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Thon Maker eligible for NBA Draft; Wenyen Gabriel says it won't affect him


Thon Maker may have just opened Pandora's Box.

To this point, almost any high school prospect looking to get to the NBA as quickly as possible opted to go to college for at least one year before pursuing their professional dreams. While there have been high school players occasionally go to a preparatory school for a year or two, we've rarely seen a possible NBA prospect end up in prep school.

Well, Thon Maker not only took that route last year, but he's now making an unprecedented jump from prep school to the pros. It was announced Thursday that Maker has been cleared to enter the 2016 NBA Draft, meaning he'll go pro without having played a single minute of college basketball.

The NBA ruled that Maker is one year removed from his high school graduation after he graduated last summer and then went to prep school in Canada. Being one year out of high school is the only requirement to be eligible for the draft, and this could open the door for players to skip college and go to a prep school for a year before going pro.

One player who could make a similar jump is UK signee Wenyen Gabriel, who attends Wilbraham And Monson Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts.

So does Maker's move open the door for Gabriel to do the same? It doesn't look like he'll pursue that even if he could based on what Gabriel told's T.J. Walker:

So that's good news with Gabriel, but this decision with Maker still makes any situation with a prospect being one year removed from his high school graduation an interesting situation to watch when it inevitably comes up again.

It also could pave the way for more high schoolers to skip college if they think their draft stock is high enough and just play against prep-level players for a year before going pro.