The recruitment of five-star basketball prospect Thon Maker has been far from ordinary.
The 7-footer from Sudan started his basketball career in Australia, then moved to the United States and is now playing for a new prep school in Canada. He recently announced his intention to reclassify to 2015, which would allow him to play college basketball next season. There’s also the possibility that he bypasses college completely and plays pro ball for a year before declaring for the NBA.
Kentucky is one of the schools at the top of his list – should he take the college route – and it’s not difficult to understand why Coach John Calipari wants him to be a Wildcat.
His unique mix of size and skill has attracted coaches from all over the country. UK fans will have a chance to watch Maker in action later this month when he plays in the Mid-America National Championship at Marshall County and McCracken County high schools.
Maker has also caught the attention of basketball analytics expert Justin Zormelo, who has worked extensively with NBA players like Kevin Durant, John Wall and Rajon Rondo.
Zormelo started working last year with Maker and his guardian Ed Smith, who is an assistant coach at Orangeville Prep. Both Zormelo and Smith spoke to the Herald-Leader earlier this season for a story about UK’s analytics program and the increasing use of analytics in the sport.
On Wednesday, ESPN Films and FiveThirtyEight.com released a 15-minute film showcasing Zormelo’s work with Maker. Watch it below: