For the first time in ten years, a high school basketball player will skip college and enter the NBA Draft.
Power forward Thon Maker, a Canadian prep star originally from the Sudan, has been ruled eligible by the NBA and is in the process of hiring an agent. Maker’s not the most talented player in the draft, but the athletic seven-footer may be the most notable for exposing an apparent loophole.
How is Thon Maker eligible for the NBA Draft?
Despite being referred to as the “one-and-done” rule, the NBA does not actually require student-athletes to go to college for one year. In fact, there are only two requirements to be eligible for the NBA Draft:
- A player must be 19 years old on draft night
- A player must be one year removed from his high school graduation
Maker is not exploiting a loophole because he fulfills both requirements: he turned 19 in February and he graduated from high school in 2015. Instead of enrolling in college this year, Maker decided to play one more year of prep basketball as a post-graduate.
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Will more players skip college and go pro?
The NBA’s rookie contract limits incentivize student-athletes to declare early in order get their second, more lucrative contract sooner. By foregoing college, Maker will be able to get his second contract a year earlier; however, there are no guarantees that he will get a second contract.
Most NBA Draft analysts believe that Maker is a second-round prospect who will likely start his career in the NBA D-League. The number of prospects who follow Maker’s lead will ultimately depend on how successful he is in the NBA.
If Maker can defy the experts and become a star in the NBA, then there’s a good chance that a lot more 19-year old postgraduate student-athletes will skip college.
As of right now, other top postgraduate prospects who could declare for the NBA Draft, like Rawle Alkins, Wenyen Gabriel and Jonathan Isaac, are not considering making the leap and all three are planning to play college basketball next season.
Learn more about academic eligibility in our extensive resource libraries and with our recruiting experts’ guidance. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.