CHICAGO -- Noah Vonleh, one of the draft's top-rated big men, had just sat down for his media obligations on Friday at the NBA draft combine when Wayne Embry, a former member of the Boston Celtics, came over to introduce himself.
"Son, before you were born, I played for the Boston Celtics,” explained Embry, showing off a championship ring he won with the team in 1968. Embry, a former NBA general manager for teams including the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Toronto Raptors, explained that only a few players were known to have bigger hands than him and -- having heard news about Vonleh's impressive paw measurements -- wanted to size them up in person.
The two each put up a hand to compare and Vonleh smiled while declaring, "I got him, I got him." Embry implored the 18-year-old to spread his fingers wider apart, but could only marvel, "Oh my gosh, they're bigger."
Vonleh, a native of Haverhill, Mass., met with the Celtics this week and admitted he was a fan of the team growing up in the region.
"I’ve been watching Boston growing up," said Vonleh. "I’ve lived in Boston my whole life. It would be great to play back at home in a great organization. They’re not a championship team right now, but they’ve had a lot of championships raised over the years."
Vonleh played one season at Indiana University, but was familiar with Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
"He’s a great coach," said Vonleh. "I watched him when he was at Butler. Now he’s at the Celtics. I think I would fit pretty well into his system."