Thon Maker To Canada
In what would be the most ground breaking move in Canadian high school basketball history when its all said and done, the #1-ranked player in the 2016 class on both sides of the border Thon Maker, is ‘seriously contemplating’ a switch of schools to Athlete Institute in Orangeville, Ontario.
Adding fuel to the fire Tuesday evening the 7-footer Maker posted on his personal Instagram a photograph of him and younger brother 2017 6’10’ Matur Maker arriving at the Athlete Institute Academy ahead of the upcoming 2014-15′ high school season.
Athlete Institute officials insist that the Maker brothers are only visiting and their decision is still yet to be determined. Sources south of the border however have confirmed both Makers are no longer enrolled at any school south of the border and that simply put ‘They are theirs to lose’ referring to a short list of schools including Athlete Institute Academy located in Orangeville, Ontario about 45 minutes north of Toronto.
From the farmlands of Sudan to the cities of Australia to the top of his high school class, there is now no better situation in North America for Thon Maker then Orangeville, Ontario, Canada – where he can be developed at the Athlete Institute Basketball Academy along side arguably 10+ division 1 prospects, and may I add, all who hail from Canada.
Maker arrived in America during 2012. He enrolled at the Carlisle School in Martinsville that fall. Two state championships, an abundance of accolades and a fall out with Carlisle head coach Jason Nibble later, our word, Thon Maker is close to coming to Canada in pursuit of an NBA career.
You name any basketball media pundit across America and they would all confess of drooling over this five-star prospect named Thon Maker in the past. So why would the young man often compared to ‘the next Kevin Durant” choose Athlete Institute north of the border?
The question shouldn’t beg why would he come to Canada, the real question is why not?
If ‘data is the new oil’ in todays age, then those same basketball media pundits don’t need a bigger drill for this one.
For obvious reason’s Maker and Athlete Institute are a fantastic fit. Forget what happen in Virginia, lets focus on what the future holds for Maker in Canada. Maker and Athlete Institute could do some serious damage travelling America. Let me paint the picture of potential if this indeed goes down.
Automatically Thon Maker alongside 2016 Jamal Murray would boast a dynamic duo so potent that even Findlay Prep would reconsider another visit to Toronto in 2015 if it includes playing AI Academy.
We don’t blame them.
2016 6’5 Murray, arguably the top player in the 2016 Canadian class is fresh off of averaging 16+ points per game at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championships. Jamal Murray attacks the basket, shoots, plays D, rebounds, passes the ball and runs the floor. Pretty much does everything and does it well, In Murray, Maker would have a partner in crime that works very hard on his game and matches his work ethic. You won’t find many such gifted players in Canada neither in the past nor in the future. Murray is well on his way to becoming a Canadian basketball household name allready at the age of 17.
Complimenting Maker & Murray is 2015 6’5 Jalen Poyser. If Poyser can bring with him his summer form into the school year never mind dynamic duo. Athlete Institute could boast the biggest trio in all of North America. During the 2014 Nike Global Challenge in front of a plethora of NBA club scouts a versatile Jalen Poyser was calm, cool and collected on route to averaging 20.5 points per game behind an array of offensive moves. His performance in Chicago that weekend solidified his status as a high major prospect.
The talent however in Orangeville stretches. A collection of depth assembled at Athlete Institute for 2014-15′ should have plenty of high major college coaches wiping the dust off their passports this winter.
FOUR YEAR HIGH MAJOR POTENTIAL
2015 6’5 Jelani Mofford: Proven winner at every level growing up including holding his own against U19 China as a 16 year-old. The more you watch Mofford you appreciate his all around skill set. With his athleticism, shooting mechanics and deep range, in a perfect system he will flourish in college. Unselfish to a fault offensively but what coaches will love about Jelani is his desire to defend and great rebounding production at 6’5.
2015 6’3 Josiah Riley: Aggressive, tenacious, gritty defender. Excellent help side defender too. Always deflecting passes and stealing possessions away from the opposition. Josiah can always be counted on to make an impact defensively. Offensively Riley will bring composure in hostile half court settings. He can comfortably handle the rock out of harms way utilizing pump fakes and slashing to the basket welcoming contact. His motor on both ends and engaged body language bodes well for a post secondary school career.
2015 6’7 Alonzo Walker – Small forward with length that coaches crave. More impressive is his ability to finish at the rim with puncturing put backs in addition to hammering down Spalding’s above the rim. He offers more then highlight reels he is very long and plays with a great attitude and offers all the tools to excel on both ends of the floor.
HIGH CEILING FRONTCOURT
2016 6’9 Kalif Young: 220lbs of strength to bang against stronger competition. Young’s length helps put a lid on the rim and bother boat loads of shot attempts from the opposition. A defensive presence and quite a rebounder. On international duty for Canada at the 2014 U17 FIBA World Championships Young averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes per game. Including an 11 point, 10 boards double-double versus Angola.
2015 6’9 Kyle Alexander: Younger brother to a WNBA athlete and former Syracuse Women’s basketball stand-out Kayla Alexander. His 7-foot-4 wingspan is NBA material let alone NCAA. Can be an excellent defensive player thanks to his length, athleticism with an improved motor and effort. Offensively his post game needs some polish and physically he needs to bulk up. That’s what Athlete Institute is there for.
2016 6’7 Dante St. Louis: Another chiseled strong body for the Bears down low. This young man has made remarkable improvements on the court with an improved back to the basket game and off the court trimming his body weight. Weighing 225lbs and after being the focal point of their frontcourt in 2013-14 where he showed significant strides in the weight room and development with added reinforcements in the mix for St. Louis it only bodes well for his already rapid progression.
2017 6’3 Jahvon Blair: Player nicknamed Juggy was the 2014 Jordan Brand International MVP. He won the honors by scoring 16 points, snatching five rebounds and handing out four assists in the International Game. Has a solid all-around game. Facilitates offense with poise under control. He’s crafty and quick. Also has range and a decent stroke.
2017 6’5 Keshaun Saunders: Youngest player on the team arrives very well coached. Saunders shows flashes often of being in the conversation to become another one of those ‘special’ CIA Bounce guards with his supreme ball handles and court vision. Despite being at the bottom of the seniority list, when given the opportunity don’t bet against the versatile shooting guard with handles like a point guard and athleticism like a wing to make an impact this season.
2017 6’10 Matur Maker: Lost in his big brothers shadow is the fact Athlete Institute has a shot at landing Matur, they can also add a player of size that doesn’t just grow on trees. We will let his game to the talking on this one. Featured below is his most recent mixtabe online. With his older brother a household name you can bet on Matur’s sense of urgency to follow in that direction too.
On paper the prep school from Orangeville, Ontario will now become arguably the top high school team in all of North America. Unheard of for a prep program north of the border.
An unprecedented collection of talent on paper comes with immense pressure to any head coach at the helm. Athlete Institute Bears are led by second year head coach Larry Blunt.
30 year old Blunt, born and raised in Virginia is a former NCAA assistant (D3 Eastern Mennonite, VA for 2 years and D2 Shaw University, NC 1 year). Blunt also head coached the Oshawa Power of the NBL Canada in 2012-13 and is an assistant within the Canadian AAU program CIA Bounce. As a former student athlete playing D1 football at James Madison University as a quarterback, Blount was named to the honor roll list with a grade point average of 3.00-3.49.
Off the court there is no better person to mentor this special group in Orangeville, Ontario then Larry Blunt. If I had a daughter never mind aspiring basketball player son, I`d want her to marry the man they call Coach Blunt.
From it’s facilities (A Training Centre and Fieldhouse), to their ingredients both on and off the court, is there a more fantastic fit for the Makers?
In a move throughout the national high school basketball scene that will merit attention world wide like Lebron returning to Ohio, all we can say is get your popcorn ready folks.
Call it a match made in heaven.
Thon & Matur Maker are in Canada, and they should be here a while.
Like Thon Maker captioned his photo Tuesday night using the words of Drake “0 to 100 Real Quick!” With high profile talent it also brings high expectations. All eyes will be on on Athlete Institute in 2014-15.
On behalf of basketball fan’s across Canada,
“Bring it on!”