Noah Vonleh could be down to as few as seven games remaining in his college basketball career.
Indiana has six regular season games remaining on the Big Ten schedule and at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis in the Big Ten schedule which begins March 13.
If IU had a quick one-and-done in the conference tournament and didn't qualify for postseason play, Vonleh could have as little as three weeks remaining playing in an Indiana uniform.
That's certainly what all the NBA Mock Draft experts believe. Most have him as a top 10 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft Express has him slated in the No. 7 pick in the Draft. They note that he's the top rebounder among the top 100 prospects in the draft, averaging 15 rebounds per 40 minutes of play.
The same service had some interesting comments about him in a recent spotlight they did on him.
"Considering that he's one of the youngest players in this freshman class, and the fact that his Indiana team is struggling … in the Big Ten and could be on the outside looking in on Selection Sunday, it wouldn't be a surprise to see his coaching staff make a major push to try and keep him to stay in school for another season,'' the story reported in NBA Draft Express."Nevertheless, Vonleh's size, length and rebounding prowess, combined with the fact that he won't turn 19 until late August will almost certainly mean that teams drafting in the lottery will be happy to pick him and wait to see how he develops in an NBA uniform.
And there you have it, the dreaded ‘P' word for Indiana fans. In this case the ‘P' doesn't stand for Purdue but rather for ‘Potential.' And that potential could be what takes Vonleh to the next level following his freshman year.
Other services have similar rankings. Chad Ford at ESPN.com has Vonleh picked No. 8 in upcoming draft though he does show Vonleh's stock as on the downward trend. NBADraftRoom.com is the highest I've seen at No. 5. MyNBADraft.com has Vonleh ranked No. 8 as well. The two prognosticators at CBSSports.com rank Vonleh No. 13 and No. 12 on their mock drafts.
So the consensus among the NBA Mock Draft experts is consistent. They think he's gone for sure.
But there's always the surprise factor, too. And there's always that outside chance that Vonleh will opt to improve his game one more season in college and return to the Hoosiers next year for his sophomore season.
It's far from unprecedented. It was just two years ago that Cody Zeller told the NBA to wait for one more year and came back for his sophomore campaign with the Hoosiers.
What will Vonleh do? It's hard to say. No one around the program will even address the situation until the season is over and right now the only thing Vonleh is talking about is trying to finish strong in his freshman season.
I can't help but remember a conversation I had with him in the spring of 2013. At that time, in May of '13, NBADraft.net already had him projected as the No. 11 pick in the 2014 Draft before he had even stepped on the IU campus.
I asked him about it and his answer surprised me a little bit. He sounded genuine and sincere about it, too. He said he was looking forward to the college experience and wasn't in a big hurry to play professionally.
"I want to be at Indiana three or four years, at least that's how I'm looking at it going in," Vonleh said in a phone interview in May of 2013 from his residence at New Hampton (N.H.) Prep. "Things could always change, but I'm expecting to be a four-year college player."
I asked him, 'What about when the NBA comes calling and waving a multimillion dollar contract? Did he think he could stay in school?
"I'm just not worried about that," Vonleh said."The NBA is always going to be there. I just want to go to college, have a great time, play basketball and get a degree."
Now was that a high school kid saying what he thought people wanted to hear or were those his genuine feelings at that time? Knowing Vonleh, I'm guessing it was the latter.
Fast forward to where we are today, 25 games into his college career, though, and he could be thinking completely differently.
He is 18 years old after all.
One thing that would be interesting to know is whether Vonleh has already made up his mind or if there's something that could happen over the next three of four weeks that could influence his decision.
Myself, I don't think it's nearly the slam dunk that all of the mock draft experts believe in terms of Vonleh being one-and-done.