Basketball notes. ...
Thon Maker, a 7-foot junior center from Carlisle School in Martinsville, Virginia — and his 6-foot-10 sophomore brother, Matur — made unofficial recruiting visits to Kansas University on Tuesday, then drove to Columbia, Missouri, for similar trips to Mizzou.
Thon, who is ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com but may reclassify to the Class of 2015, has received scholarship offers from KU, MU, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, Arizona, Georgetown, LSU, Ohio State and others.
Thon’s mentor, Ed Smith, told JayhawkSlant.com that Thon was impressed with KU’s plan to use the versatile Australian center on both the inside and outside. He also was reportedly impressed with strength coach Andrea Hudy’s weight program.
Thon Maker was recently named the top center prospect at the NBPA Top 100 camp, according to ESPN recruiting director Paul Biancardi.
“Maker is a true 7-footer with agility, extra-long length and excellent running speed while showing the understanding and determination to change ends of the floor,” Biancardi writes at ESPN.com. “Maker nails the face-up jumper all the way out to the arc, as he is a legitimate three-point threat as well as a driver from the perimeter, especially against slower opponents his size. He is improving at scoring inside but easily finishes dump-off passes. He’s a mindful shot blocker and rebounder who will give any team a unique combination of a center’s height and a small forward’s skill set.”
Maker plans on making an unofficial visit to Duke on June 30.
Measurements: KU freshman Cliff Alexander measured 6-foot-9 (in shoes), 254 pounds with a 7-foot-2 wingspan at the Nike Skills Academy in New Jersey, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. KU junior Perry Ellis measured 6-8, 222 pounds. His wingspan was not listed. In the past, Ellis’ wingspan has been listed at 6-10.
“Jarell Martin and Perry Ellis were really focused during the Bigs workout. Trying to get better,” tweeted former NBA coach John Lucas, who is a camp instructor.
Later, he wrote: “Alan Williams and Perry Ellis are working. Really helping their teams.”
“Bigs are working on playing and attacking from the elbows. Jordan Mickey & Cliff Alexander are young and explosive,” Lucas tweeted.
Top pick undetermined: Same as last year, nobody knows for sure which player the Cleveland Cavaliers will select No. 1 in the NBA Draft, set for Thursday in New York.
“They are torn. They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys,” ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford wrote Tuesday, referring to KU’s Andrew Wiggins and Duke’s Jabari Parker.
“They haven’t come to a decision yet,” another source told the ESPN writers.
ESPN says the Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz, who pick Nos. 3 through 5, have all offered their lottery picks plus a veteran to move up to No. 1. ESPN says the Cavs have interest in Orlando’s offer of Arron Afflalo, the No. 4 pick and the No. 12 pick.
Ford and Goodman report that there’s no way injured former KU center Joel Embiid will be selected No. 1 if Cleveland has the pick.
Those who believe Cleveland will pick Wiggins cite Parker’s poor workout with the Cavs on Friday. According to ESPN, Parker weighed 254 pounds with 11 percent body fat. One source told ESPN it appeared Parker was “tanking” the workout so Cleveland would not pick him. Meanwhile, Wiggins had a great workout for the Cavs.
“You can’t base everything on one one-on-none workout,” a source told ESPN. “But Wiggins was great and Jabari wasn’t. It makes an impact. It makes you go back and reassess everything you saw during the year.”
One, two dream exists: Of course there’s still a chance KU’s Embiid and Wiggins could be the top two picks in the draft.
“I definitely think I can go No. 1. But whoever goes No. 1 deserves it,” Wiggins told USA Today.
“We just say whoever goes No. 1, the other better go No. 2. We’re cool like that,” Embiid told the paper.
Tarik faring well: Sources say former KU center Tarik Black has a legitimate shot at being selected in the second round of the draft. The 6-8, 253-pound Black reportedly had a great workout in Indiana on Tuesday and has impressed several other teams. He’s worked out for Indy, Memphis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Houston, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Clippers and undisclosed others.
Bowie’s take: Former Kentucky center Sam Bowie, who was picked one slot ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft by Portland, had some advice for the injured Embiid in a piece he wrote for Lost Lettermen. Bowie, who suffered various injuries, has been called the worst draft pick of all time. Hakeem Olajuwon went first, Bowie second and Jordan third.
“Don’t let this ordeal prevent you from displaying the same zeal for life and the game of basketball that we were so lucky to see at Kansas. Folks will be quick to label you as a bust because they’re afraid of being sucked in by another big man with injury problems. They label you because it’s easier to be cynical than optimistic,” Bowie wrote.
“A lot of good can come from tuning all that out. I played long enough where I retired with enough money to train harness racing horses as a second career. Life is good with my wife and three kids by my side. Folks in my adopted hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, cherish the memory of my Wildcats career rather than my shortcomings as an NBA pro. (Along those lines, make sure you don’t lose touch with the Kansas community, even if you only spent a year there),” Bowie added.