Why Everyone’s Saying Thon Maker Will Just ‘Attempt’ To Enter The 2016 NBA Draft

On Sunday, 7-footer and YouTube sensation Thon Maker declared for the upcoming NBA draft in a video with Bleacher Report, as first reported by Draft Express and confirmed by David Aldridge. But there’s a question as to whether Maker can actually renounce a mandated year in college and head straight for the pros.

The big thing here is that the 19-year-old Australia native (by way of Sudan) plays his high-school basketball in Canada and is a top 2016 college basketball prospect. However, he was originally a ’15 prospect before staying at Orangeville Prep for an additional year. Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com explained why Maker’s timeline is muddy at the moment:

The biggest question concerns Maker’s eligibility to be drafted. NBA rules state that a player must be at least 19 years old and one year removed from high school. Maker turned 19 in February but still attends Orangeville Prep (Canada). Maker’s case for eligibility would come down to convincing the NBA that he was a member of the 2015 class and decided to do a post-graduate year. Maker spent eighth grade at Metairie Park Country Day School (Louisiana), then ninth and 10th grade at Carlisle School (Virginia), before moving to Orangeville Prep for the past two years.

Put another way, Maker is in his fifth year of high school.

Maker and his family are awaiting an answer from the NBA regarding his eligibility, which he wouldn’t have received unless he officially declared. So, expect an answer soon.

There’s also the matter of whether Maker should declare for the NBA. Though he’s an online phenomenon, Maker’s draft stock “has never really gotten off the ground in the eyes of NBA scouts as he has struggled to separate himself in many of the events he’s been seen at,” according to DraftExpress.com.

The scouting site continued:

His competitiveness, physicality and intensity level are impressive for a 7-footer with a 9’3 standing reach, and the fact that he’s been able to add some bulk to his upper body and can knock down an open 3-pointer at times bodes well for his role-playing potential. So will his work ethic and strong character. Still, his lack of offensive polish, pencil thin legs, average feel for the game and explosiveness suggest that may be the extent of his long-term upside. And considering how big the jump is from high school basketball to the NBA, it will likely take years to achieve that, which some teams may feel is not worth the time or effort it will require.

Maker made a decision in flashy style and did what a lot of other athletes in his position would do. Now it comes down to whether he can actually do it.

(Via Draft Express)