Class of 2016 big man Thon Maker is spending the full season in the high school ranks next year and he had a tremendous showing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Virginia this week. The 7-foot-0 Maker was the MVP of the camp after leading in overall points, rebounds, free throws made and attempted. He was also fifth in blocks and made a number of strong defensive plays.
Here’s a mixtape of Maker’s MVP week at the Camp.
(H/T: Courtside Films)
NBPA Top 100 Camp PM Recap: Thon Maker continues to send a message
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Thon Maker is the most popular high school basketball player in America when it comes to the casual basketball fan. Because of the hype surrounding a mixtape of Maker made well over a year ago — which unfairly compared the high school big man to Kevin Durant based on some highlights curated over months of game footage — he’s become a household name with American basketball fans.
The last few months for Maker, however, have been a whirlwind. The 7-foot-0 big man enrolled at Orangeville Prep in Ontario before last high school season. He tried as hard as possible to graduate early and enroll in the Class of 2015 so he could play college basketball early. That didn’t quite work out. There were even long-standing rumors Maker would try to graduate this December and enroll at a college for the second semester of the 2015-16 season.
All of those reclassification rumors were put to rest on Thursday as Maker told a group of reporters, including NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster, that he plans on playing the entire 2015-16 season as a high school player and (potentially) enroll in college after. The news of Maker staying in high school is significant because a potentially talented contributor won’t suit up in the college ranks next season.
Staying in high school for another full season also seems to have given Maker the freedom to be a kid and a basketball prospect again.
After some sluggish play during the high school season, Maker has started to play in some recent events and it’s come to a pinnacle at the NBPA Top 100 Camp this week. He’s been arguably the best player here. Maker leads the camp in scoring at 17.8 points per game and was particularly impressive in Thursday night’s camp win. Maker went for 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting (2-for-3 3-point) and hit numerous tough shots while also snaring seven rebounds.
He’s run the floor hard, looked like a complete offensive weapon and also protected the rim. Now that Maker is in the Class of 2016, if he continues to play like this, he’s going to be in the discussion among the best prospects in the 2016 class.
— Playing with Maker was Class of 2016 point guard Xavier Simpson, who had a strong evening session with 25 points (11-13 shooting), four assists and three rebounds. Simpson shook off a rough morning session to have an efficient outing where he scored from multiple levels, set up teammates and looked good in both the open floor and half-court settings.
— Class of 2017 big men Nick Richards and Mohamed Bamba both showed ridiculous flashes of potential on both ends of the floor on Thursday night, but both big men received minimal offensive touches thanks in-part to shot-happy guards.
— Speaking of shot-happy guards, there are plenty of them at the NBPA Top 100 Camp this year. While guards always have a propensity to shoot a high volume of shots in the camp setting, this year’s camp seems to be as bad as ever in terms of some players looking to get theirs each time they get minutes.
— New York native Shamorie Ponds has put up good scoring numbers this week after also being a high-level scorer with the New York Lightning in the Nike EYBL. The lefty guard went for 16 points on 8-for-15 shooting and did much of his damage in transition.
— Class of 2016 power wing Deshawn Corprew went for 22 points on 10-for-17 shooting on Thursday night. Corprew put together a productive spring with Boo Williams and always plays with a high motor every time he sets foot on the floor.
— Udoka Azubuike, a monster of a Class of 2016 prospect, nearly brought down the rim with one powerful two-handed dunk on his way to 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting. The big man’s power moves have been tough to stop in the early part of camp.
Kentucky commit Skal Labissiere tops Rivals’ final Class of 2015 rankings
Rivals released its final ranking of the Top 150 players in the Class of 2015, and the SEC commitment at the top of the list isn’t the player some would expect to be in that spot.
Skal Labissiere, who’s headed to Kentucky next season, leads the way in the Rivals150 rankings with LSU commit Ben Simmons next in line. Labissiere played well in both the Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Brand Classic this month, with his 21-point, six-rebound, six-block performance helping lead the World Team past the United State Select Team at the former.
Labissiere posted a double-double at the Jordan Brand Classic, tallying 11 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes of action. As for Simmons, he helped lead Montverde Academy to a National High School Invitational title in late March and also played in the McDonald’a All American Game in Chicago.
The remainder of the top five consists of forwards Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram and Cheick Diallo, with all three yet to commit to a school for next year. Their decisions, along with those of guard Malik Newman and forward Thon Maker (who are ranked eighth and ninth, respectively), will go along way towards shaping preseason expectations in college basketball for next season.
Rounding out the top ten in the Rivals 150 are Maryland commit Diamond Stone at six, Cal commit Ivan Rabb at seven, Newman, Maker and Kentucky commit Isaiah Briscoe at ten.
Elite prospect Thon Maker planning to reclassify to 2015
On Wednesday afternoon, Thon Maker, was of basketball’s most highly-regarded prospects, announced on twitter that he is “on track to graduate this year”, meaning that the seven-footer will likely reclassify into 2015.
Maker will immediately become one of the most sought-after prospects in high school basketball. He was the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, according to Rivals, and will be slotted at No. 5 in the Class of 2015. Maker is a native of South Sudan and grew up in Australia. He’s currently playing his high school ball at Orangeville Prep in Canada.
This move isn’t a surprise. It’s been a topic of conversation in the high school ranks for nearly a year, and it’s a change that many expected to see happen.
The question now will be where Maker continues his basketball career after this season. Kentucky and Kansas, among a handful of other programs, are the favorite to land his services in the collegiate ranks, although there has been talk that Maker will eventually turn professional and play for a year overseas before entering the 2016 draft. There’s also the possibility of spending a year as a post graduate in the high school ranks before entering the 2016 draft.
Last weekend the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the championship game matched up two of the best big men (and players period) in the Class of 2016. Orangeville Prep made the trek down from Canada for the event, with Thon Maker leading the way, and they took on a Wesleyan Academy team that included Harry Giles.
Those weren’t the only two high-level players in the game either, with point guard Jamal Murray also on the Orangeville Prep roster and guard Kwe Parker among Giles’ Wesleyan Academy teammates. Both big men were productive, with Giles tallying 26 points and 14 rebounds and Maker countering with 24 points and 11 boards.
The winning team: Wesleyan Academy, which won by the final score of 78-75. Above are highlights of the game put together by HoopMixtape.