BENTON, Ky. – Five-star 7-foot power forward Thon Maker, arguably the top basketball player in the 2016 class, scored 14 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for Orangeville Prep of Canada Thursday night in a 66-48 loss to Sunrise Christian Academy of Kansas on the first night of the Marshall County Hoop Fest. University of Kentucky assistant coaches Kenny Payne and Barry Rohrssen attended the game at Marshall County High School. Oregon head coach Dana Altman and an assistant watched, too. Maker has been practicing and playing in Kentucky for Orangeville for a week, since participating in the Bluegrass Showcase in Lexington last Friday and Saturday. Maker, his brother Matur, a four-star sophomore, and their guardian took visits on Sunday to UK for the Cats’ game against Providence and Monday and Tuesday to Louisville, where he saw the Cardinals defeat Ohio State. Maker, whose team plays against Saturday night at the Hoop Fest, talked with reporters about his time in the state.
ON PLAYING IN KENTUCKY
This was our second showcase event, and it’s been good. This one they had more fans than the previous one. I guess the amount of top players they’ve brought in here has been good.
ON BASKETBALL FANS IN THIS STATE
They’ve been good. They’ve been cheering up and down. We put on a little show in the warmups, a lot of dunks. I think that got them up early.
ON IMPRESSIONS OF TRIP TO THE STATE
It’s had most to do with basketball because of my previous two visits to both Kentucky and Louisville. Those two were really the key points this past two weeks.
ON HOW THE VISITS WENT
They went really well, really well.
THOUGHTS ON ATTENDING THE KENTUCKY-PROVIDENCE GAME
That was a great game. It was a little rough, but (Kentucky) got it done defensively. I think Tyler Ulis did really well. That brought the whole energy up, and that got the rest of the guys up also.
THOUGHTS ON UK’S PROGRAM, THE PLATOON SYSTEM, JOHN CALIPARI, ETC.
It was a new for him to bring that (platoon system) in, but I guess he was kind of forced to with the amount of good players he had stay back in college (instead of turning pro). Nobody expected that to happen. But it’s interesting because he was able to switch it up and yet they’re still winning. It’s good for them.
THOUGHTS ON WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO PLAY ON A TEAM WITH MANY MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICANS AS OPPOSED TO ONE WITH JUST A COUPLE OR A FEW
With us, and by “us” I mean top players, we know how to adjust play for each other. You have to do whatever it takes to get a win. That’s what put the players up top, so that’s what we tend to do the best. It’s easy for players.
ON WHAT CALIPARI SAID TO MAKER
He asked me if he wants to recruit me. I definitely want him to recruit me, so I, ‘Yeah, definitely.’ So he’s on his work, and I’m on my work to getting better.
ON THE RECRUITING PROCESS AND TAKING VISITS
It’s enjoyable because I get to see it live, everything. You get to see the fan base you’ll be playing in front of from both stadiums, the arenas. It’s been really good.
ON WHEN HE WILL DECIDE IF HE WANTS TO STAY IN CLASS OF 2016 OR RECLASSIFY AND JOIN 2015 CLASS
Not really, but I’ll know that by the end of our first semester. It should be around then so I’ll know where I’ll stand in terms of academically.
Read the full Q&A at courier-journal.com