Thon Maker Declares for the NBA Draft: Can He Make It?


It was a move that was certainly not out of the question, but still very surprising nonetheless, Thon Maker has declared for the 2016 NBA draft.

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The 7-foot-1 five-star recruit out of Orangeville Prep officially chose to forego his one year of college eligibility yesterday in an albeit dramatic fashion, releasing a short video via Bleacher Report that has described his journey from the South Sudan to the dreams of the NBA.

The video itself is not unlike that of a “taking my talents to South Beach” proclamation, as it begins with the acknowledgment of NCAA programs like Kansas and Indiana, both of which were awaiting his eventual commitment to the college game.

Instead, Maker took the King James route, making a decision that was only whispered about as a possibility, but came as a genuine surprise to anyone that has followed his journey for the last few years.

Maker will attempt to go pro. He will completely bypass the NCAA and make a jump that many before him have made, but so few have genuinely succeeded at.

Take into account his sub-par showing not only at the Nike World Hoop Summit, but also his lackluster performance at the BioSteel All-Canadian Game last year. Maker bounced back during the AAU season with Canada Elite that once again had college and pro scouts drooling over him, but every person that was someone still believed he was a few years away.

Even to this day that has been the analysis of him: great kid, great motor, but at times it seems like even he doesn’t entirely know what he is on the floor yet.

Adding into the Lebron James style proclamation he has just put on himself as mentioned above, he has ultimately put some huge pressure and expectations on himself. The next couple of weeks will be crucial, with his second go around at both the Hoop Summit and BioSteel Game on the horizon.

Yet even so, if Maker can produce, this gamble will pay off huge for him.

The strong season and showcase camps he had last summer, the MVP caliber season he had at Athlete Institute in the OSBA, the fact that every major college program in the NCAA has taken at least a double look and made offers this recruiting season.

Declaring for the draft now may garner him the highest guaranteed return from not just the NBA, but any shoe company or brand looking to take a chance on an international player that so many different people can identify with all at once.

It’s not every day you can land a future NBA All-Star that resonates just as deeply in Africa, Australia, and Canada all at the same time, is it?

This is the chance that Maker is ultimately taking, and even if he doesn’t live up to the mixtape hype that has defined his teenage years, most scouts still believe he is a lottery pick right now if he clears the NBA’s eligibility process, while proving to be a consistent NBA forward in his foreseeable future.

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One thing is for certain, Thon Maker certainly believes in Thon Maker. It will now be up to him to make believers out of the rest of us once and for all.