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Thon Maker’s 6-foot-11 cousin enters NBA Draft

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Kenyan-born Australian teen Makur Maker, a cousin of NBA player Thon Maker, and Cameroonian forward Paul Eboua, who played in Italy, are entering the 2020 NBA Draft, ESPN reported.

Nigerian power forward Precious Achiuwa also announced Friday he is entering the Draft, where analysts expect he could be a top 15 selection after a superb US college campaign.

The 3 standouts hope to be chosen in the NBA Draft that is set for June 25 in New York, but it could be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the league since March 12.

Maker, a 6-foot-11 center who most recently played at an Arizona prep school, was born to South Sudanese parents in Kenya but moved to Perth at the age of one in 2001 then relocated to the United States in 2015.

Maker, 19, is a mobile big man with ball-handling skills who impressed scouts last summer with a Southern California amateur club.

Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker and Matur Maker, who plays on a Houston Rockets developmental team, are his cousins.

Energy, athleticism

Eboua, 20, told ESPN he has submitted paperwork to the NBA to ensure his draft eligibility. He was seen by Italian scouts while playing in college at Douala and moved to Rome in 2015.

This past season, Eboua scored 7.4 points and grabbed 5.3 rebounds a game with VL Pesaro of the Italian league.

“This last year in Pesaro was a great experience for me,” Eboua told ESPN. “They provided a wonderful atmosphere to get better in and I definitely tried to take advantage of that as much as possible.

“I believe NBA teams saw the energy, athleticism, competitiveness I bring every moment I am on the floor and that I’m definitely not afraid of a little contact.”

Eboua says he has been working out in Italy but hopes to relocate to Southern California when possible and continue his training there.

Precious prospect

Achiuwa, a 20-year-old freshman at the University of Memphis, averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocked shots and 1.1 steals a game this past season, the nation’s only college newcomer to average a double-double.

“I’ve always dreamt of playing in the NBA since I picked up the game,” Achiuwa said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The Tigers, coached by former NBA star Penny Hardaway, went 21-10 in a season halted before the national championship tournament by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to thank coach Penny Hardaway and the entire coaching staff for pushing me every day to become better and helping me understand what it will take to become a successful professional,” Achiuwa said.

Achiuwa, the only player to start every game for Memphis this season, was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, the first man since 1982 to sweep both awards.

Achiuwa, who stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 225 pounds, was born in Nigeria and played football for much of his youth until turning to basketball as a teen when his family moved to New York.

“Looking back at my journey and how far I’ve come, I must say it has been a blessing and a very humbling experience,” Achiuwa said.

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