In news that should come as a shock to no one, 2020 five-star center Makur Maker is officially declaring for the NBA Draft.
Maker, a 6-foot-11, 235-pound prospect, will bypass the college ranks and go straight to the NBA, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Makur Maker — a 6-foot-11 Kenyan-born Australian living in the United States — is entering the 2020 NBA draft, sources told ESPN on Saturday,” Wojnarowski said.
Maker was declared eligible for the NBA Draft after the league determined he was just two credits short of graduating with his original 2019 high school class in California.
Back in February, Evan Daniels of 247Sports broke the news that Maker had been informed that he was eligible for the upcoming NBA Draft, a route he was expected to take.
“Maker’s guardian Ed Smith has said throughout the process that Maker would strongly considering the Draft if deemed eligible by the NBA,” Daniels wrote at the time. “The question about his eligibility stemmed from not receiving his diploma following his senior year of high school.”
“We are excited about the opportunity, I think that he’s deserving,” Smith told Daniels when informed of Maker’s eligibility. “I think physically where he is, he’s ahead of Thon [Maker, Makur’s cousin]. The knowledge he’s gained from Thon and Matur and his understanding of the NBA game, the concepts, he’s way head of them.”
During Maker’s recruiting process, the five-star center told KSR that he was a big fan of the Kentucky program and was extremely interested taking a visit to Lexington.
“Coach Calipari is a good guy,” Maker said. “[When he visited my home last April] he sat down with me and my guardian, spoke about some things, how they see me at Kentucky and how I fit. Just talking to me, personally. He was giving me tips. What it takes there to be on the floor, and what he would expect from me. He’s a good person.”
Kentucky hadn’t offered at the time – nor have they in the months since – but Maker said he was very interested in following in the footsteps of some of the top players to come through Lexington during the Calipari Era if the opportunity presented itself.
“They have a lot of great players that come through there. You know, [Karl-Anthony Towns], Boogie Cousins, from top to bottom,” he said. “Coach Calipari really takes care of his players, demands a lot, but in return, you have to go out there and get what you want out of it.”
After the summer, contact from Calipari and the UK staff remained loose, as questions of the five-star center’s basketball future remained up in the air. Maker was ruled ineligible at Orange Lutheran (CA) last June before transferring to Pacific Academy (CA), and then again to Hillcrest Academy (AZ) this winter. With Maker’s heavy interest in going the professional route – overseas was a strong option before he was deemed eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft – Kentucky never ramped up their interest.
Oregon, Howard, Alabama, and USC were the only schools to officially extend offers to the five-star center.