Wake Forest head basketball coach Danny Manning will be in Raleigh, North Carolina tonight to watch Thon Maker square off against Harry Giles in the championship game of the HSOT Invitational. Manning and assistant coach Randolph Childress also watched the two play in last night's semi-finals games. Childress is the father of 2016 Wake Forest commit Brandon Childress, who is a teammate and close friend of 2016 phenom Harry Giles. But that's not wthe entire story.
Two weeks ago, Danny Manning flew to Orangeville, Ontario to watch Thon Maker and his teammates at Athlete Institute practice. While he was there,he offered by Thon Maker and his brother, Matur. At the time I didn't think much of it , and just assumed it was Danny getting the Wake Forest name out in the recruiting circles and looking at Matur.
Thon Maker & Matur Maker pick up offers from Wake Forest.Thanks to Coach Danny Manning for coming to our practice tonight. @AI_OvillePrep— Larry Blunt (@CoachBlunt) December 17, 2014
Then today Jake (@BloggerSoDear) tells me about an article that Jack LeGwin wrote for Adam Zagoria's blog. In it, LeGwin discussed that Wake Forest jumped into the mix when Coach Manning visited. LeGwin considers Wake Forest to be a serious wild card in this recruitment because of Winston-Salem native and Wake Forest recruit Harry Giles. Kentucky, Kansas, Missoui and Indiana are also considered to be contenders for Maker.
Thon Maker's guardian, Ed Smith, told LeGwin what he likes about Kansas Coach Bill Self is his ability to develop big men. "If you are looking at coaching forwards and bigs, from the Morris twins who are hybrids to Joel Embiid, you can see that he understands how to coach those guys." Well it just so happens that Danny Manning happened to do most of that developing when he was Self's assistant coach at KU.
Ed Smith also told LeGwin, "Harry and Thon played really well together at the Elite 24 in New York. They are both great players, and they had a great feel for each other. They didn’t have an ego, and it was really fun to see. You want to play with really good players."
Thon is still undecided as to whether he will be in the 2015 or 2016 recruiting class. That decision should come by February. In either classification he'll be a consensus top-5 player and a highly probable one-and-done candidate. If he decides to classify in 2015, then Wake Forest is probably out due to lack of other elite players that will be on the roster and scholarship limitations. If he decides to be a member of the 2016 recruiting class, however, then Wake Forest can absolutely be a contender for Maker if they can first bring in Giles. That duo would be one of the scariest duos in college basketball, and would instantly make any team a national title contender. One would think other elite players like a Jayson Tatum would want to join that duo as well.
Time will tell if Wake Forest remains in the mix for Maker, but it's certainly a positive sign for Wake's program that an impartial media member is mentioning Wake Forest's name in the recruitment of such a special player.