NBA rules Thon Maker eligible for 2016 NBA draft

The NBA ruled on Thursday that Australian forward Thon Maker will be eligible for the 2016 NBA draft, sources said.

Maker declared for the draft several weeks ago but was awaiting a ruling by the NBA on his eligibility.

NBA rules state that a player must be 19 years old and one year removed from high school to be eligible. Maker turned 19 in February, and the NBA ruled that he did graduate with his high school class last year, making him eligible for this year's draft.

A source close to Maker told ESPN he will hire an agent, ending his college eligibility.

NBA scouts are divided on his draft stock. Some scouts have him ranked as a late lottery pick, others as low as the second round. He ranks No. 20 on ESPN's Big Board.

Maker has intriguing physical tools for the NBA. (He's 7-foot-1 with a 9-foot-3 standing reach.) He plays with a terrific motor and has emerging perimeter skills. However, his lack of strength and overall feel for the game make him a major work in progress.

Maker will begin prepping for the NBA draft combine in mid-May. He is working out with renowned trainer Drew Hanlen in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Hanlen has trained Andrew Wiggins, Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine, among others, before the draft. Maker will do his strength training at P3 in Santa Barbara, California.