Notebook: Elite rising sophomore Thon Maker establishes himself

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Being one of the few 2016 prospects at the recent NBPA and Pangos All-American camps, Thon Maker didn't have a problem getting adjusted to the level of competition or the toughness of his opponents.

His biggest issue? Going from state to state in such a short amount of time.

Thon Maker is No. 2 in the class of 2016. (Davide De Pas)
Thon Maker is No. 2 in the class of 2016. (Davide De Pas)

“I started off slow because of the traveling part,” Maker said. “I'm starting to get the hang of it now. Elite 100, Top 100, Pangos. I'm starting to really get used to right now.”

Maker, a 7-footer from Carlisle School (Va.), is the No. 2-ranked 2016 prospect in the country. He's long, athletic and has plenty of ability. Maker runs the floor very well and isn't afraid to shoot from the perimeter or go off the dribble. As he refines his game and improves his hands, Maker is going to be a major matchup problem.

He compared his potential game to Kevin Durant -- but Maker said that's not whom he's trying to emulate.

“That's not what I'm trying to do right now,” Maker said. “I'm trying to work my way inside first, get the aggressiveness part down.”

He didn't mention recruiting too much, but schools mentioned with him in the past include Maryland, Georgetown, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Miami , Virginia and others.

It's a long way away, but Maker is making sure he has a great relationship with the coaches at his destination.

“Mainly the coaching staff, how well they get along with the players, how they run their team,” Maker said. “Who they've produced to the pros.”

Kejuan Johnson moving to the perimeter

A few years ago, Kejuan Johnson was one of the best players in his class, using his strong body to simply overpower opponents. When he was younger, Johnson was bigger than most players at his position and was extremely tough to handle.

Now, as a rising high school junior, the 6-foot-6 Johnson is looking to move his game more to the perimeter.

“Everybody said that I was a big man, but now I have transition to a 3/2,” he said. “”Mainly it's just defense, being able to run up and down the floor. Shooting and working on my dribbling.”

Georgia Tech, Florida and St. John's are the three schools that he mentioned with recruiting, although he also visited USC.

Florida made a big push a year ago for the Wheeler (Ga.) product, and the allure of staying home at Georgia Tech is attractive.

“I would like to stay home but, knowing me, I want to get away,” Johnson said. “I want to experience something different.”

 
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