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Saturday / February 24.
  • Thon Maker on Brink of Reclassifying, Would Impact 2016 NBA Draft

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    Thon MakerBy CHIP MILLER

    BENTON, Ky. — Fresh off back-to-back visits to Kentucky and Louisville, Thon Maker appears to be on the brink of reclassifying to the Class of 2015, which could have a profound impact on the 2016 NBA Draft.

    “I’ll know that by the end of this semester,” the 7-foot center from Ontario’s Orangeville Prep said at the Marshall County Hoop Fest. “It should be around there, so I’ll know where I stand in terms of academics.”

    Asked if reclassification is what he wants to do, Maker said,  “That’s what I’m trying to look into.”

    If he ends up reclassing in January, Maker could be on a college campus next fall, and then could end up being one of the top NBA picks in 2016.

    Maker put up a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 66-48 loss to Sunrise Christian (KS) in front of Kentucky assistants Kenny Payne and Barry ‘Slice’ Rohrssen and Oregon head coach Dana Altman and assistant Mike Mennenga.

    Asked if the Ducks had made any contact with him, Maker said, “Not with me personally, maybe with my guardian, but not with me personally.”

    Thon and younger brother Matur, a 6-10 2017 forward, spent the last week in Kentucky, playing with their team Thanksgiving Day weekend in a tournament in Lexington. Thon then took a couple of unofficials, first to Kentucky and then to in-state rival Louisville.

    “[Kentucky head coach John] Calipari asked if I wanted him to recruit me,” Thon said. “I definitely want him to recruit me, so I said, ‘Yes!’ He’s on his work and I’m on my work to getting better.”

    Asked his impressions of the new platoon system at Kentucky, Maker said: “It was new for [Calipari] to bring that in but I guess he was kind of forced to because of the amount of good players he had come back. Nobody expected that to happen, but it’s interesting cause he was able to switch it up and yet they’re still winning.”

    Thon and his brother then spent Tuesday at Louisville for their win over Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

    “Coach [Rick] Pitino loves basketball,” Maker said. “He didn’t sit down much from the first point that we got into their practices. Three straight individuals, bigs first, then wings, then guards. We talked basketball a little bit more. Then I got my shots up and we got to see the arena and the team practice also. So, it’s a lot of basketball over there. You can definitely get better also.”

    Duke, Indiana, Stanford and Kansas are among the other schools involved for Maker.

    For now, recruiting has been enjoyable for the a prospect whom ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla has compared to both Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant.

    “It’s enjoyable because I get to see it live, everything,” Thon stated. “You see the fan base that you will be playing in front of from both stadiums, their arenas. So, it’s been really good.”

    Photo: Courtside Films

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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.

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