While his older brother, Thon, has already become a household name among those who follow college basketball recruiting, Matur Maker is proving that he’s more than capable of making a name for himself.
Thon Maker has the attention of the nation’s top programs and is already being pegged as a potential No. 1 overall pick when he becomes eligible for the NBA draft.
The younger Maker, a class of 2017 prospect, is beginning to emerge as a major prospect in his own right.
Both Makers, who attend the Carlisle School in Virginia, came to the United States from Australia with coach Edward Smith, the guardian for both players. Originally from the Sudan, the family moved to Australia when Thon was six. Smith said the family now goes back and forth between Australia and South Sudan since it became a new nation in 2011.
“Thon came to live with me when he was 13. I had run an academy in Sydney,” Smith explained last weekend at the adidas Gauntlet. “He came and lived with me. Ever since then, I’ve been his guardian and I brought him over here (to the United States). And after we had him over here and he did so well in school, his parents decided to send his younger brother to join the process.”
Matur, who is 6-foot-10, played well over the weekend in Fishers, averaging 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds for Team Loaded Virginia, which finished the second adidas Gauntlet stop with a 3-2 record.
Interest in Matur has picked up recently as Indiana was the first school to offer a scholarship to the rising sophomore earlier this month.
Monday was a busy day for visitors on Indiana’s campus as the staff hosted three visitors who were in the state for the adidas Gauntlet in Fishers and a fourth visitor from just outside Fort Wayne who got his first up close look at IU basketball.
Brachen Hazen, a 6-foot-7 class of 2016 forward from Columbia City, made the three hour drive south to Bloomington with his parents after the Hoosiers recently expressed interest.
As a sophomore at Columbia City, Hazen averaged close to 12 points and eight rebounds per game, but has flown under the radar in part because he missed his freshman season due to a back injury.
“It was just awesome,” Hazen told Inside the Hall of the Indiana visit. “That was my first time ever being down there. It was just really fun. We enjoyed it.”
FISHERS, Ind. — Class of 2016 Christ Presbyterian Academy (Tenn.) wing Braxton Blackwell has already amassed 15 scholarship offers, but his recruitment is less than a month from taking on a significant change.
That’s because college coaches will be able to communicate directly with Blackwell for the first time beginning at 12:00 a.m. on June 15. At the adidas Gauntlet at Best Choice Fieldhouse over the weekend, the 6-foot-8 rising junior said his classmates at school have already started to discuss which school will reach out first.
“I’m still wondering who is going to be the first to call,” he said. “Some kids at my school made a little bet to see who is going to be the first to call.”
So who is the getting the most buzz?
Indiana’s recruitment of class of 2016 Overland (Colo.) forward De’Ron Davis has been ongoing for more than two years now. However, it wasn’t until Monday that the five-star prospect had the opportunity to make his way to Bloomington.
It’s safe to say his first experience made quite the impression.
Davis was in Fishers over the weekend with the Colorado Hawks playing in the adidas Gauntlet and made the trip south on Monday to see the program up close for the first time with his AAU coach and 2015 point guard and teammate Austin Conway.
“I think it’s a wonderful campus. I got the full tour,” he told Inside the Hall on Monday evening. “The gym is wonderful. It holds a lot of people. I actually got a chance to talk to the strength and conditioning coach (Je’Ney Jackson). Just the way he develops players body wise is crazy. Just how the players come in their freshman year and how they look their sophomore year is crazy.”
At the adidas Gauntlet, Davis mentioned the growth of both Noah Vonleh and Cody Zeller during their stints at Indiana as a major reason he’s strongly considering the Hoosiers.
FISHERS, Ind. — It’s not hard to notice class of 2016 Carlisle (Va.) big man Thon Maker.
The Sudan native has a unique skill set for a 7-footer that allows him to shut down the paint defensively while also playing both inside and outside offensively. Maker, who moved to Australia at the age of six, has lived in the United States since he was 13 with his guardian, Edward Smith.
Rated the No. 3 player nationally by the 247Composite, Maker will have his pick of schools when it comes time to make his decision. As the headliner of the new adidas Gauntlet circuit, Maker made the move from Boo Williams on the Nike EYBL circuit to Team Loaded Virginia this spring.
Maker talked to the media about a variety of topics on Friday night at the Best Choice Fieldhouse and a complete transcript of his comments, including his thoughts on Indiana, is available below:
On the move from Boo Williams to Team Loaded:
“It allows me to move around a little bit more and just establish my game a little bit more.”
On his progress as a player:
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger. I’ve worked on my shot a lot, trying to perfect it. I work on my ball handling and just being a complete basketball player.”
FISHERS, Ind. — Class of 2016 West Linn (Ore.) point guard Payton Pritchard will get his first look at Indiana’s campus today when he makes an unofficial visit to Bloomington.
Pritchard, ranked the No. 69 prospect nationally in his class according to the 247Composite, has helped lead West Linn to two straight Class 6A titles in Oregon.
Inside the Hall caught up with Pritchard, who is playing for Team Fast on the adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring and summer, at the Best Choice Fieldhouse for a Q & A:
On the visits he has planned this spring:
“On Monday, I’m going to take visits to Indiana and Butler. That’s mostly it besides just playing basketball.”
On why he decided to visit those two schools:
“I know Indiana and Butler have both been talking to me. Indiana is more recent, but Butler has been talking to me for a while. They’ve been wanting to get me on campus and I’m out in Indiana, so I’ll take a visit out there.”
FISHERS, Ind. — T.J. Leaf is no stranger to basketball in Indiana.
His father, Brad, who is also his high school coach at Foothills Christian near San Diego, California, grew up in Indianapolis and was a standout collegiately at Evansville. And now T.J., one of the top 25 recruits nationally in the class of 2016, is a primary recruiting target for Indiana.
Leaf made three unofficial visits to Bloomington last year, including two stops for games and it’s clear that the program is squarely in the mix to become his landing spot in the fall of 2016.
Tom Crean and associate head coach Tim Buckley are leading the recruitment of Leaf with Crean making a trip to Las Vegas in December to watch Leaf and another stop at his high school last month to watch an open gym before the April evaluation period.
“They’re as strong as anybody else,” Brad Leaf said on Saturday at the adidas Gauntlet at Best Choice Fieldhouse. “He understands more and more (how important basketball is here). We watch basketball on TV a lot. There’s nothing like, in my opinion, Big Ten basketball. How many years in a row have they led the nation in attendance? He just wants to go somewhere that they’re passionate about basketball.”