Bucks get 2 important pieces in Maker and Brogdon

Associated Press

June 25, 2016

           

Milwaukee Bucks first round pick Thon Maker, right, speaks as second round pick Malcolm Brogdon listens during their introductory news conference, Friday, June 24, 2016, at the Milwaukee Bucks' training facility, in St. Francis, Wis.

ST. FRANCIS The Milwaukee Bucks got two important pieces for the future in Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon, whose paths to the NBA were decidedly different.

The 7-foot-1 Maker spent two years at a prep school in Ontario, Canada, after his mentor and coach, Edward Smith, thought the hype surrounding him was becoming too much at his high school in Virginia.

Brogdon, 23, returned to the University of Virginia for a redshirt season rather than come out after his senior year and was named Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.

They were introduced at a news conference by Milwaukee on Friday, with Maker taking the No. 7 jersey and Brogdon wearing No. 13.

Smith told the Journal Sentinel he thought Maker, a native of South Sudan who later moved to Australia, might drop in the draft Thursday night and he also knew the 19-year-old had impressed Detroit and Atlanta in workouts. The Bucks took Maker with the 10th overall pick and Brogdon was 36th.

"I think I was surprised (to be picked so high by the Bucks)," Maker said. "Also, I just prayed that was it. I had a great feeling leaving this city after the workout."

Smith's relationship with Maker began in 2010 at a gym in Perth, Australia.

         

Milwaukee Bucks first round pick Thon Maker and second round pick Malcolm Brogdon hold up their Bucks jerseys during their introductory news conference, Friday, June 24, 2016, at Milwaukee Bucks training facility, in St. Francis, Wis.

"He shot left-handed, sort of, but it was kind of crooked," Smith recalled. "But the thing is he competed. He was going after every ball. He was 140-some pounds at the time. I was like, 'OK, you have the tools, right.' Then I spoke to him and spoke to his parents. They were steady. That's important."

Maker worked with Smith at his academy in Sydney before moving to the United States, but eventually the basketball journey led him to the Toronto area.

"We needed to get away from the hoopla," Smith said. "People are already hugging him. I said, 'OK, I don't want to go to Oak Hill. I don't want to be in the Mouth of Wilson.' But we can get away across the border. There are some people in this world you just don't want kids associated with."

Maker said it was the right move: "I just wanted to get better and better and better. We were looking for ... ways for me to keep my head."

Brogdon said agent David Falk spoke with him after his redshirt junior season and they agreed he would come back for the 2015-16 season at Virginia.

"I considered coming out and he told me it might not be a good choice for me," Brogdon said. "It worked out beautifully for me."

Brogdon said he thinks the Bucks are a great fit for him.

"He understands team," Bucks vice president of scouting Billy McKinney said. "He's going to bring energy and leadership to this team, but he understands the pecking order of not stepping on toes.

"It's really a shame in my mind that the seniors get penalized for staying for four years," he said. "They in so many cases are more ready to play now because of not only their on-court experiences but what they've had to endure away from the game."