It started with a mixtape. At 16 years old, an unknown kid haling from Australia was immediately dubbed as the next Kevin Durant, and over a million hits on YouTube later, Thon Maker was being touted as a future #1 overall NBA draft pick. While Maker's path has had a few bumps in the road, and has definitely taken a few twists and turns along the way, he is still very much the elite prospect that he was made out to be in 2014. Yet, with so much speculation as to the intent of his guardian and inner circle in addition to where his future basketball interests truly lie, you can't really blame fans of the college programs he is still considering for not getting their hopes up.
Regardless of all the hoopla surrounding him off the court, Maker's future potential - and current talent - is undeniable. A 7'1" freak athlete, with the size of a legit NBA center and the skillset of guards a foot smaller than him, it's easy to see why scouts and fans alike drool at his jaw-dropping highlight reels. He does things on a basketball court that someone of his size should only be able to do as a Create-A-Player on NBA2K.
The five-star prospect, ranked #10 overall in the class of 2016, continues to flat-out dominate the competition at the high-school level. This past week, Maker dropped 40 points as his Athlete Institute squad pulled out a 73-68 win over Sunrise Christian Academy. A few weeks prior, he had 37 points and 11 rebounds in another resounding win over The Hill Academy, of which you can see highlights below.
Who's still involved?
Over the last year and a half, there has been rampant speculation that Thon would not play college basketball, instead opting to start cashing checks overseas before entering the NBA Draft in 2017. However, both he and his guardian, Ed Smith, have been adamant that the 18-year-old plans to attend college, most recently stating unequiviocally, "I've said it so many times. I'm definitely not going overseas" . For now, the only thing certain is that Thon plans to narrow down his choices and get a better feel for the schools that are still involved. While Arizona State is presumed to have a big edge for his services, Indiana, St. John's, Kansas, Notre Dame, and UNLV are all very much still involved.
There has been talk of him enrolling for the 2nd semester of 2016-2017, effectively joining a team mid-season. While there are still some skeptics that believe he will never play a second of collegiate basketball stateside, no one knows for sure, probably including Thon. A lot depends on the standardized test scores of which he is still waiting to find out the results.
Once those scores come in, Maker plans to set up some official visits, at which time you should expect to see a flurry of recruiting analysts and fanbases freak out about Maker's every move and comment. However, the clock is ticking on his recruitment, and there should be real progress in the coming weeks and months, one way or the other.
5-star Thon Maker told @EvanDaniels he hopes to make a college decision in 2 months. ASU, St Johns, ND, Indiana, Kansas, UNLV still involved— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) February 16, 2016
As his tentative April decision deadline gets closer and closer, where Thon is currently leaning is anyone's guess. But if and when the 7'1" Australian big man does suit up for a team at the collegiate level, it will be easy to see why the spotlight has been on him for so long.