Thon Maker is starting to live up to the hype, and that is frightening.
As coaches salivated over his potential this week at the Under Armour All-American Camp in Charlotte, scouts could not stop raving about the 5-star prospect in the Class of 2016. Here's a sampling.
Watched Thon Maker dominate tonight @UnderArmour All American Camp. I've never NOT seen him play hard. Easily a high lottery pick in 2016!— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) July 9, 2015
Thon Maker was 191 pounds last June at NBPA Camp -- up to 218 now. Much more active and aggressive in the post past few weeks. #UAALLAMERICA— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 9, 2015
Scary observation: Thon Maker is getting better. Got a lot stronger, more confident since last summer.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) July 9, 2015
You get the point.
The biggest knock on Maker had been that he was always too skinny for his size, and while his potential was tantalizing, he was still a project. Not anymore, as his hard work and added muscle have started to show its value.
When it came time to actually play, he put on a show vs. DeAndre Ayton, the #1 overall prospect in 2017. Maker finished with 23 points and 17 rebounds, while Ayton only managed 7 and 6. He doubled down on his performance in his second game, putting up 16 points and 21 rebounds.
With Maker though, it isn't even the numbers that stand out. As much as we've harped on it time and time again, it's simply hard to imagine a 7'0" player being able to have the guard-like skills and agility that he possesses. Take a look at this play, for example. Maker goes up and grabs a 50/50 ball among multiple big men, starts a fast break on his own, and dishes off to a teammate for an easy bucket.
Of course, every coach in the country recognizes the rarity of a prospect that resembles a cross between Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant, and getting a commitment from Maker for the 2016-17 season will be extremely hard in what has already been a bizarre recruitment to this point.
Indiana and Arizona State have put in a ton of time with him, but big names loom. Teams like Kentucky have stayed involved throughout his recruitment, and a laundry list of other programs are waiting for their chance to get in on what is becoming a larger-than-life prospect.