The West Africa state of Liberia continues to make headway with its nationals around the globe showing their professional talents by putting their motherland on the map of the world, be it politics, health or sports.
Its current president, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made history when she was elected in 2006 as the first female president of Africa, prior to that its football legend now politician, George Manneh Weah was named African, European and World Player of the Year in 1995.
Now another young Liberian has placed this Country on the map of the world through his professional expertise as a professional basketball player; Noah Vonleh born on August 24, 1995, is making history as a professional American professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Noah, six feet ten inches tall who hailed from Nimba County, Liberia is the son of Samuel Vonleh and Renell Kumeh. This young Liberian has placed Liberia on the map of international basketball; four years ago he signed a letter of intent to play for Indiana University, turning down offers from Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and Ohio State, among others.
Vonleh attended Haverhill High School in Haverhill, Massachusetts, before transferring to New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire, in 2011. As a junior in 2011–12, he averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game. As a senior in 2012–13, he averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and four assists per game, going on to earn McDonald’s All-American honors.
In his freshman season at Indiana, Vonleh was named to the 2014 All-Big Ten third team and All-Freshman team, as well as being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. In 30 games (29 starts), he averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game.
On June 24, 2015, Vonleh was traded, along with Gerald Henderson, to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Nicolas Batum. On September 30, the Trail Blazers exercised their third-year team option on Vonleh’s rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2016–17 seasons.
On November 15, 2015, he registered his first career start in a game against his former team, the Charlotte Hornets. In just under 24 minutes of action, he recorded 9 points and 6 rebounds. On January 24, 2016, Vonleh recorded a season high 11 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. In late March, Vonleh was replaced in the starting lineup by Maurice Harkless, however Vonleh continues to improve in both skill and confidence.
On June 26, 2014, Vonleh was selected with the 9th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets. On July 25, 2014, he signed with the Hornets. On September 2, 2014, he underwent successful surgery to repair a sports hernia and was ruled out for six to eight weeks.
After making just four appearances for the Hornets to start the 2014–15 seasons, he was assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League on December 28, 2014. Vonleh only saw two games in the D-League before being recalled by the Hornets on December 31 after averaging 7.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 block per game. His paternal grandfather, Chief Blahsue Vonleh, was Paramount Chief of the Doe Clan, Nimba County, Liberia from 1920 until his death in 1947.
Credit: Wikipedia and Gabriel M. Vonleh