We could see Makur Maker in the NBL as a Next Star, but it all depends on whether LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton's success over this coming NBL season and the NBA draft.
According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Maker is still weighing his options on the road ahead, be it going pro or committing to college.
“I definitely want to see what RJ [Hampton] and LaMelo [Ball] do after this year and see how they play against these professionals,” Maker shared. “It’s definitely appealing playing against grown men, although you’re playing against grown men in college too. Competition is going to be there no matter what."
As mentioned by both Brad Winter and Oliver Kay in earlier pieces, the NBL's latest Next Stars --especially Hampton and Ball-- could have a lot riding on their shoulders.
The potential of the Next Stars program could decide the quality of future Next Star commitments, and even where the program is headed, as it positions itself as a competitor against the NBA's G League and European clubs. For top NBA prospects like Makur Maker, the option of playing in Australia might seem a lot more palatable, once Ball and Hampton prove the experiment a success, from an earnings and draft stock perspective.
For the NBL clubs, a big question lies over whether their Next Stars would be able to make an immediate impact.
Hampton, Ball, Louzada, and Armstrong aren’t just publicity stunts designed to draw eyeballs to TV screens either – each of them fill real needs on their respective teams. Asking for difference-making performances from teenagers isn’t usually a recipe for success in basketball, but for the Breakers, Hawks, Phoenix, and Kings to reach their potential, their Next Stars have to be Now Stars.
“The thing about college is you play on national TV every night so you’re getting that exposure from the country and basically the world. That’s very appealing to me.”
The Sudanese-Australian also mentioned college recruitment is ongoing, with Kentucky, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington State still involved.
Maker's guardian, Ed Smith spoke about the upsides of college, particularly on relevance and how it helped Zion Williamson.
Makur Maker, who is the cousin of Detroit Piston big man Thon Maker, is currently in the class of 2020. The 6'11 big man left Orange Lutheran earlier in July, and joined the Center of International Basketball Academy (CIBA), operated in partnership with Irvine's Pacific Academy.
Read the full story from 247Sports: Makur Maker to decide between going pro or enrolling in college