Thon Maker and Jamal Murray Shine at Bill Crothers Invitational


Thon Maker and Jamal Murray Shine at Bill Crothers Invitational

Thon Maker and Jamal Murray were on full display this weekend for Orangeville Prep at the Bill Crothers Invitational tournament that saw teams from all over the GTA, Quebec, and the United States descend on the Markham high school this past weekend.

The duo combined for 38 points against Quebec’s Thetford Academy, who gave Orangeville Prep all they could handle, even leading the Bears 32-24 at halftime, with the help of eight points from Joel Thabize.

As impressive as Thon and Murray were throughout the course of the game, it was actually Thon’s little brother, 6-10 shooting guard Matur Maker, and true freshman Jahvon Blair, that sparked the comeback in the second half for Orangeville.

Matur and Blair combined for 11 points and two assists in the third quarter alone, and once Orangeville Prep took the lead at 43-42 with just over two minutes to go, they switched to a 2-3 zone defence with both Maker brothers lurking at the far wings, and Murray guarding the top.

Coach Larry Blunt Speaking to his team at an earlier game this year vs Bill Crothers (Elias Sbiet/

Orangeville’s superior size and conditioning would eventually wear Thetford down, as their decision to settle for contested jump shots would hinder them throughout the second half. When it was all said and done, Orangeville won by a final of 74-59.

Thon scored most of his points from the line, struggling to finish under the rim against a fairly sizeable Thetford frontcourt, that included 6-8 Michael Hakizimana and 6-7 Joel Thabize.

Like most of Thon’s games however, his upside was incredibly telling. He got to the line eight times, going 10 for 15 from the charity stripe. He also forced every single player he guarded to make major adjustments to their releases, resulting in not a single Thetford player scoring over him when he contested their shot.

Thon continued to show his court vision on a couple of occasions as well, bringing the ball up the floor at a torrent pace and dishing it to a waiting Murray for a couple of big open three’s in the corner, during the third quarter.

Jul 18, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Team Canadaplayer Jamal Murray (5) holds the ball as Team USA East player Phil Booth (5) defends during the Nike Global Challenge at Trinity University. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Murray was calm, cool, and collected the entire game. He never showed negative emotion, even when his team was down by as much as 12 at one point in the first half. He dazzled the crowd by dribbling out a couple double team pressure situations in the second half, relying on both his large 6-5 frame and lightning crossover to prevent both defenders from knocking the ball loose.

Like Thon, Murray started cold from the floor, preferring to settle for open jumpers rather than taking it to the rim, opting to allow both Maker brothers to take care of the offensive scoring in the paint. He eventually picked it up though near the end of the second quarter, and by the fourth, was stroking from downtown and finished with 22 points.

Most importantly though, Murray was always looking for his teammates before opting to shoot, which in turn allowed Matur and Blair to make the run that they did that brought Orangeville back in the third.

Orangeville Coach Larry Blunt was very pleased with how the young duo came up big for their team.

“Their best basketball is still ahead of them, Blair is a youngster and it’s good to see him start to figure it out like the way he did today,” said Blunt. “Matur is a gamer, his potential could be unlimited if he keeps training and getting better the way he has.”

But the best part of the night? Right after Orangeville and Thetford’s game, we were treated to this nice little display of sheer awesome.

On a night that had two possible future NBA players put their talents on full display, I have to say, Marcus Ottey might have stolen the show!