Warm up the tank in 2017? Video: 7'1", 16-year-old Thon Maker can shoot threes, has handle
Before we get started, I know this video has been circulating for about two weeks, but I saw it right before I went on vacation and then kind of forgot about it and really wanted to make sure that anyone who hasn't seen it got a chance to do so.
With that out of the way, let's talk a little about High School Sophomore Thon Maker, the 7'1" (some say 7'0") physical specimen who is being called such things as "the taller Durant" and "the next KG".
Maker, who was born in Sudan, then moved to Australia and now plays for the Carlisle School in Martinsville, Virginia, took the internet by storm earlier this month when this somewhat outrageous highlight video surfaced.
Yes, the 7'1" kid is hitting step back threes, taking his defender off the dribble, and running the floor like a small forward. Needless to say, this is not your typical 7'1" high schooler, most of whom are clumsy and spend most of their time under the rim, taking advantage of 6'5" centers at the lower levels.
Nope, Maker can do it all, averaging 22 PPG, 13 RPG, 5 BPG, 2 APG and 1.5 SPG through his first two high school seasons. Not surprisingly, Maker is the #1 player in the class of 2016, and already has offers to play for Arizona, Georgetown, Miami (FL) and Virginia.
With the current NBA age limit, Maker will not be eligible to make the leap to the Association until 2017, leaving plenty of time for something unforeseen (injury, pressure, his body just getting too big) to derail what looks like an outrageous career. But man -- this video made my jaw drop. Maker is two (or three) inches taller than Kevin Durant, and at least an inch taller than KG, two of the tallest guys we've ever seen with the type of game Maker has. There are very few seven footers in history who can do the things we're seeing on this video, and this is still Maker going against kids a year or two older than him (think about how much bigger most 18-year-olds are compared to most 16-year-olds).
Like any prospect, Maker is not perfect. He's rail thin (200 pounds), and has shot only 29% from three-point range over the last two seasons (but has hit 49 threes, so he does have the range). But again -- he's only 16! Every 16-year-old has holes in their game.
Hopefully for Thon's sake (side note: how bad ass of a name is Thon Maker?) the hype that this video is creating doesn't negatively impact him. Being a 16-year-old is tough enough without people declaring you the next KG. But if he can keep developing his game, the basketball world is on notice.
P.S. For anyone who shouts "Thought this was CelticsLife, this isn't about the Celtics" -- the Celtics stink. We'll still be talking about them, of course, but sometimes other basketball things will catch our interest as well. Like this.