International star Thon Maker will try to enter the 2016 draft, reports Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. The seven-footer confirmed the news in a Bleacher Report video. Maker, 19, will claim to be eligible because he graduated from high school in Canada in June of last year, which technically makes him a fifth-year high school student.
Originally from the Sudan, Maker attends Orangeville District Secondary School in Ontario and plays for Canada’s Athlete Institute. He previously played at two high schools in Louisiana and one in Virginia.
The NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement requires players to be at least 19 before entering the draft and stipulates that one full NBA season must have been completed since the player’s high school graduation. If Maker graduated last year, he will have met both requirements in time for the June 23rd draft.
Maker has announced that he will skip this week’s Nike Hoop Summit in Portland to concentrate on preparing for the draft. Givony says Maker failed to make a strong impression at last year’s event and that his overall draft stock has been falling due to lackluster performances at similar events, the most recent being the NBA Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during All-Star Weekend. DraftExpress has him listed as 44th in its most recent ranking of the top 100 prospects.
Givony lists “competitiveness, physicality and intensity level” as the best parts of Maker’s game, along with increased upper-body strength and the ability to hit an occasional 3-pointer. However, he warns that Maker has little offensive polish, explosiveness or feel for the game and may take a long time to develop into a productive NBA player.
Maker made recruiting visits to Kansas and UNLV in March, and had trips scheduled to Arizona State and Notre Dame set for later this month. However, Givony notes that amateurism concerns were hanging over Maker’s college eligibility and may have pushed him to opt for the draft instead.