Thon Maker

Last updated

Thon Maker
Thon Maker - Pistons vs. Pacers Oct 23 2019 (cropped).jpg
Maker with the Pistons in 2019
Free agent
Position Center / Power forward
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1997-02-25) 25 February 1997 (age 23)
Wau, South Sudan
NationalitySouth Sudanese / Australian [1]
Listed height7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight221 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school
NBA draft 2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Playing career2016–present
Career history
20162019 Milwaukee Bucks
20192020 Detroit Pistons
Career highlights and awards
  • Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year (2014)
Stats at
Stats at

Thon Marial Maker (born 25 February 1997) [2] is a South Sudanese Australian [3] professional basketball player who is currently a free agent, having most recently played for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He attended high school at Orangeville District Secondary School and played basketball for Canada's Athlete Institute. Coming out of high school, Maker was considered a five-star recruit by most basketball recruiting services. [4] [5] [6]


Early life

Maker was born in Wau, [2] a city located in what is now South Sudan. His uncle, a local administrator, arranged for Maker, his younger brother, Matur, and his aunt to escape the civil war to Uganda. From there, they were accepted as refugees by Australia; they then moved to Perth, Western Australia when Maker was five years of age [7] and the family eventually settled down. [8]

When he was 14, Maker was discovered playing soccer in the Perth suburb of Mirrabooka, by Edward Smith, an Australian of African-American heritage who helps children from migrant backgrounds receive opportunities they otherwise wouldn't get. [9] Smith had previously helped fellow Sudanese immigrants Ater Majok and Mathiang Muo, now both professional basketball players. Smith offered his aunt to feed, clothe and educate Maker in Sydney where Maker played basketball for the St. George Basketball Association during 2011. Just before the team's playoffs, Maker and Smith left to attend a talent camp in Texas. [8]

High school career

Maker in 2016 Thon Maker (cropped).jpg
Maker in 2016

Once in the United States, Maker attended two schools in Louisiana, including Metairie Park Country Day School, [10] before finally settling down at Carlisle School in Martinsville, Virginia. [8] During his freshman and sophomore years playing for Carlisle's varsity team, Maker averaged 22.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 4.5 blocks over a total of 53 games. [11] As a sophomore, he earned 2013–14 Gatorade Virginia Boys Basketball Player of the Year honours after leading Carlisle to a state championship. [12] [13]

On 5 September 2014, Maker and his brother enrolled at the Athlete Institute in Mono, Ontario where Edward Smith was already an assistant coach. In conjunction with the Athlete Institute, the brothers enrolled at Orangeville District Secondary School in the nearby town of Orangeville. [14] On 29 December 2014, Maker scored 16 points and 9 rebounds in a 79–75 win over Dennis Smith Jr. and Trinity Christian School. [15] On 30 December 2014, Maker scored 24 points and 11 rebounds as his team loss to Harry Giles and Wesleyan Christian Academy in the championship game of the High School OT Holiday Invitational tournament. [16]

On 18 February 2015, Maker announced his decision to reclassify into the 2015 class, which would have made 2014–15 his final year of high school. [17] [18] He later participated in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon. [19] [20] Playing alongside fellow Australian Ben Simmons in the April 11 game, Maker recorded 10 rebounds, two points and one block as the World Team defeated Team USA, 103–101. [21]

On 18 June 2015, Maker announced his decision to remain in the Class of 2016, and returned to Orangeville Prep for the 2015–16 season. Maker noted how stressful it was working toward entering the Class of 2015, with the issue centred on his workload and the pressure with "trying to get it all done at once". [22] He was being recruited by Arizona State, Florida State, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Notre Dame, St. John's, and UNLV. [23] On 21 June 2015, Maker was named MVP at the National Basketball Player's Association Top 100 camp. [24]

On 3 April 2016, Maker declared his intentions to enter the 2016 NBA draft, a decision that required a ruling from the NBA to determine his eligibility. [25] To skip a year of college, Maker had to convince the NBA he graduated from Orangeville Prep in 2015. He successfully did so, proving he graduated from high school in June 2015 [12] but stayed another year as a post-graduate student by his own choosing, fulfilling both the minimum age and one year removed requirements to the NBA's satisfaction. With a successful ruling, Maker became just the second player in more than a decade to make the leap from high school in North America straight to the draft [26] and the first to play in the NBA since the league introduced the "one-and-done" rule for high school students in 2005. [27] [28]

Professional career

NBA Draft

Maker attended the 2016 NBA Draft Combine, where he was measured as the third-tallest player without shoes at 6'11.75" [29] and recorded the highest no-step vertical jump (32") of any player over 6'11" in NBA Draft Combine history. [30] [31] In the days leading up to the draft, a number of teams ruled themselves out of selecting Maker in the first round over concerns that his age had been misrepresented, as some believed Maker to be between 21–23 years of age despite being officially listed as a 19-year-old. [32] Despite those concerns, he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, [33] [34] becoming the first high school player taken in the first round since the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement went into effect. [12]

Milwaukee Bucks (2016–2019)

During the 2016 NBA Summer League, Maker averaged 14.2 points and 9.6 rebounds [35] in five games for the Bucks and subsequently earned All-NBA Summer League Second Team honours. [36] On 30 July 2016, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Bucks. [37] Maker made his NBA debut on 30 October 2016, entering the game with 95 seconds remaining in the final term of the Bucks' 98–83 loss to the Detroit Pistons; [38] he recorded one rebound. [39] On 21 January 2017, he made his first start for the Bucks and subsequently had six points in 18 minutes in a 109–97 loss to the Miami Heat. [40] On 1 February 2017, he scored a season-high 12 points in a 104–88 loss to the Utah Jazz. [41] On 10 February 2017, in the Bucks' first game since Jabari Parker was ruled out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury, Maker started in Parker's place and recorded seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes in a 122–114 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. [42] The following day, he had a second 12-point effort in a 116–100 win over the Indiana Pacers. [41] On 31 March 2017, he scored a career-high 23 points in a 108–105 overtime win over the Detroit Pistons. [43]

On 22 November 2017, Maker scored a season-high 16 points against the Phoenix Suns. [44] On 1 January 2018, he tied his season high with 16 points against the Toronto Raptors. [44] In Game 3 of the Bucks' first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Maker scored 14 points and blocked five shots, as the Bucks cut the series deficit to 2–1 with a 116–92 win. [45] [46] He again blocked five shots in Game 4, helping the Bucks even the series at 2–2 with a 104–102 win. [47] The Bucks went on to lose the series in seven games. [48]

On 7 January 2019, Maker had a season-high 15 points off the bench in a 114–102 win over the Jazz. [49] By late January, having had a reduced role in 2018–19 under new coach Mike Budenholzer, Maker reportedly requested a trade from the Bucks. [50]

Detroit Pistons (2019–2020)

On 7 February 2019, Maker was acquired by the Detroit Pistons in a three-team trade involving the Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans. [51] [52] On 22 February, he sank a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds remaining to lift the Pistons to a 125–122 win over the Atlanta Hawks. [53] It was announced on November 20, 2020 that Pistons GM Troy Weaver opted to let Maker walk in free agency. [54]

National team career

In April 2015, Maker declared his intentions to play for the Australian national team despite heavy interest from Basketball Canada—the organization had considered Maker and his younger brother Matur as potential Canadian players. [55] On 29 June 2018, he made his international debut for Australia in a FIBA World Cup qualifier against Japan. [56] Maker was involved in the Philippines–Australia basketball brawl during the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian qualification. As a result, he was suspended for three games. [57]

Career statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage 3P%  3-point field goal percentage FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game APG  Assists per game SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high


Regular season

2016–17 Milwaukee 57349.9.459.378.6532.
2017–18 Milwaukee 741216.7.411.298.6993.
2018–19 Milwaukee 35011.7.440.333.5412.
2018–19 Detroit 29519.4.373.307.7663.
2019–20 Detroit 601412.9.482.344.6642.


2017 Milwaukee 6619.3.387.200.8183.
2018 Milwaukee 6221.7.393.300.7143.
2019 Detroit 4217.

Personal life

Maker is an Australian and South Sudanese citizen. [58]

Maker's parents, who descend from the Dinka people, still live in South Sudan [8] and are also both extremely tall; his father stands 2.032 m (6'8") and his mother stands 1.905 m (6'3"). [59] His brother, Matur, attempted to enter the 2018 NBA draft in a manner similar to Thon before deciding to play internationally instead. [60] Another brother, Maker Maker, plays soccer for South Melbourne FC's under-20 team. [61] He has another cousin, Makur, who is a basketball prospect for Howard University. [62] Another cousin, Aliir Aliir, plays in the Australian Football League for Port Adelaide. [63] In March 2018, Maker confirmed he supports the Swans due to his family connection, despite previously supporting the two West Australian teams. [64]

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  2. 1 2 "This Australian Passport Might Put The Great Thon Maker Age Conspiracy To Rest Once And For All". 30 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
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  57. "Bucks' Thon Maker suspended three FIBA games for role in ugly brawl between Australia and Philippines".
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  64. "Australian NBA star Thon Maker reveals which AFL team he supports". 29 March 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.