Simmons, Maker high on latest college recruiting lists

Simmons, Maker high on latest college recruiting lists

Australian young guns Ben Simmons and Thon Maker look destined to be stars of Amercian college basketball, with both figuring prominently in the latest rankings released this week by ESPN Recruiting Nation.

Young centre Maker continues to be regarded as one of the most talented high school players in the USA, named as the number one college prospect for the class of 2016 earlier this week, while Simmons, who made his Australian Boomers senior debut last year, is regarded as the third best prospect for the class of 2015.

Standing at more than 213cm and still only 16 years of age, Maker is gaining plenty of interest for his performances for the Carlisle School in Virginia and his immense potential. Already Maker has received offers from powerhouse basketball universities UCLA, Arizona, Georgetown and Miami, with many more expected to show interest despite not being eligible for two and a half more school years.

Maker relocated to Australian from South Sudan as a five-year-old, spending his formative years in Australia before moving the USA for the opportunity to play high school basketball in Virginia.

ESPN’s director of basketball recruiting, Paul Biancardi reserved his praise for the teenager when ESPN released their top 25 prospects for the college recruiting class of 2016, highlighting the unique abilities the seven-footer has.

“He’s so unique and gifted as a seven-footer,” Biancardi told ESPN Recruiting Nation.

“He’s comfortable and confident playing out on the perimeter and inside the paint. Defensively, he’s like an eraser, he makes it hard for opponents to see the rim.

“He’s a shot-blocker, rebounder and is very mobile, and can run the floor extremely well.”

CLICK HERE to see what else Biancardi had to say about Maker.

Simmons, the son of legendary Melbourne Tigers import Dave Simmons, has already committed to Louisiana State University, but this hasn’t stopped him from drawing plenty of praise for his performances for Montverde Academy in Florida.

Standing at 206cm, the athletic left-hander has already caught the eye of Australian men’s national team program, first getting invited to the Boomers camp for the 2013 Sino-Australia Challenge against China.

This led to the 17-year-old being invited to then selected for his first senior Boomers team for the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championships against New Zealand.

Regarded as a prototype modern small forward/power forward, Simmons has drawn high praise from experts around the USA, with ESPN.com college recruiting expert Adam Finkelstein believing the Melbournian has untapped upside to his game.

“Simmons possesses the best long-term potential of the group and consequently should be able to stake his own claim (for the number one spot in the ESPN class of 2015 rankings) by turning potential into more consistent production,” Finkelstein said.

CLICK HERE to see ESPN’s interview with Ben Simmons on his LSU decision.