December 16, 2011
He's been called the next Kevin Durant. He's been compared to Chris Webber. More than anything else, what 14-year-old Thon Maker truly represents is a pure sporting enigma: A 7-foot middle schooler who has the refined mid-range game and dominant post presence of a top high school senior (if not a college star) already.
Maker has exploded onto the pre-prep basketball scene since arriving in Houston for the John Lucas International Middle School Combine in August. An Australian of Sudanese descent (which only adds to his intrigue), Maker is still in middle school but flashes the kind of complete game usually only found in a top college-level prospect.
Add to that his 7-foot size and massive wingspan at the tender age of 14, and there's little question why Maker is getting a load of attention as a newly emigrated American Middle Schooler. The lanky, multi-position star is spending his eighth-grade season competing for Metairie Park (La.) Country Day School, where he has wasted little time in emerging as one of the nation's top prospects for the Class of 2016. He's already the top-ranked prospect in his class, according to MiddleSchoolHoops.com.
Of course, that's where any knowledge about Maker stops and the pure guesswork begins. Because of his age, no one knows if Maker wants to continue to evolve as a swingman -- a la Durant -- or whether he plans to put on weight and try to bang inside as a center. No one knows whether he really likes Louisiana or if he pines for home in Australia.
Regardless of what happens next, at this point Maker has become a phenomenon of his own accord. After all, it's not every day that you see a 7-foot 14-year-old, let alone one who has the refined motor skills of some of the NBA's best. If nothing else, the early highlight reels of Maker's exploits should make following him at the high school level a must-see pursuit in the coming years.
So, while you almost certainly haven't heard of Maker yet, you should get ready to hear a lot more about him, both now and for the foreseeable future.
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