Despite recent rumours about Canada's attempts to recruit Thon Maker for their national team, the prospective NBA draftee has made it clear where his allegiance lies.
According to Olgun Uluc from Fox Sports Australia, Maker was unwavering in his commitment to the green and gold.
“I’ve always wanted to play for Australia, no matter what."
“It’s no joke," Maker said. "I don’t know what the theory is by everybody else — they always think that I might play for somebody else — but, my family is Australian, coach’s family is Australian, so I don’t see who else I’m supposed to be playing for.”
Maker also confirmed that Basketball Canada has not reached out to him so far, and that any potential communication would not change his thoughts on the matter. He did however, point out that the best players should be playing, and that his eligibility should come after his prospective professional career (in the NBA) has begun.
“For me, let’s say, after I put in some time in the (NBA), then I’ll be ready to come in and play straight away. I won’t be having to come in and sit," Maker suggested. "If I were to go right now, then I’d have to sit behind a whole bunch of guys, because there are other guys who from Australia who’d be put ahead of me.”
It was also mentioned in the piece that Andrej Lemanis, current Boomers head coach had not had contact with Maker since 2014.
It's reassuring to know about Maker's firm desire to represent Australia for the long term.
With regards to the Lemanis reveal, it's always easier to put the onus of maintaining relationships on the other party. However, relationships are often two-way streets. Given the availability of channels (email, call, text, social media) that could be utilised in today's internet age, the lack of communication is worrying.
Could this be something that could be easily rectified? If it's not in place already, should Basketball Australia be taking a more active approach in outlining its policies on relationship management with athletes, and ensure said athletes know where and who they could reach out to, at need?
Similar to commercial relationships between a clients and account managers, should there be a timetable (ie monthly, quarterly) where athletes can be engaged on a regular basis with BA, just to ensure any concerns or questions are being handled actively? Food for thought.