LAS VEGAS –
A quiet, humble kid, Noah Vonleh
gives all the credit for his emergence as an elite prospect in the Class of 2014 to club coach Vincent Pastore of Mass Rivals.
But Pastore isn't accepting much of the praise for the development of the 6-foot-8 forward, who will be a no-brainer top five pick when MaxPreps releases its updated Class of 2014 rankings next month.
"I've had Noah since he was 12 years old," Pastore said. "Obviously, he has characteristics that are God-given that have nothing to do with me or anybody else that made him special. Since then he has just been a gym rat. He loves to be in the gym. I've just been fortunate to get to be in the gym working with him."
In a Saturday round of 16 game at the adidas Super 64, Clutch Players Silver had no answer for Vonleh. The Oregon-based squad certainly isn't alone when it comes to slowing down the Haverhill, Mass., native.
"He has a 7-foot-4 wingspan, hands like a catcher's mitt, he's athletic and he's a hard worker," Pastore said. "You know when you saw him at a young age he had a chance to be something special.
"He has that great quality that not too many people have. He can turn it on and be mean on the basketball court but he's a gentleman as soon as he steps off the court. He's a superstar kids want to play with."
According to Vonleh, Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville and Providence are among the schools at the top of his list. The roll call of national powers is no surprise given his play and the projection Pastore made – albeit reluctantly at the prodding of this writer – about his future.
"I think he is going to play the game a lot like a LeBron James," Pastore said. "He's 225 (pounds) right now and he's 16 years old. He's probably going to end up playing the game at over 250 pounds, strong, powerful with the ability to handle the ball."
Vonleh and Mass Rivals take on the Atlanta Celtics in a quarterfinal game Sunday morning at 9:20 a.m. PT. The championship game of the adidas Super 64 will be televised by the CBS Sports Network at 3 p.m. PT.
More Saturday standouts
* Jalen Adams, Mass Rivals: A promising point guard who is reclassifying from the 2014 to 2015 class and heading to Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Wilbraham, Mass.), Adams was a key playmaker in the Rivals' win over Clutch Players Silver. Early interest from Massachusetts.
* Calvin Hermanson, Clutch Players Silver: This is twice we've been compelled to drop Hermanson's name this week. The 6-6 wing out of Lake Oswego (Ore.) has been that good. Hermanson helped an undersized Clutch Players squad reach the round of 16 of the adidas Super 64 and went out with another big scoring performance in a loss to the Eric Gordon All-Stars on Saturday. Oregon's reigning 6A player of the year should have plenty of new fans after his showing in Vegas.
* Zak Irvin, Eric Gordon All-Stars:
Emerging as a potential MVP candidate at the Super 64, Irvin is unstoppable going to rim and an incredibly graceful athlete. A number of Michigan commitments are turning in solid performances in the event and Irvin heads the list.
* Monte Morris and Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan Mustangs: The Mustangs' two-headed point guard tandem sparked a stunning 34-point victory (91-57) over Super 64 favorites Florida Elite, a squad headlined by five-star prospects Kasey Hill and Chris Walker. The final tally could have been even more lopsided as the final eight minutes were played at a merciful pace. Morris is headed to Iowa State while Walton is committed to Michigan. Undersized bulldog forward Lemond Edmonds of Eastern (Lansing, Mich.) was also a major contributor for the Mustangs.
* Riley Norris, Southeast Elite: Anthony Grant of Alabama was posted up in the corner of Bishop Gorman's auxiliary gym to check in on the 6-7 Class of 2014 wing-forward. Norris sports offers from Alabama-Birmingham, Arkansas, Auburn, Mercer, Mississippi and Stanford. Grant and Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia are also making a push.
* Brandon Parrish, Urban DFW: Parrish helped turn a close game with the Compton Magic into a comfortable win by catching fire in the second half and raining in jumpers from all over the floor. The 6-4 shooting guard has several high-major offers already. Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas State, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Rice, Vanderbilt are making the biggest push.
* Ahmaad Rorie and Tre'shaun Lexing, Team Bradley Northwest Panthers: Rorie and Lexing will be teammates next season at Lincoln (Tacoma, Wash.) and helped the Avery Bradley-sponsored Panthers make a nice run in the Super 64. Rorie, a 6-0 2014 scoring point guard, is already committed to California. Lexing, a 6-6 wing, is hearing from most of the Pac-12 but is wide open at this point.
* Matt Thomas, Wisconsin Playmakers: Committed to Iowa State (Fred Hoiberg was on hand to see his final club circuit game), giving Thomas any daylight is a huge mistake. He's a near-automatic shooter who can handle the ball a bit and has the build and athleticism to make an early impact in Ames.
* Rashad Vaughn, Net Gain: The Robbinsdale Cooper (New Hope, Minn.) wing is a big-time scorer and a five-star candidate in the Class of 2014. Baylor, Colorado, Georgetown, Kansas, Iowa State, Maryland, Minnesota, Syracuse, Tennessee are among the schools he mentioned as players in his recruitment.