The Charlotte Hornets tonight selected forward Noah Vonleh with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft. The team also acquired the rights to guards P.J. Hairston (26th overall pick) and Semaj Christon (55th overall pick), along a 2019 second-round draft pick and with cash considerations, from the Miami Heat in exchange for the rights to guard Shabazz Napier (24th overall pick). The Hornets then traded the rights to Christon to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for cash considerations.
An early entry candidate, the 6-10 Vonleh was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-Big Ten in 2013-14 at Indiana University after averaging 11.3 points, a Big Ten-high 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game. The team’s leader in rebounding and blocks, Vonleh shot .523 from the field (113-216), .485 from beyond the three-point line (16-33) and .716 from the free-throw line (96-134). In 30 games played, he scored in double figures 19 times and grabbed double-figure rebounds on 13 occasions, tallying 10 double-doubles. In addition to leading the conference in rebounding, he ranked third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage and eighth in blocks.
Vonleh, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week seven times during the season, participated in the McDonald’s All-America game, the Jordan Brand Classic and for the U.S. team at the Nike Hoop Summit as a high school senior in 2012-13.
The 6-6 Hairston becomes the first NBA D-League player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. He was named to the D-League All-Rookie Second Team in 2013-14 as a member of the Texas Legends. Hairston averaged 21.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 32.3 minutes, while shooting .453 from the field (183-404), .358 from beyond the three-point line (73-204) and .870 from the free-throw line (127-146). A participant in the 2014 Boost Mobile NBA D-League Three-Point Contest during NBA All-Star Weekend, Hairston posted eight games of 29 points or more, including a pair of 40-point outings.
Hairston played two seasons at the University of North Carolina, averaging 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 71 career games from 2011-13. As a sophomore in 2012-13, he led the Tar Heels in scoring, averaging 14.6 points, and posted the second-best single-season three-point field goal total in school history (89). Hairston was also selected First Team All-ACC Tournament as a sophomore.
In addition, the Hornets selected Dwight Powell with the 45th overall pick. The Hornets are currently in discussions to trade the rights to that pick and will not be able to consummate any potential trade until after the moratorium period ends July 10. Therefore the team will have no comment on this pick until finishing those trade discussions.