Thon Maker’s guardian discusses possibility of move to 2015

  • 05/23/2014 9:04 am in

Top prospects reclassifying in order to accelerate a path to the NBA has become more common in recent years.

Just in the class of 2013 alone, both Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Noah Vonleh (Indiana) moved from the class of 2014, spent a season in college and are now ticketed for the NBA draft lottery.

Led by new commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA is eyeing a change to the age limit for the draft with the hopes of having a minimum age of 20 in place before the 2016 draft. That could mean that the class of 2015 would be the final group of incoming college basketball freshmen with the ability to spend just one season in college and then depart for the NBA.

Discussion of the rule change has led to corresponding chatter regarding class of 2016 prospects looking to move to 2015.

Thon Maker, a consensus top three player in the 2016 class who plays at the Carlisle School in Virginia, has been a name mentioned as a possibility to reclassify.

Last weekend at the adidas Gauntlet in Fishers, Maker’s guardian, Edward Smith, was asked to address the potential for a move to 2015 for the native of the Sudan.

“We looked at it with his school,” Smith told reporters at the Best Choice Fieldhouse. “He’s a 4.0 student right now and we wanted to make sure he stays sound with the academic process. If we could do it, we would, but it is going to be really hard because they’re not that many periods in the day.

“And I think the NCAA recently took away some of the online providers (for classes). So we’re not going to go outside the box in terms of that. If we could do it, we would. My feeling is an extra year in college versus an extra year of high school would be beneficial.”

The 7-foot Maker, who was offered a scholarship by Indiana earlier this month, is one of the most coveted players in the country with interest from Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Wake Forest, UNLV, Virginia and several others.

(Photo credit: Vernon Bryant/adidas)

Filed to:

  • According to some on here, they don’t want anything to so with this talented kid. If he isn’t going to bed with candy striped dreams and staying 4 years at IU, then heck with him…… I happen to be of the contingent who would LOVE to have this kid, even if only for 1 year.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I think more people have an issue with Ed Smith than they do with Thon Maker.

  • N71

    Thon has an impressive list of suitors:

    Duke – good program, very small school though loaded with pretentious types, coach is getting a little long in the tooth
    Louisville – yuck campus but nice stadium and proven coach who is a little long in the tooth as well (need to include Kenny factor though)
    Indiana – good program, good player development in recent years, good scholastically, GREAT campus, basketball culture
    Kentucky – soulless factory
    Kansas – good option but rather far away
    Memphis – are you kidding me?
    UNLV – no thank you, I’m a 4.0 student and Vegas is a 4+ hour flight
    Wake Forest – too small
    Virginia – nice school, a program on the rise, close to home
    Florida – I’d go there just for the ladies alone
    Arizona – too far but a fine stable of sheilas as well

    If he shifts to 2015 things could change perhaps. At that point I could see it coming down the Indiana, Duke, Kansas, and Virginia. 247 says Kansas, Virginia is a sleeper, but basketball culture and player development tip things into Indiana’s favor.

  • JWaltFTW

    With Maker in 2015, we could be potential national title contenders.

  • N71

    The same could be said for the 47 other schools who are chasing him.

  • Michael R

    I love how Edward Smith danced around this question. I do not doubt that Thon is a highly intelligent individual, as most people that make it out of the upbringing he had in Sudan find school to be a walk in the park. If Edward answered honestly for Thon, he would have talked about whether Thon is mature enough to handle this move up in class. The Noah Vonleh’s of the world are rare as not all are mentally ready to put in the extra work and compete with those that have an extra year of development.

  • Hoosier Hall

    While I think it’s a pipe dream to land this guy, we do have a sliver of a chance. I’d have to agree with your Florida assessment! I hear Texas, Florida and California are tops in the fine assortment of females classification. Bloomington wasn’t too shabby when I was up there though…

  • JWaltFTW

    I was referring to Yogi being a senior instead of not being here in 2016, Maker’s original class.

  • JWaltFTW

    APR results may influence his decision if he does indeed care about school, and that would help us.

  • Kyl470

    If you don’t think Kentucky is going to be a finalist for a top 3 player then you must not have paid much attention to college basketball over the past five years.

  • MK

    is there any indication that Ed Smith has done anything wrong at all?

  • CreamandCrimson

    A poster by the name of “PocketHoosier” wrote a lengthy diatribe that had several accusations about things Ed Smith has allegedly done with previous players he has been associated with. The post has since been removed. I have no information on Ed Smith whatsoever but more than one poster commented that IU “didn’t want someone like that around our program”.

  • It was deleted because it was an attack based on a lot of speculation and very few facts.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Yeah, that’s why I didn’t repeat what the original comment actually said because I figured that’s why it had been deleted. As always Alex, thanks for your hard work on the site!

  • Hoosier Pride

    From interviews I have seen, Thon does seem to be very well spoken and intelligent. However, I am sure he has been schooled on how to answer the “blueprint” questions that are fired his way on a regular basis. Nonetheless, seems like a well spoken kid.

  • calbert40

    I’m sure academics are important to Thon, especially if he truly does have a 4.0. But there is only one reason to move up a classification, and that is to jump to the NBA after one season. I’m not saying that makes him a lousy individual nor does it mean I wouldn’t want him for one year. However, I just wish Smith would be more transparent and say the real reason he wants to reclassify.

    I’d still love to have him, though!

  • Snookafly

    I like the way you see things.

  • twarrior87

    Getting this guy in the 2015 class automatically puts IU in the National title conversation again. With the shooters we’d have on the the outside and having Thon on the inside would be pretty lethal.

  • N71

    Forgot to mention I was factoring in their immanent NCAA death penalty for lack of institutional control.

  • vanpastorman

    A year extra means millions. It also means that when you get to your third contract it can be bigger because you are still younger.

  • jmac

    You don’t pass on a 5 star recruit like Thon Maker!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Chad Ford (NBA Draft expert that talks to a lot of GMs) on Noah Vonleh: “He’s put on a lot of muscle this season at Indiana and can thank head coach Tom Crean for helping him develop a more polished low-post game. The knock on Vonleh coming out of high school was that he was a bit of a tweener who relied too heavily on his jump shot. This season Vonleh proved to be a valuable low-post player.”

    Opinions like that from people plugged into the NBA can only help as we continue to try and attract elite talent.


    Doubt he cares too much about the APR. He is looking for a “brand name” , high profile school where he can showcase himself for a year. He needs a place where there is a lot of avaiable PT right now.
    IU currently has a open scholarship to fill- not sure about the others.IU also has an open position which he can move into on day one. I don’t think Duke, KY can offer that this year. I Can’t
    see how a One and Done would be able to showcase themselves in Bennetts’ system at VA. Wake Forest and UNLV are not high profile enough to meet his requirements.
    If he reclassifies Indiana and Kansas would be the best fit.

  • CreamandCrimson

    He would be reclassifying to be a freshman in the 2015-2016 season, not this coming season. I don’t think available playing time “right now” is a huge concern for him and I am sure Duke, Kentucky and others are going to have scholarships available for the 2015 class.

  • calbert40

    I understand the reasoning behind the decision to move up a year. In all honesty, I agree with it from a financial standpoint. I just wish people like Smith would be honest about it. Just say, “we are considering moving up one year in classification, because the NBA is considering making a change in the “one and done” rule for 2016, and this change of classification allows Thon to keep all of his options open.”

    I think most people would respect that statement.


    Thanks.I thought he was reclassing to the current class.

  • marcusgresham

    If were all about the shorties Ole Miss would have a far better program than they do.

  • marcusgresham

    Every kid is “considering” staying in school….until he meets with the NBA people that tell him where he can expect to be drafted. If you don’t hear what you want to hear you can always say it was the plan all along to stick around but if you find out you’re about to go in the lottery things change.

  • marcusgresham

    There are going to be more than a few snide comments made in response to this statement, but I think he did develop a better low-post game. He didn’t always get the ball, but I think there was a combination of sagging defenses and the fact that Noah still needs to work on getting himself open, but when he got the ball he was pretty successful at going either direction and finished well. In fact, I think a lot of the knock on CTC from things Zeller was less successful with in the post (trying to duck under, for example,) didn’t happen with Noah—if Cody would have developed that jump hook with either hand he’d have had another bucket or two a game–and maybe the coaching staff deserves a little more credit than a lot of people are willing to give.

  • SCHoosier

    Amen to that…see no reason to get excited about Mr. Maker coming to B-town. If he does it will be a great “get”..if he doesn’t..won’t surprise anybody.

  • PocketHoosier

    I did make a post, it was deleted, and I am fine with that. I have been reading up on Ed Smith, but that’s what it has been: “reading up.”

    There is no way to really ascertain the veracity of the information available and whether the sources (mostly Australian) that attack Smith as an exploiter of African refugees have an ax to grind with him or if they are merely declaring him guilty by his association with the recruiting industry.

    There has been a general stench that surrounds the “handling” of impoverished refugee athletic recruits, but perhaps it is Ed Smith that is trying to shepherd them through adolescence keeping them from being exploited by others. Perhaps Ed Smith is one of the very few people in this world that would legitimately take on the expense in both his personal physical resources and his own personal time to improve the circumstances of someone who would not have the opportunity otherwise.

    If he is that person, his benevolence should be applauded.

  • PocketHoosier

    Kate Upton left Bloomington because she was only like the 90th hottest girl on campus.

  • PocketHoosier

    Which death penalty are you referring to?

    Oh, you wouldn’t happen to mean the NCAA Death Penalty that was invented for Kentucky in ’52 for their institutional involvement in the Manhattan Point Shaving Scandal?

    That NCAA Death Penalty or are they going to make up another one for Kentucky the next time around?

  • ForeverIU

    Can you share the sources that you deem credible? The way you frame the issue implies that Ed Smith is either a demon or a saint. Could he, as a possibility, be a smart and pragmatic entrepreneur who is serving a “good” cause while benefiting himself?

  • Michael Wade

    If he comes for one year and IU is IU, then others will see and they will come for longer. Eventually, well before middle age, he will have to put that 4.0 in play and IU can definitely prepare him for that no matter how short his time.

  • kaponya44

    IU ,under Crean ,will generally have an outside chance at most players who move to the states ,especially from Africa .Not that giving Bawa,Tijan,PJ and Hanner(who is Colombian of course) a chance determines another kids choice but strong recent history of welcoming players of foreign heritage is a good reputation for a program.Emphasizing the cultural diversity of Bloomington could play a helpful role in selling the program to Maker..Thon “The Program” Maker would be a good get for IU.Sorry for the corny nickname there lol.

  • kaponya44

    NBA basketball should adopt the same early draft entrant rule the NFL has. Just my opinion though.

  • ScoopGeoff

    I agree IU has plenty of hotties… having lived in Dallas and Tallahassee I have to say it isn’t quite the same, but good none the less. What I can’t figure out is why the IU cheerleaders are so beat. The hottest IU cheerleader of all time wouldn’t even crack UM’s top 10 any given year. It’s kinda sad really, and not a good recruiting tool.

  • MPmike B

    That is not true. IU will be in his top 5. That’s the problem. IU has been the finalist for most of these recruits but have not any success in landing most of these top players.

  • Hey at least our cheerleaders are hot enough to win the NCAA Cheerleading Championship two years running. They’re not that bad looking.. You have to look at it through the eyes f s 17 yo recruit, who’s seen nothing but the ‘High School fodder’ at his local HS. If the bball coaches are doing their job they’re getting these kids hooked up with some real hot lookers when they visit campus. When I was down there (a lot of years ago), the football coach assistant asked my girl friend (who by the way was ‘HOT’), if she’d be willing to escort recruits when they visited campus and show them a good time. She turned it down, thankfully, but that did, and I am sure still does happen.

  • I read the other day that the new NBA President is serious about making it a two year minimum and that 2015 will likely be the last year of the one and done. That is why a lot of these guys would like to reclassify this year.. if they don’t it will likely be the last year that this will be an issue.

  • marcusgresham

    I have a younger cousin who is a beautiful girl and she had that job. Nothing sketchy or sexual about it, she was just kind of a tour guide.

  • Outoftheloop

    In 2015 KY could have 10 NBA guys COMING BACK because the NBA does want guys unless they are the top 3-4 on the KY roster. Looked what happened in 2014, only 2 “made it”! While 6 did not make it and 4 more signed on. The stable is getting too full and the lower 5 are not getting enough playing time to justify a draft position in the top 30! Just ask Harrison, Harrison, Johnson, Lee, Cauley-Stein, and Poythress!

  • Yes.. I didn’t mean to imply that they were granting sexual favors, or expected to participate in such, or anything.. But they were expected to show them around and make sure they had a good time. The fact is though, having some very cool ladies show these giys around, and making them feel important, certainly can be a strong influence on an impressionable young guy. And there are plenty of great looking ladies down on campus to get that point across. Kinda ike, ‘If you come down here, you’re going to be the BMOC and the ladies are going to be head over heels after you’…. Nothing wrong with some additional positive recruiting.

  • I am sure they are all schooled, but the fact that he is is so well spoken, no matter how well he has been schooled how to answer, says a lot in terms of his intelligence. It’s one thing to be told how to answer, it’s quite another, to put the response together in a well spoken message to the person asking the questions. Else why do so many young athletes say the right things, but the grammar and sentence structure used certainly does not have the sound of someone academically inclined.

  • skotchie

    On record as not a big fan of one-and-done. Selfishly not the product I choose to root for in the team I love to follow.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    all i’m sayin is don’t get your hopes up. the only thing that matters is landing some of these bigs whether it be Thon or someone else.

  • kaponya44

    I saw that too ..Anything which stands to raise the quality of all parties concerned sounds good to me .I hope Adam Silver pulls it off ..Seems like the idea is fairly well received among owners but the Donald Sterling mess is probably bogging down progress at the moment .