The NBA's eligibility rules are about to be tested by Thon Maker.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, Thon Maker has been cleared to enter the 2016 draft and has immediately hired an agent. This ends his eligibility to play college ball and starts what will probably end up being one of the more contentious draft picks of the year.
During the mid-1990s, a few players came along and shattered the NBA’s balanced relationship with college basketball. Specifically, Kevin Garnett and then Kobe Bryant, who both came directly out of high school and made their presence forcibly felt in the NBA. They weren’t the first to do it (Moses Malone did it in the 1970s), but those two sparked an entire generation of NBA prospects to give the middle finger to school and declare for the draft.
Some were more successful than others. For every LeBron James and Dwight Howard, there was a Kwame Brown and a Sebastian Telfair. So in 2006, a rule went into place that prevented players from declaring from the draft unless they were one year removed from high school and were at least 19 years of age. Since then, the rule has become a lynchpin in the argument that the NCAA unfairly profits off of players without paying them.
While the courts are still sussing out whether the NBA or NCAA has to change its rulebook, high school phenom Thon Maker (who has an extremely dope name) is set to make those rules irrelevant. Per Bleacher Report, the 7-foot tall guard/wing/forward will declare for the draft this year by using his post-graduate year in Canada as a placeholder for his year of college. He’s already 19 due to his roundabout journey to Canada, starting in Sudan and stopping in Australia before coming to the United States.
It will be interesting to see how the NBA handles this, as they’ll most likely have to take it to court if they want to block the talented youngster. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with some of his many impressive highlights.