It’s looking like a distinct possibility that high school superstar Thon Maker will join the class of 2015 and be ready to play college basketball next season.
Maker — currently part of the class of 2016 — is playing his first season with Canada-based Orangeville Prep and is in Lexington this weekend for the Joe B. and Denny Bluegrass Showcase. He had 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in a 72-58 victory over Prime Prep on Friday night.
John Calipari has already extended a UK scholarship to Maker, who is considered the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2016 by Rivals.com. Maker’s guardian, Edward Smith, told the Herald-Leader on Friday that they hope to make a decision about reclassification by “the middle of January” and that Maker is doing the academic work that would make such a move possible.
Smith, also an assistant coach with Orangeville Prep, said he’s hoping Maker makes the jump.
“If it were up to me, I want to see him get going,” Smith said. “The quicker he does that, the better he gets. He has to progress and go do what he has to do.
“He needs to get up there. And we’re preparing him now to be ready to go into a college situation.”
Maker has scholarship offers from just about every major program in the country, though he has not cut his list to a certain group of schools. Smith said there are currently no plans for official visits, but he specifically mentioned Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana and Stanford as programs that have been “very strong in recruiting us” in recent weeks.
Smith added that Maker will likely cut his list when he makes a decision about reclassification in January.
“What you’re looking at is who’s left, who enters (the NBA Draft), and where you fit in,” Smith said.
He said Maker will be looking for a program that needs him to play right away, but also one that would have plenty of other talent around him. As Smith put it, they’ll be looking for a team that is “a Thon Maker away from being a really good team.”
“Kentucky, this year, doesn’t need Thon,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe next year, they all go. You know? So you have to look at the situation at that time.”