Five-star recruit Thon Maker will be back in Kentucky later this month as he mulls the next step in his basketball career.
Maker and Orangeville Prep are set to participate in the first Bluegrass National Championship, a tournament that will include eight high-profile teams from the United States and Canada.
The tournament will be played March 23-25 at Marshall County High School and McCracken County High School. Those are the three days before the NCAA Tournament’s second week of games begin.
The other teams confirmed for the event are Prime Prep (Texas), Quality Ed (N.C.), Victory Prep (Texas), Sunrise Christian (Kan.) and Prolific Prep (Calif.). The final two teams will be announced after the brackets for the Dick’s Sporting Goods national tournament are released, which should happen soon.
Maker recently announced his intention to reclassify to 2015, which would allow him to play college basketball next season. UK, Kansas and Indiana are among the top schools on his list, and UK assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen was scheduled to watch Maker in Canada on Wednesday night.
Class of 2016 standout Josh Jackson — another UK recruiting target — plays for Prolific Prep. Scout.com ranks Jackson as the No. 2 overall prospect in the junior class. Kansas, Arizona and Louisville are among the schools that have already offered scholarships.
The tournament will also feature two elite players from the class of 2017: Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep) and Billy Preston (Prime Prep). Both are considered top-20 players in the sophomore class.
The final two teams are also expected to have UK recruiting targets on the roster.
The tournament begins March 23 with first-round games at McCracken County, then moves to Marshall County for the semifinals and two consolation games March 24. The finals and another consolation game will be played March 25 at McCracken County.
Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling Dan Hudson at (270) 293-9398, Jeff Stokes at Marshall County High School at (270) 527-6714 or Tim Stewart at McCracken County High School at (270) 994-6156.