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Makur Maker to stay in 2020 class; Kentucky will be a major player for him

Could Makur be Calipari’s first top five recruit in five years?

Draft Express

The 2020 basketball recruiting class is likely to start falling into place later this summer, but there are some interesting pieces that are still considering reclassifying to 2019.

Based on a recent interview with the Herald-Leader, Makur Maker’s guardian says he will not be one of those players.

“So there’s no way he’s going to do it,” Ed Smith, Makur’s guardian, said. “We’re deep in the summer. He’s not going to get it done. He’s not reclassing.”

Smith says that there is more academic work to get done for Makur, and that he could use another year of high school to develop the critical skills to build a career in basketball.

Now that it is established that Makur will not be going to college in 2019, the focus has shifted to whether or not he will be playing college basketball. Makur’s cousins, Thon Maker and Matur Makur, were both trained by Ed Smith and ended up skipping college to play professionally. Matur ended up overseas and Thon found a loop-hole to get into the NBA right out of high school.

According to Smith, though, Makur’s situation is very different. Apparently, there were eligibility issues with both Thon and Matur that would have made playing in college difficult, if not impossible. Thon had eligibility issues based on benefits received during his time working with Smith, and Matur had academic issues that would have kept him from playing immediately, if ever, in college.

“I watched what happened with guys like Cheick Diallo and everything like that,” Smith said. “I was like, ‘I don’t want these guys having to sit and go through all this. And worry about if I’m going to play or not.’”

Smith seems confident that Makur is on track academically and that he has been more careful in tracking fees for camps and tournaments to avoid issues that he had with Thon’s eligibility.

He also believes Kentucky may be the right fit for Makur, as his work ethic is on par with the pitch that he has been receiving from John Calipari.

“It was awesome,” Smith said of the message Makur is getting from Kentucky’s staff. “It was, ‘You gotta come and take what you want.’ And that’s really the message: you’re not given anything. If you want it, you have to take it. But, also, in trying to take it, you have to care about all the other families that have dreams. You have to care about your teammates. You have to care about their success.”

If Makur can truly buy into what Kentucky is offering, he may be the perfect player to start off the 2020 recruiting class. He is the No. 2 player in the class according to 247Sports, and if he commits to Kentucky he will be the first top five recruit Calipari has landed since 2015.

Makur plans to visit Kentucky this summer, although he is just starting to assess his opportunities at the next level.

Check out some Makur highlights below and make sure to read Smith’s entire interview with the Herald-Leader here.