The 2016 NBA Draft class got a surprise addition on Sunday evening when top high school recruit Thon Maker announced his intentions to forgo college via Bleacher Report.
Maker, a 7-foot center with small forward like ball skills, was a five star recruit with offers from schools like Kansas, Kentucky and Indiana. The 19-year-old has quite the unique situation. According to Draft Express, Maker's camp says he graduated from high school in June 2015, and NBA rules state that draft eligible players must be 19-years-old and at least one NBA season has been completed since their high school graduation. Under those rules, the Sudan native should be allowed to delcare.
Maker spent the 2015-16 season at the Athlete Institute in Ontario, Canada, so the league will have to decide if that counts as another year of high school. Most experts seem to think that the NBA will have no choice but to rule him eligible, however. Draft Express now ranks Maker as the 44th best prospect in their top 100. There's a chance a team could use a late first-round pick on him, but he certainly needs the time to figure out what position he's best suited at, as well as hone his very raw skills. The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski believes he'll likely spend a couple years in the D-League after being drafted, which would be a good place for him to come into his own. His game certainly has a lot of question marks, but he at least adds some intrigue to a class that has definitely lacked in that department.
Marquette power forward Henry Ellenson has also declared for the 2016 draft and will sign with an agent, forgoing the rest of his college eligibility. In his one season at Marquette, Ellenson averaged 17.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He shot just 28.8% from beyond the arc, but he has the skill set to eventually be molded into a stretch four. Draft Express has him ranked as their ninth best prospect.