Thon Maker wins 2015 NBPA Top 100 Camp MVP, will reclassify to 2016
Sudanese-Australian centre Thon Maker, who recently announced that he'll remain with the graduating Class of 2016, has been named the Most Valuable Player of this year's NBPA Top 100 Camp.
Thon Maker | Photo credit: Ken Waz/USA Basketball
The 7'1 centre posted 21 points and 10 rebounds in his Houston Rockets squad's 78-75 loss in the championship game as the 22nd annual National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp concluded on Saturday.
I played my butt off the whole way through for my whole team. (We) just came up short in the championship game. I'm proud of those guys because we've all taken a backseat somewhere. I was just trying to keep everyone happy, the whole team happy.
Playing in his third NBPA Top 100 Camp, Maker averaged 15.8 ppg and 7.9 rpg over the weekend, showing an impressive motor and an increase in strength.
Maker becomes the second Australian to be named MVP of the NBPA Top 100 Camp, with Ben Simmons receiving the accolade during last year's event.
Thon Maker wasn't the only Australian who attended the camp. Matur Maker, Gorjok Gak and Max Cody were also a part of the camp, with Maker and Gak showing huge strides in their development.
At the end of Day 1 of the camp, reporters gathered around Maker for an announcement. After making an attempt to reclassify to the Class of 2015 earlier this year, Maker announced that he will now graduate with the rest of the Class of 2016 - looking to enrol in college at the start of the 2016/17 season.
Thon Maker | Photo credit: adidas
I’m definitely going to stay and play [the year] out, I’ll take my visits and play a year with my brother. I’m definitely going to stay in [the Class of] 2016. I tried to go into the 2015 class, it just didn’t work out.
A big factor in Maker's decision was to play one more year of high school basketball with his brother, Matur. Both attended Orangeville Prep (Canada) this past season, with their squad - a team featuring heralded guard Jamal Murray - under performing, particularly against US competition.
Maker's guardian, Ed Smith, spoke about how this decision has affected Thon, particularly on the court.
It's helped him tremendously. Going into the Hoop Summit [in April], he was staying up until two, three o'clock in the morning. He wasn't playing well. Once he knew [moving back to 2016] was a possibility, he got back into a rhythm. He's feeling good. He's playing really, really well right now.
Earlier this week, the expectation was that Maker would attempt to enrol in college this December, with Indiana and Arizona State as the two front-runners to land the big-man. Despite this change of plans, those two programs have remained aggressive with their recruitment, and, with Maker yet to use any of his official visits, Ed Smith has already made plans to help him get closer to making a decision.
We'll take visits in the fall and see how everything plays out.