Celtics impressed by local product Vonleh after workout

Celtics impressed by local product Vonleh after workout
June 11, 2014, 2:45 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — There's a certain amount of pressure every player making the jump to the NBA faces.

But that sense of expectation grows exponentially when having to consistently play in front of family and friends which would indeed be the case for Noah Vonleh if the Boston Celtics drafted him.

The Haverhill, Mass. native, very much in the running to be selected with the Celtics' No. 6 pick in the June 26 draft, left Indiana after one season in which he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

While acknowledging that there might be some level of pressure, Vonleh said he sees it as, "a great opportunity, being able to stay in Boston, play in front of family and friends."

Like most young basketball players in New England, Vonleh grew up watching the Celtics. And while he knows the Celtics have plenty of quality options to turn to with the No. 6 pick, he's already allowed himself to give some thought as to how things would be if he were able to play for his hometown team.

"I was just talking to Walter (McCarty, current Celtics assistant and former Celtic player), we were talking about where I would be living if I were to get drafted by the Celtics. I think it would be a great opportunity."

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been involved with the workout process. And like most who have seen Vonleh play, he too came away impressed with the 6-foot-10 forward.

"Noah's got a great frame as you can see," Stevens said. "He's strong, he's long. He's got really strong legs. He's a physical guy. He's probably even more physical than I thought, when I saw him in person. He's obviously a really good player, and his reputation speaks for itself."

Austin Ainge, Boston's director of player personnel, echoed similar sentiments about Vonleh who has been on the radar of NBA teams dating back to his time at New Hampton (N.H.) Prep school when he emerged as one of the nation's top high school prospects.

"We've seen him quite a bit," said Ainge who added that Vonleh played in the same conference as his younger brother Crew Ainge. "Obviously being local, we've heard about him for quite a long time."

Ainge added, "He's a very intriguing player. A lot of physical tools, but very young."

Vonleh, who won't be 19 years old until August, is among the youngest players in this year's draft.

"There are some young guys in the draft, like me, Aaron Gordon, Tyler Ennis," Vonleh said. "But it's a great opportunity we're able to come and make our dreams come true at such a young age."