Recruiting Roundup: Jamal Murray Will Commit Wednesday, Thon Maker Shines


Recruiting Roundup: Jamal Murray Will Commit Wednesday, Thon Maker Shines

The highly anticipated Jamal Murray sweepstakes will come to an end on Wednesday, as the five-star guard will announce his decision for next season at 6 p.m. on TSN.

Although Murray and his family have been very quiet throughout this entire process, he is believed to be down to Oregon and Kentucky.

The general consensus is that Murray is leaning towards Oregon to join fellow Canadians Dillon Brooks, Dylan Ennis and Chris Boucher. Current Ducks’ forward Elgin Cook tweeted “Welcoming our newest commit Jamal Murray into the Duck family” last week, which sparked the Murray-to-Oregon rumours. Cook has since deleted the tweet, but often times teammates are the first to know about incoming recruits and team plans.

More from Tip of the Tower

Seeing recruits make last-minute switches is common in football, where the hype machine of National Signing Day can overwhelm players. In basketball, though, players are more firm with their verbal commitments when they reach this point of the recruiting process. But if any school could come in and scoop a player last-minute, it’s Kentucky and Big Blue Nation.

Either way, Murray’s ability to both score and distribute will bring tremendous value to either Oregon or Kentucky.

As for the impact this has on Canada Basketball, just look back to when Andrew Wiggins announced his college decision. There was only a few media members on-hand, it took place in his high school gymnasium and it barely cracked mainstream sports news in the Greater Toronto Area. Compare that to Murray’s televised announcement on Wednesday and it’s clear that basketball in Canada has come a long, long ways.

Thon Maker Shines at NBPA Top 100 Camp

Thon Maker was named MVP of the NBPA Top 100 Camp last week, after the 7-foot phenom averaged 15.8 points and 7.9 rebounds.‘s John Stovall had this to say about Maker’s performance at the NBPA (Insider Access Required):

"Maker (7-0, 2010, Athlete Institute/Orangeville, Ontario) has returned to the 2016 class, and so returns the most skilled 7-footer in high school history. Maker was named the camp’s most outstanding player. Offensively he can score at all three levels and can create for himself, which makes him extremely unique for a 7-foot high school player. Maker is a solid rebounder, and is noticeably stronger compared to a year ago. Defensively, he is solid with his length and shot-blocking ability. Maker is a talent who will be coveted by practically every college in America."

The bigger news, though, was when Maker announced that he will return to Orangeville Prep next season and remain in the class of 2016.

"“I tried to get in the 2015 class. It just didn’t work out, so I’m going to stay,” Maker said, according to Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “I’ll make it official here that I’ll stay (in 2016) and just play it out. Take my visits in November and play another year with my brother.”"

Ed Smith, Maker’s guardian, said that the decision has more to do with academics than it does basketball. Back in May, Smith discussed the idea of possibly enrolling in college in December and playing the second half of the 2015-16 season, but that won’t happen either.

As for playing college basketball in the future, Maker’s answer was simple.

“Of course,” he said.

Currently fielding offers from just about every Division-I program, Kentucky, Indiana and Arizona State are widely considered to be the favourites in Maker’s recruitment.

In the meantime, though, Maker will spend all of next year at Orangeville Prep where him and his younger brother Matur will continue to showcase their developing talents.

In case you haven’t seen Thon Maker play recently, here’s a highlight tape of his performance at the NBPA Top 100 Camp. (H/T

Next: Canada Basketball Wins Silver Medal at FIBA Under-16s