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.
Indiana, Arizona State Talk Most With Thon Maker’s Guardian
Then Maker is looking at entering college in December (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
ARDSLEY, N.Y. — Indiana and Arizona State talk the most with Thon Maker’s guardian and say they have a one-and-a-half-year plan for the 7-footer if he were to arrive on campus in December.
Kentucky is also in touch with Ed Smith, who said he hasn’t heard from Kansas “for a while.”
As of now, the plan is for Maker to complete his schoolwork in the fall and then head to college at the semester break between the 2015-16 season. He is currently projected as the No. 28 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com, but Smith said Maker could possibly wait until 2017 for the NBA.
“I don’t want to put a one-and-done on it. You finish high school, step one,” Smith said. “When you’re ready and your body is ready for the pro game, step two.”
He added: “There is no one-and-a-half year plan in place. It is when he is ready. If it takes 3 1/2 years then so be it. The feel is that if he went mid-year he would be more effective in Year 2 because he would have had the summer and the fall to get better.”
Indiana hosted Maker and Thomas Bryant for a game this season, and has already landed Bryant for next season.
“I deal mostly with [assistant coach] Chuck [Martin of Indiana] and Chuck says mid-year or next year [fall 2016] is all good and they have a plan in place for for [Maker],” Smith told SNY.tv at the Under Armour stop here. “So that’s his basic plan with that. If he came in mid-year, they would ease him into it, knowing that he has a year-and-a-half plan.
“We all know basketball. It’s hard to come in and miss the summer, miss the fall and come in mid-year. That’s ridiculous to try to come in and make a jump like that. If we go full year [beginning 2016-17], then he’s there for the whole year. There’s not a time clock on when he goes [to college] or when he doesn’t.”
As for Arizona State, they are now in the mix for Maker since Bobby Hurley took the head coaching job and hired Brian Merritt as an assistant.
“Coach Hurley feels that [Maker] can be a program-changer, he’ll be their signature kid,” Smith said. “He can come in and really have a chance to learn. Same thing with the mid-year and having a plan in terms of that. HE feels that people will see that type of commitment and that will really put them on the map in terms of where they’re going.”
As for Kentucky, which just hosted Maker’s Orangeville Prep teammate Jamal Murray, they remain in the mix for Maker.
“Like Cal said, when you’re ready to be recruited, call me,” Smith said of Kentucky coach John Calipari.
“Anybody would take him [at the semester break] knowing what the plan is.”
Asked if there is a disadvantage in entering school in December, Smith admitted there could be.
“It depends on the coach and how the coach does it,” he said. “You gotta be eased in because you’re coming in and it’s not like you’re going to come in and play heavy, heavy, heavy minutes off the jump. You gotta ease a kid into that situation and it’s a progression.
“He can’t come in there thinking he’s the savior of the program. A year and a half later, now you’re ready. The disadvantage is how desperate the coach is at that time….You gotta bring a guy in slowly.”
There is no chance Maker will arrive at a school in the fall, Smith said, because he is still finishing up schoolwork and trying to do it all by the fall would be too hard.
“No, that’s too hard to do,” Smith said.
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.