Another premiere high school talent is moving up a class to enter college a year ahead of schedule.
Noah Vonleh, long considered the top junior power forward in high school, is reclassifying to the 2013 class, as per ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep. Vonleh is entering his fourth year of high school at New Hampton School in Haverhill (MA) and would just need to switch an English class to be on pace to graduate next June.
A rangy 6-foot-9 forward with a well-rounded game, Vonleh is following a recent trend of high-profile recruits—specifically big men who have repeated a year of school—reclassifying into their original class. Vonleh is the second prominent player out of New England to forgo a fifth year of prep school and jump up to the 2013 class, joining Tilton (NH) forward Wayne Selden.
Last season, prized Connecticut pledge Andre Drummond moved up from the 2012 class to the 2011 class. The gifted but enigmatic center left college after one year and became a top-ten draft pick in June’s NBA draft. The top high school center in this year’s incoming class, Nerlens Noel, was initially tabbed as a 2013 prospect. But Noel, like Drummond and now Vonleh, skipped a year of prep school and reclassified to accelerate his path to the NBA.
Vonleh’s reclassification opens up the top power forward spot in the class of 2014 for Trey Lyles, the former Indiana pledge who recently rescinded his commitment to the school. His addition to the 2013 class, meanwhile, brings a much needed chip to a class that lacks the frontcourt depth of the two classes that sandwich it.
With his length, athleticism and ability to score inside and out, the versatile Vonleh should be able to play the 3 or 4 in college. But given his rebounding prowess and power forward size, the same projection for the Massachusetts product is settling in at the 4. Busting Brackets ranks Vonleh as the third best power forward in the class of 2013 behind only Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.
Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio State, according to Telep, have pursued Vonleh the hardest. But all three schools have recruited the coveted forward under the assumption that he’s still two years away from college. In light of the reclassification, certain schools who have budgeted a 2014 roster spot, but not a 2013 roster spot for Vonleh, may have to revise their plans.
Kansas (via Danny Manning, who has since accepted the head coaching position at Tulsa), Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville, Providence and a host of other high-major schools are also actively courting Vonleh. Whether these schools continue recruiting Vonleh at the same level following his decision to switch classes remains to be seen.
Vonleh’s reclassification may not affect how prospective schools pursue him—Vonleh, after all, is the type of recruit schools reserve a scholarship for no matter what—but it could have a ripple effect on how these programs attack the rest of the 2013 class.
Andrew Wiggins, high school basketball’s top junior, is also considering switching into the 2013 class.