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.
Thon Maker, a 7-footer ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2016, will transfer to Orangeville Prep in Ontario and suit up for Athlete Institute. His younger brother, 6-10 2017 small forward Matur Maker, will also make the change.
“We are excited to welcome Thon and Matur to Orangeville Prep and Athlete Institute,” head coach Larry Blunt told SNY.tv. “What’s exciting is that they excel equally both on and off the court. They are great ambassadors for our program, and we look forward to having an opportunity to work with them as they continue to develop.”
As part of the move, Ed Smith, the boys’ guardian, will join head coach the staff at Athlete Institute, Smith told SNY.tv by phone.
“Coach Blunt brought me on his staff, I’m very excited,” Smith said.
The Makers will join a team loaded with young talent, including Canadian stars Jamal Murray, Jalen Poyser and Kyle Alexander, that should compete with the top American prep programs.
After leaving the Carlisle (VA) School, the Makers also considered Hopewell (N.C.) Academy, where Smith said he could have been the head coach.
But he consulted with Thon, who had fond memories of playing in Canada and wanted to play at Athlete Institute.
“I asked Thon to be honest with me,” Smith said. “He said, ‘One of the best times I had was when I went to Toronto last summer.’ He said he liked the style of play more, it’s more of a FIBA-type international style of play. He would love to get back there if we could make it happen.”
Smith said they are putting together a schedule and that, “Everybody’s calling.”
Maker has drawn comparisons to Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant and impressed at the Elite 24 last month, as we wrote here.
Smith told SNY.tv last month at the Elite 24 game that Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Indiana were working hardest for Thon Maker, who was still evaluating whether or not to reclass to 2015.
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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.