Mass. draft prospect Vonleh gets advice from Hall of Famer

Mass. draft prospect Vonleh gets advice from Hall of Famer
May 16, 2014, 9:15 pm
Share This Post

CHICAGO — Noah Vonleh wasn't even 30 seconds into explaining his familiarity with the inner workings of the NBA pre-draft combine when he found himself unexpectedly at a loss for words.

Former Celtic and Basketball Hall of Famer Wayne Embry had made his way over to where Vonleh was sitting and did what Embry had done so many times in his Hall of Fame career.

He took over.

"Son, before you were born I played for the Boston Celtics," Embry told Vonleh who like so many of us witnessing this, had no idea where Embry was taking this conversation. "So you're a Celtic fan?" Embry asked.

Vonleh, who played at Indiana and is from Haverhill, Mass. and attended New Hampton (N.H.) Prep School, said, "yeah, a little bit."

Embry had taken this opportunity to speak with Vonleh to see if the rumors he had heard about Vonleh were true: that he had some of the biggest hands anyone has seen.

And Embry, who won a title with the Celtics in 1968, is known for having larger-than-life mitts of his own so a compare and contrast was definitely in order.

"I'm curious because there's been Dr. J [Julius Erving], there's been Connie Hawkins, hands that were bigger than mine," Embry told Vonleh.

"Let's see," said Embry, grabbing hold of Vonleh's hand to compare it to his own.

So the Hall of Famer took his hand and pressed it up against the hand of the 18-year-old Vonleh who like the rest of us watching, seemed to struggle processing exactly what was happening.

After making sure their wrists were aligned and the fingers fully extended, it was clear who had the bigger hand.

"I got 'em," Vonleh said smiling. "I got 'em."

Yes, he did.

Vonleh's hand width measured out at 11.75 inches, tops among all players at the pre-draft combine and second all-time to Greg Smith whose hand width measured 12 inches in 2011.

Embry had no problem conceding to Vonleh's massive mitts.

But before he left, Embry offered the future pro a bit of advice.

"Dr. J and Connie, they used them well," Embry said. "So you use it well son, OK? Thank you."