Indiana Hoosiers Basketball: Noah Vonleh's Versatility Is Nightmare for Defenses

Mike MoraitisAnalyst INovember 21, 2013

Nov 15, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Noah Vonleh (1) warms up before the game against the Samford Bulldogs at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first four games of the season, Noah Vonleh is already proving to be a top-notch player and a nightmare for opposing defenses to plan for.

The freshman forward has shown some versatility thus far, averaging 14.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Granted, it has been against some lackluster squads, but Vonleh's early success is a great sign nonetheless.

With four double-double performances to start his collegiate career, Vonleh has accomplished what other bigs before him such as Cody Zeller, D.J. White and Kent Benson never did, per Rick Bozich of

Vonleh has been a beast in the post on both sides of the floor as a solid interior defender, rebounder and low-post scorer.

Not only does he have the ability to dominate on the boards and deter more athletic scorers from driving into the paint with his ability to block and change shots, Vonleh also has the athleticism to get out on the perimeter and guard smaller players despite a 6'10", 240-pound frame.

Vonleh has also proven he can put the ball on the floor on the offensive end.

Vonleh's ability to penetrate forces opposing defenses to bring extra help just to stop him on the drive, which can open up the perimeter for the team's better shooters as the freshman big man dishes it out.

Nov 15, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Noah Vonleh (1) drives to the basket with Samford Bulldogs forward Tim Williams (32) defending during the first half at Assembly Hall. Indiana won 105-59. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Furthermore, Vonleh's post-up skills will instantly command double teams, thus giving the Hoosiers another way to find space for their top perimeter players. Even if he draws contact and gets to the line, Vonleh's 63.9 percent free-throw mark means he isn't a liability at the charity stripe.

All that's left is for Vonleh to develop a consistent mid-range game, and if he can do that, he will be one of the most complete players in the college game. Without it, he's still a force to be reckoned with and can still make a serious impact.

There has been a ton of focus on other top freshmen like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon, but Vonleh deserves much of the same respect because of all the ways he can affect a game night in and night out.

If he keeps playing at this pace, Vonleh will continue to turn plenty of heads and will be a top player in the country in no time—if he isn't getting that kind of respect already. Also, going through a tough Big Ten schedule will go a long way in accomplishing that.