Source and text credit: www.reddit.com/r/nba
On draft night, fellow user /u/bigcritic produced a compelling photo of a yearbook which suggested Thon Maker was far older than 19. However, the snapshot was vague and couldn’t conclusively support these accusations. People remained unconvinced, arguing that all the students could’ve been listed alphabetically regardless of grade or were just members of a particular club.
When the Bucks drafted him with the 10th pick the debate about his age continued amongst our fanbase. Apologists were vehement that these were all just rumors from other teams trying to crash his draft stock. One of our users on realgm was able to locate a former student of his old high school who had the actual yearbook and he was kind enough to submit more conclusive photos showing Thon graduated in 2010.
BONUS video: for the skeptics who think it's photoshopped: https://vid.me/ncxK
-courtesy of our anonymous Aranmore college pupil
Rough timeline of his journey from Perth schoolboy to NBA lottery pick
Thon Maker is enrolled in Aranmore Catholic College, a high school in Perth. He was part of the 2010 graduating class.
During this time he was discovered by Edmund Smith, an extremely shady talent scout who worked mainly with Sudanese kids and had a reputation for being controlling. He saw Thon’s size, athleticism and potential but also knew it would never work with him being 18 already and still so raw and skinny.
In early 2011, Thon Maker resurfaced as a 14 year old prodigy in Sydney where he joined the local club, St George Saints, an U/16 Division 2 squad. He didn’t attend school at this time and just played basketball, away from anyone who had previously known him and was a way to build credibility around his age. I suspect his age was somehow changed in the transition from Perth to Sydney.
He had gone to camps in the US by this time and the highlight reels of the amazing “8th grader” had started to emerge.
Maker began 8th grade in the 2011-2012 season. Afterwards he was bounced around various schools, at least 3 in the US and a couple as well in Canada.
Edmund Smith’s plan had succeeded and this was the first of his projects to get him a cut of NBA salary.
After hearing John Hammond’s responses on the radio I suspect he knew or suspected Thon was older, he just didn’t care. He connected personally with Thon and was willing to invest in his strong intangibles and it was an age range he could work with. Only time will tell if he made the right move. Obviously, being a raw 21-23 year old is completely different from being raw at 19.
TLDR: Thon Maker graduated high school in 2010 in Australia and 6 years later was drafted fresh out of high school. We have a 2010 yearbook photo showing him in 12th grade and a 2007 photo showing him in 9th grade. Evidence pretty strong now to suggest he could be as old as 23.
Discussion is encouraged, happy for others to point out the flaws in this
edit: bonus anecdotal evidence found on the web, some from years back which support these claims
What do you think about Thon Maker's age? Is this story true or false?