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Monday, December 7, 2015

After Harvard win, Self hits recruiting trail

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

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Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self went recruiting Saturday night after the Harvard game.

He headed to Kentucky to watch both Josh Jackson (6-7 senior guard, Prolific Prep, Napa, California) and Thon Maker (7-foot senior, Orangeville Prep, Mono, Ontario) compete in the Marshall County Hoopfest. Maker had 18 points and 17 rebounds Saturday in a loss to Oak Hill Academy.

Jackson — he had 34 points and 19 rebounds with eight assists Friday night — had 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists with Self on hand in a win over Dallas Advanced Prep. Jackson told Rivals.com he will attend the KU-Texas game on Jan. 23 and visit Arizona on Dec. 19. Michigan State, UNLV and UCLA are involved.

Maker, who was born in Sudan, grew up in Australia and has attended high school in both the U.S. and Canada may face potential academic eligibility issues.

“There is never going to be a ‘Free Thon Maker’ sign,” Maker’s guardian, Ed Smith, told Zagsblog.com, noting Maker may not commit to a school until August and only if he’s declared eligible. “I felt it wasn’t the greatest of situations of what happened with Cheick (Diallo) or what happened with Skal (Labissiere) or what happened with Tacko (Fall, players whose eligibility was in question late). If I see Thon sitting there stressed, going through that level of stress, I always keep his mind open to options of what he can do (perhaps play pro ball in Europe leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft).

“Our thing is this, we are going to give the NCAA a 100 percent opportunity,” Smith added to Zagsblog. “By mid-January, they are going to have everything they need. So we are going to give the NCAA an opportunity to get ahead of this.”

Smith said Maker is considering KU, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Indiana and St. John’s.

“When they (NCAA) come back and say yes or no, then we will sign,” Smith told snytv.com. “We have all the way up until August. We would have options ready by then. We are not going to go until fall. We will look at what’s best for him. We are going to say, ‘Here you go, NCAA. Tell us if we fit within your criteria or if we don’t,’ and then we have to make a decision.”

Comments

Suzi Marshall 2 years ago

The role Smith plays is the most concerning thing about Maker. If he were a blood parent, he'd be one of those over bearing helicopter caterers. Smith sounds to much like an agent, which is the thing the NCAA is most concerned about. I suspect the NCAA will want to take an even closer look at the Maker-Smith relationship than they did with Diallo.

What would be the Vegas line with Maker ever playing college ball? 3-1?

Robert Brock 2 years ago

The problems with Maker are Bobby Hurley's (Arizona State) problems.

Joe Ross 2 years ago

Suzi. One can tell that you're very intelligent by how you talk, but your dogmatism sometimes clouds your thought. You're giving in to the ad hominem fallacy in a way. There is nothing so far to suggest that there will be problems with Maker. And if he chooses Kansas, the last thing the NCAA wants is there to be an investigation necessitated.

Aaron Paisley 2 years ago

Wow Joe, there are no red flags woth Thon Maker. Maker had to go back to HS this year because of his academic issues. Ed Smith is right there with Skal's handler with shadiness. Maker is also not interested in being a low post player, he wants to play on the perimeter despite his size. He does not fit Bill Self's offense and after all the crap frim last year with Maker, he is not worth the headaches and baggage that come with him.

Joe Ross 2 years ago

Maker went back to high school because when he reclassified it left him in a position where he could potentially be short of coursework. It looked like it was going to take him until December this year to get the work in to make his reclassification successful. Because of that, schools weren't willing to reserve a schollie for a 1/2-year player. He's will have had another semester more of classes plus summer school to add to his body of coursework, and so the issue of his academics is not what it was at this time last year when reclassifying was being considered. Just not the same at ALL.

You say he does not fit Bill Self's offense. Funny thing though. Self is still recruiting him.

The truth is that I dont know what Self's plans regarding Maker would be if he came to Kansas. But you dont know that either. What we DO know is that Maker has a decent outside game for a big guy with lots of upside potential (Durant-Lite...perhaps VERY LITE, but you get the point). In the NBA, small forwards usually range from 6' 6" to 6' 11" or taller. The typical placement for a small forward would be between the key and three-point line. Small forwards are primarily responsible for scoring points, defending and also often as secondary or tertiary rebounders behind the power forward and center. Maker is raw, but he fits the profile of a player that can mature in this capacity, including his good handle and ability to move in the open court. This guy would be a match-up nightmare at the college level, and therefore his size is a strength. Most big guys are slow. Maker is not.

The fact is that his frame is so small that he could not battle in the post as he is. If Hudy has the time to work with him she could put some pounds on his frame and then he'd be able to play the post. Currently he is not as well suited to play in the paint area in college as he was in high school by virtue of his size, and I think his frame has something to do with his inclination toward a certain position. But Hudy's time with Maker would presumably be limited because he is a projected OAD (think back to Hudy's transformation of Withey, which took two years to add the size she wanted. Fortunately he had to sit a year and added pounds during his ineligibility period).

As far as his being worth the headache, I gotta leave that decision to Coach and his assistants who are continuing to recruit him. The sure sign that he would not be worth their efforts would be their abandoning his recruitment. That hasn't happened.

Not yet.

Joe Ross 2 years ago

And then there's this:

“There is never going to be a ‘Free Thon Maker’ sign,” Maker’s guardian, Ed Smith, told Zagsblog.com, noting Maker may not commit to a school until August and only if he’s declared eligible. “I felt it wasn’t the greatest of situations of what happened with Cheick (Diallo) or what happened with Skal (Labissiere) or what happened with Tacko (Fall, players whose eligibility was in question late). If I see Thon sitting there stressed, going through that level of stress, I always keep his mind open to options of what he can do (perhaps play pro ball in Europe leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft).

“Our thing is this, we are going to give the NCAA a 100 percent opportunity,” Smith added to Zagsblog. “By mid-January, they are going to have everything they need. So we are going to give the NCAA an opportunity to get ahead of this.”

Smith said Maker is considering KU, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Indiana and St. John’s.

“When they (NCAA) come back and say yes or no, then we will sign,” Smith told snytv.com. “We have all the way up until August. We would have options ready by then. We are not going to go until fall. We will look at what’s best for him. We are going to say, ‘Here you go, NCAA. Tell us if we fit within your criteria or if we don’t,’ and then we have to make a decision.”

Considering how it was revealed that Kansas did it's due diligence in investigating Diallo's eligibility during his recruitment, considering that they will certainly do the same with Maker, and considering that Maker and his "mentor" (call him whatever you will) have had the opportunity to look at recent situations of eligibility and learn from them, and considering they will be submitting their coursework for consideration WAYYY early, there is absolutely NO CONCERN of another Diallo-type situation repeating itself with Maker.

Joe Ross 2 years ago

There is no "wow" here. Maker went back to high school because when he reclassified it left him in a position where he could potentially be short of coursework. It looked like it was going to take him until December this year to get the work in to make his reclassification successful. Because of that, schools weren't willing to reserve a schollie for a 1/2-year player. He's will have had another semester more of classes plus summer school to add to his body of coursework, and so the issue of his academics is not what it was at this time last year when reclassifying was being considered. Just not the same at ALL.

You say he does not fit Bill Self's offense. Funny thing though. Self is still recruiting him.

The truth is that I dont know what Self's plans regarding Maker would be if he came to Kansas. But you dont know that either. What we DO know is that Maker has a decent outside game for a big guy with lots of upside potential (Durant-Lite...perhaps VERY LITE, but you get the point). In the NBA, small forwards usually range from 6' 6" to 6' 11" or taller. The typical placement for a small forward would be between the key and three-point line. Small forwards are primarily responsible for scoring points, defending and also often as secondary or tertiary rebounders behind the power forward and center. Maker is raw, but he fits the profile of a player that can mature in this capacity, including his good handle and ability to move in the open court. This guy would be a match-up nightmare at the college level, and therefore his size is a strength. Most big guys are slow. Maker is not.

The fact is that his frame is so small that he could not battle in the post as he is. If Hudy has the time to work with him she could put some pounds on his frame and then he'd be able to play the post. Currently he is not as well suited to play in the paint area in college as he was in high school by virtue of his size, and I think his frame has something to do with his inclination toward a certain position. But Hudy's time with Maker would presumably be limited because he is a projected OAD (think back to Hudy's transformation of Withey, which took two years to add the size she wanted. Fortunately he had to sit a year and added pounds during his ineligibility period).

As far as his being worth the headache, I gotta leave that decision to Coach and his assistants who are continuing to recruit him. The sure sign that he would not be worth their efforts would be their abandoning his recruitment.

That hasn't happened.

Not yet.

Joe Ross 2 years ago

Finally, there's this:

Bill Self: NCAA 'working on' Cheick Diallo eligibility case

"The NCAA has been "working" on Diallo's case since this summer. Unless someone from KU is actaully [sic] in Indy looking over a compliance official's shoulder, I don't believe anything is getting done at this point."

--Aaron Paisley, November 24, 2015 at 12:37 a.m.

The headline the very NEXT DAY?

"Freed: Cheick Diallo finally cleared by NCAA"

--November 25, 2015 at 3:10 p.m.

Point of this being that just because some of your concerns are justified doesn't mean all of them are.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 11 months ago

Joe, You have him choosing Kansas before the NCAA investigation. It seems to me the article is making the exact opposite point. Then will be cleared by the NCAA to compete next year before he commits.

That being said, I'm not sure that's how the NCAA operates regardless of whether Thon & Co want it to be, unless of course he was accepted to enroll with at least one of the schools, which he could do as a regular student regardless athletics.

He also could decide to attend w/o signing a LOI. Wasn't it Rush that signed a grant in aid package instead of an LOI? It is interesting that more athletes, especially elite athletes aren't taking this approach. I've read that you don't lose transferability with a GIA, though Baker may have other thoughts along those lines.

Gerry Butler 2 years ago

Don't really think we want to go through another Cheick scenario again, only worse. I believe that the Thon Maker situation is a plague looking for a place to happen, just not worth the risk, good player, nothing against him personally, but with the NCAA and the way it seems they have this thing about KU ummmm maybe not, seems like a sure fire academic issue

Joe Ross 2 years ago

The Diallo situation will not likely replay itself at Kansas. The NCAA is going to be wary of it. If there are eligibility issues you can be sure they will get resolved early because they now know Kansas will fight back. Having another situation play out at Kansas would invoke the Diallo situation where they were made to look horribly and go a long way in making them look inept. The NCAA wont risk that.

To that end, that would give Kansas plenty of time to address eligibility issues with Maker if there are any.

Joe Joseph 2 years ago

If Self still has a scholarship to give late in the summer, and Maker decides he wants to play for KU, you learn to deal with the potential of NCAA headache.

Everyone who is saying Self should steer clear of Maker are aware of KU's severe lack of talented big men next season, right? Bragg is it. With Lucas and Coleby. If Bragg plays 30 mpg, that means Lucas and Coleby are splitting 50.

Rodney Crain 2 years ago

We should not be in this position in the first place. We are wayyyyy too late to the recruiting party again and now our options are limited. We only have offers to 5 ranked players out right now. These are post players but we might get only one.

I am afraid you might be right Joe, we might not have any choice but to take Maker. That would not be a win for us.

Jay Scott 2 years ago

Were you sitting in section H on Saturday Rod? We had these two complete loudmouth idiots behind us. They hated everything Self does and were sure that Kansas would never win a game again. I thought, could this be Rodney?

Dirk Medema 1 year, 11 months ago

Nobody at KU is late. The recruiting class is just light.

Coach Self and Co. have been working this class just as long as every other coach in America, we just have fewer commitments. It doesn't mean that they haven't been working.

Diallo's not gone yet either. Lots more to happen before next year. Goodness, we haven't even started conference play this year. Coach is bound to pull a rabbit or 2 out of his hat.

Jay Scott 2 years ago

Kansas is the front runner for Bolden, Allen and Azubuike. The odds of getting at least one look solid. Mitch Lightfoot will be showing up too....

Jay Scott 2 years ago

I like Smith's approach. Get the NCAA to decide early enough to bring Europe into play.

Europe will become a bigger option for more of these kids soon. I see one of the pro leagues aggressively pursuing a strategy of signing kids who have played AAU ball in the US but fear NCAA harassment. That league would quickly get US TV coverage and keep the deals like Wiggins got from adidas in play for the players. The NCAA isn't the monopoly it thinks it is.

Humpy Helsel 2 years ago

Maybe this is our niche. Calipari gets the best of the OAD's. We get the best of the marginally eligible. We run freedom campaigns, get Bilas and Vitale on board, hire lawyers and get people "out of NCAA jail" to much national attention. Our mantra is "it's not about the us, it's about the kid." Everyone needs a specialty niche. Heck, these are some of the very best players out there. Eligibility issues? Check out Kansas.

Steve Zimmerman 2 years ago

I'd say getting either of them would be a gem. Sadly, if HCBS sticks with his play style, this kid will not be productive at KU. The world of basketball has changed. Teams that do hi-low alone, go with post/bigs don't win the championship anymore. These recruits will be forced to do stagnant big positions that we are familiar with, instead of developing them as long athletic shooting guards or small forwards (which can do post moves, with great footwork). Believe it or not, pick and pop, drive and dish, fast tempo, is still more effective than hi-low these days. Recruiting big bodies like Landen, Hunter, Bolden would be a disaster; they are not athletic enough. Sure D-wise, team looks great, but if they can't score, what good would that be? Unfortunately, a chance getting a guy like Wiggins is slim, until HCBS proves he has changed offensive philosophy.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 11 months ago

Coach Self has done this a bit with Perry - giving him the ball at the top of the key in the weave, having him shoot 3, and just telling him to be more aggressive.

Perry did great at eventually learning to play D1 ball (90% of a season), and it's just taking a bit longer for him to learn to stretch his game that much more. Perry always has learned, and I see him becoming a better version of Niang by the end of the year.

There will then be even more reason to come to KU. Coach Self has been opening up the hi-lo for over a year now.

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