Jim Boeheim and his staff are trying to make sure their second swing at a #1 big man from New England is a home run. While Syracuse lost top prospect and Massachusetts prouduct Nerlens Noel, Noah Vonleh would be a terrific followup.
Vonleh hails from Haverhill, MA (not far from N2’s home of Everett), and is considered the top power forward in the Class of ’14. He has repeatedly mentioned SU as one of the schools recruiting him hard.
The front line monster stands at 6’8, 220 lbs. and is getting lots of national attention. ESPN released its Super 60 rankings for the ’14 class yesterday and Vonleh stands at. Top 15 players on that list, Theo Pinson and Wayne Selden, are also on the Orange radar. The top overall player in ’14 is Andrew Wiggins, and has also gotten an offer from SU.
Although Noah says he has not put together an official list, at least 13 schools have made official offers, including Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Kansas, and North Carolina.
But who was the first to reach out to NV with a scholarship? The Orange. Back when Vonleh was just a freshman at Haverhill High, Syracuse reached out to the versatile big man. NV transferred to New Hampton HS his sophomore year.
The growing forward currently plays for the Mass Rivals AAU program, in which he’s averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, along with blocked shots. Vonleh looks to continue his success into tournament action this weekend. His Rivals club is seeking its third major championship.
SU will definitely have high competition to land Vonleh. UNC’s Roy Williams has made Vonleh his first official 2014 scholarship offer. Kentucky has yet to offer NV, but it’s a safe bet that John Calipari will be in the mix given N2 could be NBA Draft bound after his freshman season.
Noah has said he would feel comfortable in the patented SU zone, and likes the fact the program churns out NBA-ready players annually. On the offensive end NV truly displays his versatility. He is a combo forward/point-forward. At 6’8″ he can get out on the break and make plays. At New Hampton, Vonleh juggles the roles of handling the ball up court, or being fed in the post. And we all know how Boeheim loves to isolate the playbook and focus on match ups offensively.
The fact a big like Vonleh can handle the ball well is a rarity. With Rakeem Christmas as a primary post player, along with Jerami Grant coming in this season, the Orange could definitely use a versatile PF. Vonleh compares very similarly to 2013 recruit JermaineLawrence, who says the Orange leads his recruiting brigade.
NV still has a lot to work on, especially his mid-range scoring and buckling down on defense. But a comfort within the zone would certainly help that. With such a large frame still growing, his ability to create his own shot makes him a scary player to guard and one the Orange will continue to push for.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen