Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Louisville Among Those Pursuing Thon Maker (UPDATED)
Thon Maker, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2016, is being pursued by a Who’s Who of elite college basketball programs, including Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Louisville.
All of those schools, as well as Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, watched the 7-foot Maker this past weekend at the Adidas stop in Duncanville, Texas, his guardian, Ed Smith, told SNY.tv Wednesday.
Smith said Kentucky coach John Calipari watched Maker over the weekend and Smith then spoke with assistant Kenny Payne on Tuesday.
“They said that they thought he had a chance to be really good and really special,” Smith said. “They love what they saw, they love his versatility, but they said the one thing they love is that he plays both ends of the floor. He played very hard, besides his skill, which is different. They love the fact that he played very, very hard while being as skilled as he is.’
Smith said Duke and Kansas have both offered Maker.
Mike Krzyzewski watched Maker this past weekend.
“Coach K spoke about Thon being tough, more of a [Kevin] Garnett than a [Kevin] Durant,” Smith said. “He felt he could use him in many different scenarios offensively and defensively. He said they are looking for high-character individuals who enjoy being around each other and play together.’
As for Kansas, “[Bill Self and Kurtis Townsend] spoke to me about the success they had with [Joel] Embiid. They feel that Thon has a different skillset where he is a live threat from the free throw line in their high-low action. They also feel that in a two-man game, they can roll or pop him. Like Embiid, he’s only been playing for four years to his best basketball is ahead of him.”
In addition, Smith is due to speak with Louisville coach Rick Pitino today (Wednesday).
“I’m supposed to speak to Coach Pitino today,” Smith said.
Smith said they will try to visit several ACC schools since they are at the Carlisle School (Va.).
“While we’re in the area, we’ll try to visit as many schools that are close to us,” Smith said. “The AAU thing is so hectic that you don’t even have a chance to take a break. We’ll probably visit our local schools, Virginia, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest. Coach Danny Manning called. Those are the local area schools that we’ll visit.”
Photo: Toronto Sun
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.