Advertisement

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thon Maker on the market now

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

Advertisement

The No. 1 player in the basketball recruiting Class of 2016 now is Rivals.com’s No. 5-rated player in the current Class of 2015.

Thon Maker, a 7-footer from Orangeville Prep in Mono, Ontario, will reclassify and after one year of college will be eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft, several recruiting sites reported Wednesday.

“I’m on track to graduate this year but a lot of hard work ahead this summer! No shortcuts on this road to success. #built4this,” Maker wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Maker’s guardian, Ed Smith, has told Zagsblog.com Maker would visit Kansas University and Kentucky if he decided to reclassify. Indiana, Missouri and UCLA have also been mentioned as possibilities.

It has been speculated that Maker will have trouble qualifying for a scholarship and thus could play overseas a year in preparation for the NBA Draft.

Comments

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

I'd honestly rather see him play overseas and avoid any potential headaches with the ncaa. Last thing a loaded KU team needs next year is a guy missing practices or games due to a drug out ncaa investigation or a suspension a la Josh Selby. Ku is going to be fantastic next year, why risk it when we are in on plenty of great players that aren't potential land mines?

Trent Rose 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree with "avoiding any potential headaches." But if KU misses out on Zimmerman or Diallo, and Maker is available, it's worth it. He looks very skilled and could make a Joel Embiid type impact.

Joe Ross 6 years, 9 months ago

I mean to be VERY respectful, but Thon Maker is far more advanced than Embiid was and may be already at the level Joel was at when he left Kansas. Those thinking this is hyperbole are simply uninformed. This kid is set to have a Kevin Durant-like impact only in the paint area.

Tom Jones 6 years, 9 months ago

I respect your opinion, too, Joe, but Thon would not be the most dominant player in college basketball if he were playing college basketball right now, and that's what Joel was before he got hurt.

And that's actually not an "uninformed opinion". ;)

Joe Ross 6 years, 9 months ago

Already..."...he's Kevin Durant on offense and Kevin Garnett on defense." This, in a game where we was playing the likes of Malik Newman, Steven Zimmerman, and Jaylen Brown. http://zagsblog.com/articles/elite-24-notebook-day-2-thon-maker-draws-durant-garnett-comparisons-duke-kentucky-kansas-indiana-working-hardest/

Joel never drew those comparisons, even at the end of his career in Kansas. And it's not just Fran Fraschilla saying it.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

You nailed it Joe! Embiid was nowhere near as prepared when he arrived. Credit good coaching and a hard work ethic to up his game so much in a single season.

Ron Sterling 6 years, 9 months ago

Just out of curiosity, why are you so sure this guy is a walking violations problem? We had Selden and Wiggins reclassify and come in without issue, so it can't be just that, can it?

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 9 months ago

I think that Maker has attended three High Schools in three years. I believe that Benz is referring to the drawn out NCAA Clearinghouse issues that have plagued KU with several players who were not allowed to start school until mid September because they hadn't been cleared, or who were later deemed as Partial Academic Qualifiers such as McLemore, Traylor, and Braeden Anderson and were forced to sit out of all team activity for a semester and were only allowed to practice and not play in games during their second semester.

I'm trying to remember how many other players were held up by the NCAA clearinghouse. It seems like maybe the Morris twins were held up, and also maybe Brandon Rush

Ron Sterling 6 years, 9 months ago

From what I recall, Selby served a suspension for taking money/benefits, not anything related to his academics, and Benz mentioned drugs. Neither of these things have been specifically connected to Maker, at least that I've seen, so that's why the concern seems so curious to me.

As for the changing schools, McLemore and Traylor both had that problem, but in their cases it was because they had attended public schools that lost accreditation and closed. I don't remember why Braeden Anderson was only partially qualified, but Rush attended 3 schools and wasn't a Clearinghouse problem. He was planning on going pro out of high school, but the player's union voted in the OAD rule that year, which sent him to Kansas at the last minute. He was still there long before the season began. I don't remember the Twins being held up at all. They had committed to Memphis, but when Calipari left, they chose KU late in the season. They played in each of KU's 35 games that year, though.

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

"and Benz mentioned drugs."

Eh, what? I mentioned "due to a drug out ncaa investigation or a suspension a la Josh Selby". As in unnecessarily slow, prolonged investigation that spills over into the season. Not an investigation into drugs.

Ron Sterling 6 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, I misread. Thought you were referencing Syracuse's thing.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 9 months ago

2005 was the last draft that HS kids were eligible for so that isn't why Brandon Rush withdrew. He withdrew because he didn't like his draft status. Andrew Bynum and Martell Webster were both top 10 picks and both right out of HS that year.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 9 months ago

Ron, Twins couldn't participate till Sept. 4. the third week of school.

Rush wanted to wait to announce a school until after he'd been cleared by NCAA. He withdrew drom the draft in June, and wasn't cleared by NCAA until Sept 2.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 9 months ago

Selby was not cleared academically until late October and not ruled eligible until late November (but required to sit until mid Dec.)

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

I am not sure at all but there are enough red flags (three high schools in three years in two countries plus a "mentor" who has been handling anything to do with him) that it seems to be a higher risk of probability than the other bigs we are in on.

If Zimmerman or Diallo were available I'd rather see us get one of them. Maybe I have simply seen enough of these questionable things not go KU's way (Braeden Anderson, Ben McLemore, Jamari Traylor, Josh Selby) that I'd rather not mess with it and have it potentially screw up what looks to be a potentially fantastic year next year.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

Worst case scenario is he sits a year like Ben McLemore.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 9 months ago

and leaves for the NBA before ever playing for KU like Enes Kanter at UK.

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

....while taking up a scholarship that could have gone to a person who would actually play. KU looks like an excellent team next year but I'd rather all their scholarship players be eligible to contribute. Everyone knows that Maker isn't going to be around after one year.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

Man...that would be something. Talk about getting cyber bullied.

Mike Crosbie 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree! We have the whole team coming back next year...will have more experience and maturity, which will be nice for a change...especially having a senior day! Let the one n done go to Kentucky. The whole one n done concept began with big players who couldn't qualify for college...we don't need another...it hurts the college and NBA game, which is why the NBA is talking about raising their minimum age.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. You don't tell Thon Maker "no" if Thon Maker wants to play for you. Even if there are concerns with grades, etc.

Glen Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

Even if telling him yes leads to him never seeing the floor or waiting half a season to find out if he is eligible?? No thank you.... I understand the talent and the flashy/glitzy feeling you get thinking about him on the team, but if he sucks up a schollie and never plays when we only have a few to give. The risk to add someone that would only be here a year and would miss out on the USA team experience (he'll be taking classes in the summer to graduate) is just too much to not be sure if he will be eligible or not. That's just my opinion though and I'm sure Coach Self will do what he thinks is best.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 9 months ago

I would want assurances that he will be eligible as soon as the season begins at least. Otherwise, Steve Zimmerman, welcome to Lawrence!

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

My thoughts exactly depending on who returns. If only KO heads off to the NBA then I think we have a really good shot. If we lose both KO and Alexander then I'm not nearly as confident.

Getting Carlton Bragg was a big get. If we can land a true center, our prospects definitely go up. I think Zimmerman would be the best fit though I think he is going elsewhere.

Robert Brock 6 years, 9 months ago

KU would be a lot better off with Cheick Diallo. Diallo is a terrific defender and shot-blocker; Maker falls short in those categories. There is way too much hype surrounding Maker.

Russ McCaig 6 years, 9 months ago

why do we need ANOTHER 6'9" guy (Diallo)?....Cliff struggles at 6'8.5" to be our rim protector/post presence...remember, they are currently blocking shots of HIGH SCHOOLERS....we need a 'Footer'...Maker or Zimmerman....get one...

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

I like Diallo but I don't see what he brings that Alexander doesn't. Zimmerman would be our best get.

Scott Quiring 6 years, 9 months ago

I hope this kid gets cleared! If he does, I'd love to see him in a Kansas uniform next year - with the team that we have coming back (hopefully Oubre, Seldon, Alexander all stay), Self's system would be really good for this kid. But does anybody else think that we need a better Bigs coach?

Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

Oubre's not staying. Alexander's return is more likely, but still doubtful. $$$$$$$$$$$

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

At this point it's only $$$ and if he keeps playing this bad it will only be $.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

If $ = millions over the course of 2-3 years...... That's still a lot of $. Cuz that's what he'll be getting paid if he's drafted anywhere in the first round.

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

He could raise his salary 50% over those three years by moving up from #20 to #10 in the draft.

Scott Quiring 6 years, 9 months ago

Oubre should stay. He's good, don't get me wrong there, but I think another year of maturity and really refining his game would make him a lottery pick for sure!

Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

It's not about what's good for the player, or what will best improve your game. Fans need to understand this. It's about money. Oubre will be a lottery pick after this year. Why stay?

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 9 months ago

Say it aint so Joe! I have already counted KO as being gone because his game is improving and he can make solid money as a lottery pick this year. Say it aint so.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

If Alexander stays another year then he will move up to a lottery pick so there is a financial reason to stay plus I think it's obvious that he needs at least one more year of development.

If he did leave, he would still probably be a first rounder. Guess we won't find out till the season ends.

Michael Bennett 6 years, 9 months ago

I think losing Manning has limited the development of Ellis, Traylor, and now Cliff.

Glen Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

Been saying that since he left. Our bigs just don't develop like they used to when he was here. I think losing him is the single, biggest reason our high low game has suffered so much the last few years on the offensive end and our defense has regressed on the defensive end. Coach Self is an excellent coach, but he can't see things from a big mans perspective like Danny could.

Trent Rose 6 years, 9 months ago

Our bigs are undersized. Ellis, Traylor and Alexander are 6'8". Look how much a difference Landon Lucas at 6'10" had guarding Rico Gathers from Baylor. Lucas' defense and rebounding was a major factor in that game. Think back to Perry Ellis' freshman season - and all of a sudden had a major impact in the Big 12 tournament. Alexander can do the same thing. Much like Ellis, or the Morris twins, or Jeff WIthey, it takes time to develop for some freshman. I think you are being to hard on our bigs and our coaching staff.

Glen Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

There wasn't this kind of struggle when he was here. I'm not knocking our staff or players..... but you can't take someone with the experience and know how of Danny Manning out of the equation and just expect things to remain the same. The Morris Twins, Robinson, Simien, and Arthur all were the same size as our players now as far as height goes and they were much more developed early in their careers than our bigs are now. Part of it is also the summer leagues. These kids come in here with little to no practice time and development time. It's all games all the time.

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

There weren't this short of players when he was here, either. All our bigs were 6'10" or bigger in Aldrich, Withey, T-Rob and Markieff. If Cliff was 6'10 we wouldn't be having 90% of these conversations.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

Manning's only been gone for 2+ seasons now. The sample size is not large enough to objectively state that the high-low game as suffered due to Manning's departure.

Here are the facts:

The following Kansas bigs were never coached by Danny Manning: Joel Embiid, Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor (at least not while he was eligible), Landon Lucas, Cliff Alexander.

Embiid developed quite well over the course of the season. He became dominant. Who knows what would have happened had he never been injured.

Perry Ellis is a very good college basketball player. He's not the athlete that some of his predecessors were. Nor does he have the length of some of his predecessors. He's also the leading scorer on the team.

Lucas and Traylor were not highly-touted recruits. Traylor has only been playing ball since his junior(?) year in high school. He's a contributor on the best team in the big xii and a top-10 team in the nation. I feel like he's made pretty good progress. Lucas is in a similar boat. Neither of those guys were ever expected to develop into NBA players.

The jury is still out on Alexander. While some may be disappointed with his progress as a freshmen, you've gotta consider the fact that several of KU's illustrious big-men of the Manning era were not major contributors as freshmen. Markieff Morris, Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey, Cole Aldrich were all role players and were not major contributors during their first years of eligibility.

Manning deserves some credit for the development of some of the past KU bigs, but you're fooling yourself if you think he deserves any more credit than Bill Self.

Tom Jones 6 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, Joe. The sample size is too small, and Embiid obviously kinda destroys the myth that no one's developed since Danny left.

Joe Ross 6 years, 9 months ago

Michael, you are definitely right about that! No question that the development of our bigs is not what is was when Manning was here.

Scott Quiring 6 years, 9 months ago

I would agree 100% Michael. As soon as Danny left I thought "aw crap our bigs are going to hurt because of this" and sure enough we're seeing it. Now in Perry's defense - he's not a true big, he's more of a hybrid or 4 so I'm not knocking him for not being able to bang down low with some of these guys.

We really don't have a true big man this year. Last year it was clear that JoJo was our 5 but we just don't have the size that we need. Lucas, Cliff, Hunter just don't have the power that we need down there yet which is why I think they all need to stay.

Craig Koehn 6 years, 9 months ago

Manning was a good coach & recruiter for our program but I don't think he would made Ellis or Traylor great post players. Ellis is not really a Power Forward but has been forced to play the post due to no other player being better in that position. He is basically a Small Forward with post skills. I love the fact that Self allows him to shoot anywhere on the court he feels comfortable. Traylor is basically the same type of player as Ellis but doesn't have the offensive shooting skills. I think Alexander can be a good post player but needs a little time to development & hopefully stays in college 2 or 3 years to do it. It would be nice to get back to a system that we don't need to rely on freshman as the key players as much. Selden is good example, he is finally looking like a great player but needed time to develop. How about Embid? He seem to really improve from the start of the season to end of the year without having Manning around to teach him. Bill Self is a great coach for all positions. I think we have been a little unlucky with our recruits that they weren't great post players to begin with.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

But what about Embiid? I know the popular answer was that he was drafted on potential but compare how he started the season to where he ended it.

Joel made major progress in his one season at KU.

But on the other side, I also agree that losing Manning has hurt the development of our bigs. I am reluctant to include Perry Ellis into this group as he is a tweener. I think finding success in the NBA will be difficult for Ellis but there is plenty of money to be made in Europe. Ask Keith Langford.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 9 months ago

dude was a freak. a statistical outlier. However, I'm with Joe. Need more data. I think that Norm is a great skills coach. And I think that our current crop of bigs are not comparable to the 5 or 6 years worth of bigs that Manning coached at KU. If Alexander stays at KU next year then we can compare him to Aldrich, Kieff, TRob, Withey, et al.

Michael Bennett 6 years, 9 months ago

Embiid was a prodigy, it's really that simple. Prodigies are going to improve rapidly and shine no matter what environment they're put in. I'm not saying the coaches and training staff didn't help guide him along, just that he's not a good indicator of whether or not the big man coaching has declined since Manning left.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

Okay, then look at Lucas. Who predicted that he would have upped his game so much from last year?

In truth I agree with you guys but a lot is on the players work ethic and other factors but yeah, losing Manning has hurt.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 9 months ago

Good points everyone. Hopefully, we can get a rim protector who will be a positive force as a teammate. Not that Wiggins and Embiid weren't good teammates, because they clearly were. However, all of the talk about "one and done" for them was a distraction last year.

In Wiggins' case, we knew that it was one and done before he ever stepped foot on the court. It came later for Embiid, but overall, I wonder how those issues played into KU's performance on the court.

My gut tells me that KU won't lose any players this year. Obviously, I may be blowing smoke, but either way, KU basketball will be just fine.

Glen Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

Oubre is pretty much gone. Listen to some of his interviews and watch the body language. He's getting better and better and is a projected lottery pick. Unless the wheels fall off, he won't be back.

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

Last year's team had issues because they were all young except for Tharpe, who was designated as the Team Leader despite being an idiot. Having an idiot driving your bus almost always ends up in a horrible crash.

Joe Ross 6 years, 9 months ago

People should not underestimate the impact of this kid. He's a dynamo that is head and shoulders above Zimmerman, Diallo, and whoever else you might wish to compare him against. If any team has solid role players at key positions as Kansas will have next year, they become favorites for a National Championship if they get this kid. He's special, ladies and gentlemen. The kind of special we haven't seen in a long time.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 9 months ago

I will take any player over 6'10, anyone. Bueller, anyone, yes anyone.

Hyperbole aside, " an extremely skilled front court player who is still fairly raw when it comes to his back-to-the-basket game", Jeff Borzella ESPN, it is his guardian Ed Smith who has me concerned. He does not feel right. Add to that needing to get by the clearing house its not going to be a clear path to playing in college. Still would love to have him.

The belief is that their best option is to reclassify stay at the prep school, so he can continue to develop against inferior competition and then declare for the draft. Or possibly play overseas one year and declare.

The less than 50/50 option, to a unnamed college coach who is recruiting him, would be to play college ball. Their concern, and rightly so is that he plays for a top team, struggles with some aspect of development or the college game and his draft status could drop. Keep in mind that at a recent basketball event in New England where he played at, not a single college coach from any team showed up to watch him play. Not one. Had nothing to do with the snow...

Personally I would love to have him. He would be our featured player next year, we will have solid players at the wing and PG, and we would be a favorite to National Champs all year long.

Joe Ross 6 years, 9 months ago

One of the weaknesses that our big men have experienced this year is the lack of a big personality. Thon Maker does not lack for confidence. Yes, Thon could polish some skills, but there is one comparison with Joel Embiid that is very similar: Maker would make huge strides every single week and it would not be long at all before he made the adjustment to the college game. More than his skill set, the biggest concern may be his weight (Maker can shoot it from outside, he has great footwork in the post, he's got a good handle on the ball and he is a rim protector). Hudy would have to add some bulk to the frame, but once that happened he would be unstoppable. http://www.nbadraft.net/players/thon-maker

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

I saw Alexander in one of the many summer All-Star games at the Nets new stadium in Brooklyn where he won the MVP for his team and completely outplayed Myles Turner when they were matched up. I don't know why he lacks confidence as when he puts in the effort he usually gets the results.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 9 months ago

I expected Cliff to have some conditioning issues after he had committed. The kid's got good measurables, and his strength is excellent, but he's no freak athlete for having a 7-3 (or whatever wingspan) even in the HS dunkoffs never seemed to get much above the rim and his conditioning still needs work. An extra offseason with Hudy and he could be a rare specimen with strength, length, and athleticism. He needs to tone up. Just imagine Alexander coming back with the athleticism and agility and energy of Jamari Traylor. Big 12 foes should be very afraid if Cliff comes back.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, his effort seems to be the issue because often times he looks like he is going through the motions. Many draft experts still have him as a first rounder, but if it were me I would not draft him because he seems to lack a motor. Another year in college could change that however.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 9 months ago

Great points Joe.

I think college is optiion C, it has less risk for him finacially. But it would be something to have him at KU.

Tom Jones 6 years, 9 months ago

"I will take any player over 6'10, anyone. Bueller, anyone, yes anyone."

You may want to avoid recruiting discussions entirely, RC. ;)

But I agree, Joe, he's a difference Maker, and the staff is well aware.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 9 months ago

I have very little faith Maker will be deemed eligible. I'd recruit him, but I wouldn't count on him being ever stepping foot on a college campus. If Self wants to leave an extra schollie for Maker, fine, but have a back up plan because I just don't see him getting cleared.

Ryan Michael 6 years, 9 months ago

I think the NCAA wants him to play because he's going to be the Wiggins of this class.. He'll draw in tons of money, therefore the NCAA will probably clear him.

Benz Junque 6 years, 9 months ago

Wiggins didn't draw in extra money for the NCAA, let alone tons of it.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 9 months ago

If that was the case, they would've found a way to get Emanuel Mudiay eligible this year. They don't care if a kid is eligible or not.

Freedman Moor 6 years, 9 months ago

If you have ever played an NBA video game that allows you to create your own player and you've made that guy that is 7-feet with all of the stats turned up, you've been playing with Thon Maker.

Trace Stark 6 years, 9 months ago

Sorry Jayhawk fans, Maker is mizzou bound.

Just joking!!!! (obviously)

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

If he was, I would be worried about his mental acuity...

Ethan Berger 6 years, 9 months ago

Thon isn't going to be a post player, he will go to the school that best offers him to play at the three. He's as thick as my thumb, not a big guy. His skills are very impressive. Guess it really depends on what Oubre does. If he leaves, our chances of landing Thon go up. I would love to happen but he seems bred for UK basketball.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

A 7 footer playing the three? That would be something to see.

Ethan Berger 6 years, 9 months ago

That's why there is so much hype around him. From what I've seen and heard, his post game isn't talked about. It's his ball skills that is making people freak out.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

I've been monitoring most of the mock draft boards and surprisingly, there are only two Kentucky players projected as lottery picks and a third player in the first round. They are losing three seniors but they are all walk ons.

As of now, they already have three recruits and it's possible that they're just might be no more room. I suppose Calipari could always let someone know that they might find more success elsewhere but if Kentucky is out of the picture and Arizona already has five players in its recruiting class, we should/could end up with a couple more quality recruits.

http://www.nbadraft.net/2015mock_draft

http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-mock-draft/2015/

http://upsidemotor.com/2015/02/18/nba-mock-draft-2015-okafor-towns-russell-mudiay/

Dillon Davis 6 years, 9 months ago

It seems like every year we question whether or not Kentucky will have room and it never ends up being an issue. They get the guys they want more often than not. They either push some out the door, encourage transfers, have players go pro, or whatever. They always have room.

Shannon Gustafson 6 years, 9 months ago

Kansas does this as well. For instance, I'd suspect if we got Malik Newman, we'd redshirt Graham and give him the reigns for 2 years (after Mason graduates) rather him only being a year behind Mason. I can't really see any other redshirt scenarios on this team since our last two bigs off the bench already have redshirted and our last guard off the bench is Svi and he's not expected to be around too long so reshirting would just shorten his amount of time we'd get him on the floor before he's gone.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.