble opinion, what’s “broken” in the process is taking the teammates, fans, and all the coaches/mentors out of picture in aiding in the personal dream being achieved. We’ve given the individual the sole stage on Draft night when so many others have helped make that dream come true.
    It’s a team game. Staying with teammates and fighting for banners(the ultimate in what can be achieved together)is way of never losing the appreciation for the humble and collective purpose of a team endeavor.

    Character also has something to do with saying “thank you.” It’s sad that the only way to get a “thank you” is through forcing a kid to stay in college.

  16. Vonleh looks like a great young man.

    I don’t know him personally, but I was thoroughly proud of how he conducted himself while wearing the cream and crimson. I’ve seen nothing other than a polite and intelligent kid with a hell of a work ethic.

    I really don’t give any credence to a piece of journalistic garbage that may hint to character flaws in a 19-year-old. What 19-year-old kid possesses the fully developed and exceptional character of Double Down…or Donald Trump…or Skip Bayless…or Tom Crean…or Donald Sterling..or a kid getting drafted into the Vietnam War?

    Heroes are made by the media. And because heroes are made, they don’t necessarily have to parallel men of stellar character(yet to expect such of a child entering the endless shelves of a candy store to forever dine in sweet pleasures). Most men and women of heroic character(policemen/women firefighters, soldiers, single moms raising kids on the spit of a Wal-Mart wage on hard streets), never get the stage and flashy suit to go along with the standing ovations.

    I would certainly hope Noah has some flaws. We die with flaws. I would also hope(unlike the aforementioned group) that he recognizes that imperfections are beautiful and should be embraced lest he turn out to be so hideously perfect as the aforementioned Donald Trumps of the world.

    I just sometimes feel they’ve lost sight of the “thank you” aspect of dreams achieved. They’ve forgotten that every cheer starts with a young dreamer no different. And some dreams end at battlefield or Wal-Mart salary driving a rust bucket home after a 12-hour thankless day.

  17. These kids don’t owe anything to anyone. IF they work hard, stay in school, do well academically and keep out of trouble off the court, they owe the school they go to absolutely nothing. I love IU, but I paid an insane amount of money to do so. These kids pay with their labor. Which is indentured servitude and illegal in every single other case in America. The school has responsibility to us, not the other way around.

    It’s complete BS the double standard that athletes are held to versus other people. If I start a company while I’m in college, if it takes off, I sure as hell would leave in a New York minute to pursue my dream. Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs started the process and there are thousands of entrepreneurs doing the same. We call them heroes, not thugs of low character who refuse to continue supporting a system that won’t ever pay them what they’re worth.

    I don’t think it’s dreamy that kids stay in school to pursue a banner for no compensation over the opportunity to take care of their family for the rest of their lives.

  18. We’re all flawed, I agree. Humanity is what makes people interesting. Character is how people conduct themselves in acknowledgement of these flaws.

    I can’t even imagine how I would have handled being in the national stage at 18 years old. I came from an amazing family with great values, so I wouldn’t have had any excuses. I’m amazed at some of these kids who come from horrible backgrounds who get an opportunity to escape and do the right thing with a lot of distractions around them. I think it takes an infinitely higher amount of inner strength to do so, versus the easy life that I’ve had (comparatively).

  19. I mostly agree with your #20 and #21…But they are no more my heroes than a kid like Jamarcus Ellis that was used to a hideous level of unfairness and verbally demeaned by our institution’s representatives as part of a collective example of failures in “character.”

    And I don’t believe athletes should be paid for sports as “labor” while in college. I would rather see outside living expenses beyond scholarship money more fairly covered and see the NBA offer some form of insurance policies against injury(a sort of Draft without a Draft protection)that would allow a minimum of financial protection/contractual safety net for highly talented kids that want to stay in school and further their college dreams/education.

  20. J Ellis, Bassett, Crawford & Holman were definitely let down by their leaders. They still have personal responsibility, but they weren’t really given a chance.

    I couldn’t care less about the phone calls and the text messages re: Sampson. I’m appalled by his lack of leadership and carelessness with the academic emphasis. Should have been fired just for the APR rate (which was plummeting way before the infamous 19 Fs reveal).

  21. Many of those kids likely looked to Sampson as a father figure. I also tend to believe many were already over their heads academically when they arrived in Bloomington(no different than a Derrick Rose that needed a fill-in to take an entrance exam). I wonder if Crean ever asks his good friend down in Kentucky how he could look the other way to such fraudulent academic activity…?

    Anyway, once the investigation of Sampson began and whispers started to circulate over the NCAA investigation based and internal compliance over those horrible 3-way phone calls and water bottle gifts, I’d imagine there was abandonment of academic concerns for some of his recruits. They knew the writing was on the wall for their “father figure” and they may have felt their coach was being unjustly targeted(by the NCAA and by Indiana “insiders” like Kent Benson that were against the hire from day one). Those 19 F’s could have piled up very quickly as a result from lost interest on both sides the issue. Was their really ever that much heart invested in any Sampson recruit? They were nearly all guilty by association once the news of internal investigations began circulate.

  22. I don’t follow, or care about IU basketball much anymore. But Vonleh always seemed to me as a decent kid who mistakenly views himself as an NBA three. Vonleh isn’t quick enough to guard the position and is a bit undersized to play inside in the NBA as a four. (6-8 w/o shoes) He also played with a point guard who seems to view being Marques Haynes 30 ft from the bucket as more important than protecting the ball and getting it to people where they can do something with it.

    We’ll see how this plays out. I have never been one to think Tom Crean was an elite coach. Like Mike Davis, he seems to undervalue the inherent intelligence and grit of in state kids. Athletes who cannot shoot are just that. Creans IU success is tied to Christian Watford. Had Watford missed, they’d have blown a big lead at home against a hated rival and people would be screaming that he’s Mike Davis. There are no “We’re Back” t-shirts had Watford rimmed out.

    My biggest beefs have been a lack of selfless play by some of the players and a general lack of value for the ball. Throwing the ball up the sideline when the defense is already back and trying to bounce it to a cutter through a packed zone defense that yields a fast break the other way seem to be the norm. The only time I ever saw Fischer play, he was trailing the play as Sheehey gets double teamed and throws a behind the back pass at Fischer’s feet that skips across the court and out of bounds. Sheehey screams at Fishcher and stays in the game. I switched the channel and Fischer was gone soon after.

    Zeller’s last team was hindered in part by the fact they featured a team that was 5-8, 5-11, 6-3 on the perimeter and couldn’t see around or through Syracuse’s zone. Also a coach who apparently doesn’t understand the high post as an opening against it.

    I have zero appreciation for what the Trustees and administration have allowed IU basketball to become. However, I will close by not using their poor stewardship of the basketball program as an excuse to take unwarranted cheap shots at Christianity nor WalMart.

  23. Much like the methods Wal-Mart interjected itself and killed a diverse retail landscape of the many small towns and rural communities that were suffering from collapses in farming and U.S. manufacturing, IU Basketball mirrored the isolation that came with gradual decline its elite basketball status and the diversity that once flourished within a somewhat isolated environment in Southern Indiana. The further we distanced from the years of relevancy and banners within such isolation, the more the program became vulnerable to a man like Tom Crean.

    Small towns lost out their character and unique flavor to the swallowing retail mega giant that stands as example of the forces now taking root in American culture that push a sad need to be boring and the same.

    The culture Crean brought to Bloomington is of that same Wal-Mart invasion of narrow and easy views that attract the masses. Bloomington was the perfect setting for his sell. Once vibrant and diverse, it became victim of its own isolation. It’s the lazy draw of a cheap bag of religion sold no different than the lazy draw of a perceived cheaper price when no competition realistically exists.

  24. Great discussion. The one thing I take exception with is DD’s assertion of indentured servitude. We’ve heard for years that this was going to be a deep draft. Wiggins and Parker? The NBA scouts knew about them long before they ever stepped foot on a college basketball court. Same with every McD’s All-American. They’d have to have done something really stupid or just fall off the map win bad play to not get drafted.

    Why go to college, then?

    If you’re gonna give me the sob story of having a family to support– a broken home or a momma that worked three jobs– why would you wait a year to get paid? Go to Turkey, or Malta, or Israel, or Poland, or Malaysia, or Brazil. You’ll make at least the combined salary of a teacher, police officer, fire fighter, social worker, military serviceman, EMT, and telemarketer. PayPal can wire that sh** home. You can certainly get your family out of destitution for a year. And then get drafted the next year, where you can make your millions.

    If you were never destined for the NBA anyway, then your “job” is to play for the university that’s giving you an education while you play for them. Hopefully you advance to the point where the NBA notices you. If not, you’re just like the rest of us and have to find a job elsewhere.

    Ask anybody with a college degree– still paying off student loans 10+ years later, still looking for a job other than the one they could have gotten with a GED– how they feel about the indentured servitude of these student-athletes. If your lucky you might get a chuckle.

  25. That was a hell of a post. Only wish I had the smarts to have written it.

    Slam dunk, Punjab. Loved it. If this thread was a backboard, you just introduced us to Darryl Dawkins….From the planet Lovetron….

  26. Punjab,

    If there’s a free market and someone is willing to pay you “x” amount for your services, you should be able to recover the fees for those services.

    It’s not about contracts just to play either. Our local fan favorite Jordan Hulls might have something to say about looking up into the crowd and seeing his #1 jersey all over AH. He’ll never whiff the NBA, but Indiana University and the NCAA made 100% margin off of him.

    The reason kids go to college is that it is still the best developmental “league” for kids to go to prepare them for the next level. Going overseas because they can get paid doesn’t take into account that you are heading into media obscurity, as well as dealing with the cultural and language issues that come with playing in a foreign country. It could be a heck of an experience for the right kid, but D-1 is still a much higher percentage option. The coaches in the NCAA are better than overseas, as well.

    The fact that other students are taking out student loans that they can’t pay back has nothing to do with this. University tuitions have skyrocketed to untenable heights. A bubble of epic proportions. If any kid going through college realized they had a talent that could pay them, they are free to pursue it. Unless of course you’re an athlete. Now you have be thankful that you get “a free education” of something that has been artificially inflated for almost 20 years.

    Lots of mutually exclusive elements you’ve pointed to which still don’t justify why the NCAA gets to make 100% profit off of players who are bringing in a huge amount of revenue to their schools.

    Also, this a comments section of a sports blog. Indentured servitude wasn’t meant to be taken literally — having to explain hyperbole kind of loses it’s effect.

  27. In the summer after Smart hit his jumpshot against Syracuse, I saw a special on TV where Digger Phelps, other notable coaches and Abe Lemmons were debating freshman eligibility. After much high handed conversation and hand-wringing, (I’m assuming Harvard was on the panel), one of the coaches commented that as a freshman, Derrick Coleman had too much pressure on him to make a free throw worth millions of dollars to his school. “It’s too much pressure to ask an 18 yr old kid to go to class and play big time college basketball” was the consensus.

    Lemmons put down his cigar (yes they smoked on TV back then) and said: “When I was 18 yrs old, face down on the volcanic rock on Iwo Jima, I said to myself: Abe, you sure are lucky you don’t have to go to class and play basketball today.”

    The debate dried up after that.

    Harvard, did I miss something of did you jump your argument from single mom’s raising a family on Wall Mart pay to Wall Mart ruining small town America? Is there ANYTHING that Wall Mart isn’t responsible for in terms of the decline of Western Civilization?

  28. Yes. You have my full agreement that college kids have it better than kids who had to storm Iwo Jima with no cover against a highly motivated, entrenched and ruthless enemy.

    17-18 yo kids who have come out of the AAU circuit have not gone through the equivalent Marine Basic Training, which is designed to mentally and physically shape a young man in a way that he loses his ego, his identity and molds him into the Marine family on their terms:

    WWII vet Robert Leckie called it like this:

    “It is a process of surrender. At every turn, at every hour, it seemed, a habit or a preference had to be given up, an adjustment had to be made. Even in the mess hall we learned that nothing mattered so little as a man’s own likes or dislikes … Worst in this process of surrender was the ruthless refusal to permit a man the slightest privacy.”

    AAU and high school kids aren’t preparing their players in this manner. They get wined and dined. They’re sold on how the programs will work for them, not vice versa. It happens the moment people discover little Billy has an excellent jumpshot and he’s a good foot taller than all the other rugrats around him. It is a testament to most of these kids’ characters that they all don’t end up as entitled as Kanye West.

    The NCAA is still the best way for these types of kids to prepare for the next level (NBA or life in general). Collegiate athletics has a lot going for it. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t flaws. We should be able to debate these issues in of themselves.

  29. Are there that many people wearing Jordy Hulls’ jerseys…? I thought he was the worst defender in all of college basketball…? I thought he was only offered a scholarship so the local Wal-Mart homeys would get behind Crean…? Should you really be paid to be the worst defender in all of college basketball? Two of the worst performances I’ve ever witnessed in sports were from Bloomington products: Rex Grossman’s complete meltdown in the Super Bowl and Jordy Hulls getting completely exposed against a VCU press in the NCAA tournament. Grossman…? I guess you could pay him for his college performances, but as far as the Bears are concerned, he should have given his entire salary back. And Hulls got free advertising of his game that was never really worthy of an IU jersey. Without that free advertising that cost us many games because of defenses lapses rarely honestly adressed(except by Seth Davis), Jordy would likely not even be playing in Poland. Crean brought him in because of the squeaky clean Christian image and the hope such selling of the “passion for the Word” would help in getting Zeller down the road. Crean is the only one that owes Hulls money due to how it saved his ass in landing Zeller. Take any funds out of Crean’s ridiculous salary.

  30. Paying college kids above the value of a scholarship/education? Various thoughts….

    And we think coaches with multi-million dollar contracts have trouble keeping kids in line now?

    Does this do anything to motivation? Does it steal something away from still seeing the coach as the figurehead?

    Is it only the athlete that creates the stage for the university? Is college still not somewhat of a proving ground for even some of the best talents? And what is the cost to them to display such skills that could soon net them millions of dollars? Isn’t the athlete capitalizing in the form of free advertising while playing at a university so deeply rooted in basketball traditions?

    Does this mean we get rid of the 4-year scholarship idea that Glass is ready to instill?

    If we’re paying them to play, shouldn’t their stay/salary be far more performance related?

    And if we feel that we’re not getting our money’s worth(in terms of their quality of play on the court), can we get out of deal quickly(e.g. lure a player from another college without the rule to sit out a year)?

    What is the minimum salary? What is a specialty/role player worth? Do bench-warmers get the same salary as starters? Should starting salary be based on where they were on a Rival’s(stars/ranking) list before entering college?

    Why not let boosters pay the salaries? Don’t they already to a large extent through contributions intended to push for certain players? Will boosters like that form of public disclosure?

    Will there be bonuses paid to players for making the NCAA tournament?

    Will they still want to live in dorm units or should we allow them to live in upscale neighborhoods on the campus suburbs?

    Could they start using their salary to pay of teachers?

    Will professors have the same concern for the failing salaried player knowing such player is likely already earning more than the teacher/prof/tutor?

    Could this open the door for academic assistants/tutors bargaining up the fees for helping students get through classes?

    Jeremy Hollowell has found another college willing to risk scholarship funds in hopes he finds the game we all know he was capable. But if a salary and money beyond that minimum is required, will another major university take that risk?

    Do we really want to make college ball as cutthroat as the NBA? Some kids don’t develop or mature as quickly as others….Could we become so dollar conscious that we won’t be willing to be as patient with an athlete improving at a slower rate or a kid that may not really find his total game until his junior or senior year?

    Do larger universities or prestigious schools with the most wealth begin to push for higher salaries in order to squeeze smaller institutions?

    Do athletes in less popular sports deserve the same salary as a basketball or football athlete? If so, could this help increase the popularity of such sports in the middle school and high school years? Does a female student on the IU rowing team get the same salary as a starting point guard on the basketball team?

    If rowing already carries much less interest and fan support than basketball or football, does a large salary discrepancy contribute to a feeling of even less equal appreciation for their dedication to an extremely difficult and challenging athletic endeavor that gives their university pride in diverse traditions, flavor, and uniqueness (though far less cash flow in terms of ticket sales, TV contracts, etc)?

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