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.
Makur Maker, who played at HBCU Howard, will remain in NBA Draft
By ADAM ZAGORIA & ZACH SMARTMakur Maker will remain in the NBA Draft, his mentor Ed Smith told ZAGSBLOG.
“Makur is only 20 years old,” Smith said. “He’s young and extremely talented. At 6-foot-11 and 235 pounds with a 7-2 wingspan and a 9-4 standing reach, you won’t find many guys worldwide with his versatility, shooting touch, and athletic potential.
“He’s a guy in 3-4 years who’s playing at 250-255 pounds with the same mobility and skill set. He’s eager to get going and playing with NBA pace and spacing. Covid hid his talent and potential with the cancellation of the season at Howard. Nothing is assured in this Covid environment even with vaccinations. One thing that we’ve watched is the NBA and other Pro Leagues get through this pandemic with minimal downtime.”
Maker became the first ever five-star prospect to commit to an HBCU program when he made a verbal pledge to Howard and head coach Kenny Blakeney in 2020.
Maker made a statement with the commitment, choosing the Bison over a number of high major programs, a list which included UCLA and Kentucky.
And while Maker’s decision brought national visibility to Howard, his success at the program was short lived.
Playing despite an injury, Maker logged just 48 minutes in two games, posting averages of 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds. Howard ended up cancelling the season due to COVID after just five total games, as the heavy anticipation of what could be suddenly fizzled.
The NBA Combine became the perfect proving ground for Maker.
Maker turned in an eye opening performance, earning plaudits from ESPN’s Jay Bilas and LaPhonso Ellis for his timely passing and footwork.
Helping to accelerate Maker’s league readiness and pre-Draft production rate has been former NBA player Darren Collison, who played in the league for 10 seasons.
Maker trained with Collison during the spring, grinding on a schedule complete with workouts, film sessions and conditioning.
“It was unique experience because throughout his NBA career,” Smith said. “Darren played with a lot of guys who are similar to Makur.”
The NBA concepts ingrained in Makur translated to the Combine. Makur made some heads up plays and displayed a feathery touch with efficiency at the free throw line as well.
The Combine was a significant stage for Makur, who is ready to prove himself after just a small, corona-truncated sample size at Howard.
“I know that I’m good,” Makur said in an interview with Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post. “I know if we close the gym, I know that I’m going to compete, and I’m going to be the best player walking out. People don’t really look at it like that.
“So if you look at it and say that I played two games and I didn’t bring what I wanted to bring to Howard, that’s that. I can’t change your mind, but you have to come see me in person. You’ve got to see me play, and that’s definitely going to happen. And I’ll be ready to show you who I am.”
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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.