Thon Maker no longer Notre Dame option

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

It was the longest of long-shots where everything had to fall into place for Notre Dame to have a serious shot of signing former prep standout Thon Maker.

Considered a top 10 prospect who likely would have spent only one year in college, the 7-foot-1 Maker announced plans Sunday to apply for entry into the 2016 NBA draft.

Playing professionally - either in the NBA, the Development League or overseas - always was thought to be Maker's first option after an additional prep school. College always was a distant second choice.

If Maker is denied entry into the June draft, his next step likely would be to play overseas for a year in preparation for the 2017 draft.

Maker was scheduled to make an official visit to Notre Dame later this month. He originally was scheduled to see campus the weekend of Feb. 5 – which coincided with the Irish home game against North Carolina – but had not yet taken his college entrance exam.

Compared to Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant, Maker also was considering signing with Arizona State, Kansas and UNLV before turning pro.

Having turned 19 years old in February after an additional year of prep school – basically, his freshman year of college – Maker believes he’s eligible for the June draft.

Maker spent his fifth year of high school at Athlete Institute in Mono, Ontario. It’s the same school that delivered to Notre Dame swingman Nikola Djogo, whom Irish coaches first saw last fall while recruiting Maker.

“We talk about Notre Dame every day,” Djogo said of Maker to the Tribune last fall when he committed.

The departure of former Irish guard Demetrius Jackson to the NBA last week leaves Notre Dame with a scholarship to offer either a current high school senior or college transfer.

The Irish remain involved with five-star high school senior Jarrett Allen (Austin, Texas) and also could sign a graduate transfer who would be immediately eligible to play his final season in 2016-17.

One-time potential Notre Dame prospect Thon Maker hopes to enter the 2016 NBA draft.