The NBA has ruled that Australian teenager Thon Maker is eligible to enter the 2016 NBA Draft this July. The 19-year-old forward declared for the draft about two weeks ago and had to wait for the NBA’s ruling.
According to ESPN, the NBA rules for players to become eligible for the draft include being 19 years old and is one year removed from high school. The NBA had to make a decision and confirmed that Maker graduated in high school last year.
He turned 19 in February, thus making him eligible for the 2016 NBA draft. In an interview with Draft Express earlier this month, he revealed why he declared to enter the draft instead of getting into college.
“When I found out I had the opportunity to enter this year’s draft it was a no brainer to me. I’ve always had the dream of playing in the NBA and I feel that I am ready,” Maker said.
The teenager also compared himself to Kevin Garnett in terms of being in the paint and a defensive anchor.
“I see myself more like KG on the blocks, but also being able to be used in multiple perimeter based actions. I see myself quarterbacking our defense and being a mismatch on offense,” Maker added.
But where does he rank among this year’s class of NBA hopefuls that is headed by Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram? In the latest mock draft of Draft Express, Maker falls into the second round while NBADraft.net has him getting picked in the late first round.
ESPN mentioned in their report that NBA scouts describe him as a player who plays with energy and a perimeter game for his incredible size of 7-foot-1. However, scouts are not entirely sold on him because he still lacks the strength to bang bodies in the NBA and his “feel for the game” makes him more of a project.
Nonetheless, Maker is planning to hire and agent and prepare for the NBA Draft Combine. He works out with Drew Hanlen in South Carolina and does strength training at the Peak Performance Project in Santa Barbara, California.
Photo Courtesy: thonmaker/Instagram