Bobby Hurley's effect on ASU basketball in his first few months as head coach can be seen everywhere. The Sun Devils released their non-conference schedule yesterday and instead of a November and December filled with cupcakes, fans see names like Kentucky, Creighton, UNLV and Texas A&M.
Recruiting was a major question mark for Hurley when he got the job in Tempe. People questioned whether a coach who played and coached on the east coast could recruit out west. So far, Hurley has added players previously committed to him at Buffalo. However, one name looms large for ASU in its 2015 class.
For those of you not familiar with Maker, a few months ago he was considered a top-5 player in the 2016 class, maybe even the best player in the nation. He is a one-and-done type player who most believed would eventually sign with a Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina type of school.
A few months ago, chatter began that Maker was attempting to reclassify to the 2015 class, most likely in an effort to make it to the NBA sooner. Last month, Maker cut his list to four schools: Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana and Arizona State.
The reason why Maker is considering ASU is the relationship he and his guardian have with new ASU assistant coach Brian Merritt. Before being hired by Hurley, Merritt was a national recruiting coordinator with John Lucas Basketball Camps, an organization that runs youth camps and puts on tournaments around the nation.
Friday morning, ESPN's Jeff Borzello tweeted out that ASU and Indiana are having the most conversations with Maker and his guardian.
Thon Maker's guardian tells ESPN that they're in most contact with Indiana and Arizona State. Won't enroll in college until at least Dec.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) May 22, 2015
The crystal ball predictions at 247 sports actually have ASU as the frontrunner to land the 5-star forward. Maker stands 7-foot-0 tall and was born in South Sudan, moved to Australia and played high school basketball in Virginia. He most recently attended the Canadian Athlete Institute.
Because he wouldn't enroll until December, Maker would miss most of the non-conference slate, much like Savon Goodman did this past season. However, if the Sun Devils are able to land Maker it gives them the talent to seriously contend for the NCAA Tournament birth.