Noah Vonleh Headlines Seven Big Men At Celtics’ Pre-NBA Draft Workout


Jun 11, 2014

noah.vonlehWALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics brought in the bigs for Day 4 of their pre-draft workouts.

Take a minute to get acquainted with the seven players who were in town Wednesday.

Isaiah Austin, Baylor (F/C, 7-foot-1, 225 pounds) — The 20-year-old was one of the nation’s top shot blockers last season despite playing with a significant physical impairment: He’s blind in his right eye, the result of being struck by a baseball as a child. Austin was a projected lottery pick in 2013 but chose to return to Baylor for his sophomore season. Though his blocks average improved (to 3.1 per game, sixth-best in the nation), his scoring and rebounding numbers slipped during his second year with the Bears. Scouts now project him as a second-rounder or undrafted free agent.

Sam Dower, Gonzaga (C, 6-foot-9, 243 pounds) — A former backup to Celtics center Kelly Olynyk in Spokane, Dower led the Bulldogs in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounding (7.2) as a senior last season, his first as a starter. He’s also known as an effective free-throw shooter, shooting 82.5 percent from the line in 2013-14.

Artem Klimenko, Russia (C, 7-foot, 242 pounds) — Klimenko played last season for Avtodor in Russia’s second division, where he showed impressive mobility and shooting touch for a player his size. The biggest knock on him seems to be his lack of muscle and basketball IQ, along with the fact that he hasn’t really faced any legitimate competition playing in his native country. Klimenko is still young (20), though, and scouts seem to believe he has the frame to bulk up to 260 pounds with proper conditioning.

Javon McCrea, Buffalo (F, 6-foot-7, 250 pounds) — The MAC Player of the Year as a senior and Buffalo’s all-time leading scorer, McCrea averaged nearly a double-double in 29 games for the Bulls (18.5 points, 9.9 rebounds). He’s small for his position, though, and scouts point to his lack of lateral quickness and skills on the perimeter as factors that might prevent him from contributing at the NBA level.

Daniel Miller, Georgia Tech (C, 6-foot-11, 275 pounds) — Miller was a shot-blocking machine at Georgia Tech, ranking fourth in school history with 286 career blocks and second in the ACC as a senior with 2.86 per game. He certainly has the size to compete at the next level — he’s the heaviest of Wednesday’s invitees — and he improved his offensive game during his final year with the Yellow Jackets (career-high 10.9 points per game).

Devin Oliver, Dayton (F, 6-foot-7, 225 pounds) — Oliver was a key contributor for an underdog Dayton squad that made a surprise run to the Elite Eight last season, scoring in double digits in three of the Flyers’ four tournament games. The senior led the team in assists (2.3) and rebounds (7.4) per game while ranking second in points (11.9). He has not drawn much interest in the pre-draft process and is likely to go undrafted.

Noah Vonleh, Indiana (F/C, 6-foot-10, 240 pounds) — Vonleh is by far the most highly touted of the seven prospects at Wednesday’s workout, with scouts almost unanimously predicting he will be picked in top 10. The Big Ten’s leading rebounder last season (9.0 per game), the Haverhill, Mass., native would be a very attractive selection for the Celtics at No. 6 overall, though the Utah Jazz, who pick fifth, also have expressed interest.

Photo via Twitter/@CelticsTalk

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