The NBA has ruled international prep star Thon Maker eligible for this year’s draft, reports Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Maker will hire an agent, thus forgoing his college eligibility, and formally enter the draft, Ford adds.
The 19-year-old Maker attends Orangeville District Secondary School in Ontario, Canada, but he graduated from high school last June. The NBA rule for American players stipulates they must turn 19 the year they enter the draft and be one year removed from the graduation of their high school class to meet the minimum standards for draft eligibility. Maker could also make a case that he qualifies as an international player and is thus exempt from rules regarding his high school graduation, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress pointed out. It’s unclear what basis the NBA used to clear him from the draft, but he’ll be a part of it nonetheless.
Originally from Sudan, Maker previously played at two high schools in Louisiana and one in Virginia. He’s impressed along the way, but his stock has been falling of late, as Givony and The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted. Maker is No. 41 in Givony’s prospect rankings, while Ford lists him 20th, a wide split that demonstrates the difficulty NBA types are having as they try to assess his value. So, workouts with NBA teams, which begin later this month, and the combine in May figure to be key.