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, Michigan, Michigan State, Kansas Among Those Flocking to Athlete Institute
You can expect to see more and more high-major American college basketball coaches flocking North of the Border to Orangeville, Ontario in the coming weeks and months.
When one high school roster includes Thon and Matur Maker, Jamal Murray, Jalen Poyser, Kyle Alexander and more, coaches have no choice but to get out to see them.
That’s exactly what’s going on at Athlete Institute, which was already growing into a must-see program before the 7-foot Maker committed there on Friday.
On Tuesday, the first day college coaches were allowed to be out watching high school prospects, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oregon, Washington State, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Old Dominion were all at the school.
“When the coaches get here, all of them have been blow away at our facilities and our resources,” head coach Larry Blunt told SNY.tv. “I think they understand why someone like Thon Maker and his family and Jamal Murray and those kind of guys would come and stay, because this is a state-of-the-art, first-class facility with great people running it.”
Here are some more notes:
**As first reported by SNY.tv, Kentucky’s Barry “Slice” Rohrssen was in Tuesday to check out Maker and the 6-5 Murray, both currently in the Class of 2016, as well as 2017 small forward Matur Maker. “They just were coming to watch the guys,” Blunt said. “Check out Jamal and check out Thon as well. Matur is really good. I think they’re just trying to see what they could see.”
Kansas coach Bill Self may also turn up on Friday and Indiana and Stanford have also called about visiting, Blunt said.
Ed Smith, the Makers’ guardian, told SNY.tv last month at the Under Armour Elite 24 Game that Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana and Duke were recruiting Thon the hardest.
**Michigan State assistant Dane Fife was on hand Tuesday as well and Michigan head coach John Beilein is expected Wednesday. Both schools have been involved for Murray. “All these coaches are interested in coming to look at the team, but Jamal for sure,” Blunt said.
**The 6-5 Poyser has upcoming officials scheduled to Rhode Island and Oklahoma, so Rhode Island made the visit the first day of workouts to see him.
**Jahvon Blair, a 6-3 2017 guard, and Keshaun Saunders, a 6-5 2018 wing, have also raised some eyebrows. “A lot of people were asking about those two young kids,” Blunt said. “They’re intrigued by those guys.
“Jahvon was the MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic [International Game] the year after Jamal. He’s a point guard who’s incredibly gifted at facilitating but can really score. A lot of people are comparing him to Jamal at this stage of the game.
“Keshaun is a 6-5 combo guard, wingish. Really, really special. Really defend, even against Jamal and Thon and Kyle and those guys. He’s going to be really special when it’s all said and done, especially at this age to be doing what he’s doing against these guys.”
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.