Thon Maker Meets With Australian National Team Coach; Kansas, Duke, Virginia, Louisville, Washington Involved
Thon Maker, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2016, met with Australian National Team coach Andrej Lemanis last week about a potential future role with the team.
The meeting took place March 9-11 in Virginia, where the 7-foot, 208-pound Maker attends the Carlisle (Va.) School.
“We had a good meeting with Andrej Lemanis,” Ed Smith, Maker’s legal guardian, told SNY.tv.
“He worked Thon and [his brother] Matur out. He told me he was impressed with Thon’s skill level and wanted to get him into the National program as soon as possible. He felt that Thon could be a contributor in 2016 and an exciting part of the team at both of the forward spots in the future.”
It’s possible Maker — an Australian citizen born in South Sudan in 1997 — could be in the mix for the Boomers in the 2016 Rio or 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Playing for a country is a serious commitment,” Smith said. “With our high school and AAU schedule it is hard to make a commitment. We will keep building our relationship in order to figure out if it’s a ‘win-win’ for Australia and Thon.
“We are with Adidas this summer and with the Adidas Nations, camps and AAU it is hard to find travel time to go to Australia and train with the National program. If we commit we would like to do it the right way.”
Australia has participated in the most Olympic men’s basketball tournaments (13) without winning a medal, but there is hope for the future.
Just as Canada has a slew of talented youth led by NBA players Andrew Nicholson, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett and future draft picks Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis, Nik Stauskas and Melvin Ejim, Australia also has a bright future.
There are currently four Australians in the NBA — former No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova.
Moreover, Australian point guard Dante Exum is projected as a top-5 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and 2015 LSU commit Ben Simmons of Montverde (FL) Academy is considered a future pro, too.
On the recruiting front, Maker continues to be recruited at the highest levels.
“I had a good talk with Coach [Bill] Self at Kansas,” Smith said. “Coach [Jeff] Capel at Duke is trying to set up a time for us to sit down with Coach K. Jason Williford and UVA are recruiting him hard. Louisville sent Kevin Keatts. Coach [Raphael] Chillious and Lorenzo Romar have offered from UW.”
Photo: Toronto Sun
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.