Friday, April 21, 2017

Exclusive One on One with Thon Maker

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Just two years ago, I spoke with an 18-year-old Thon Maker for a feature story, as he was prepping for the Ball Is Life High School All-American game. He was later voted the MVP of that game, and lived up to the hype that preceded that day. Maker was the 10th player selected in the 2016 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.

I caught up with Maker to find out how his rookie season was going for him. This discussion took place on March 15 in Los Angeles, shortly after his Bucks defeated the Clippers 97-96. Maker got the start in that game but only played seven minutes, however he did make a key three pointer in the second half that swung momentum in his team’s favor.

On his NBA experience:
Right now, I’m in the flow because I’ve been playing a lot more, so it’s been good. I first started out developing and seeing how everything was going and now I’m in the action. So I just have to go out there and perform.

What he’s working on to finish his season strong:
I need to continue working on my body. I want to come back stronger for next season. There are a lot of games being played right now, so that will have to wait. On the defensive side of the floor, I need to work on being more vocal and finding ways to help us win.

On what his life has been like since joining the NBA compared to before:
It has been good… very, very satisfying. I’ve worked really hard for it and I will continue to work hard every single time. I feel like the results, so far, are where I wanted them to be. To jump from where I was to get to the league, I did whatever it took to get here and I’m going to do whatever it takes to stay here. That is always my mentality.

Adjustments made to his playing style:
Right now, I’m playing more of the five so I’m dedicating time to my footwork, the quickness to fight around other teams’ centers because they are much bigger, so for me that’s important. I’ve been able to learn how to talk loud and talk more often than I did.

Best experience of this season:
I would honestly say it’s the preparation for each game, each night… and just knowing that being in the NBA, the preparation part is pretty big and working at it is very exciting. We used to just watch the games back home but to, now, be a part of it and experience it is a wonderful feeling.

NBA city with best food:
We go to a lot of restaurants. Hmm (ponders response). Who has good food? Can’t remember the name of the restaurant but Detroit and New York. We go out as a team whenever we travel for road games.

Expectations for rest of season:
As a team, we want to continue playing the way we are playing right now and I don’t expect nothing less than this. So for us, we’re on a good pace for the playoffs and just have to focus on one game at a time.