A Cary private school was almost home to the nation’s top high school basketball player who will be playing in a tournament in Raleigh this week.
Hopewell Academy, tucked away behind a barrier of bushes near the corner of High House Road and NW Cary Parkway, is a private school that serves grades 4-12.
It has a sports program but does not play in the NCISAA like nearby private schools, Cary Academy or Cary Christian.
It doesn’t have an on-campus gym suitable for contests. Home games are played in the facilities at nearby Bond Park.
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But Hopewell Academy almost hit high school sports’ big time this summer when Thon Maker – a 7-footer with offers from Duke, Kentucky and Kansas – was looking for a new place to live and go to school this summer. Thon has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett for his agility.
Instead, Thon – ranked No. 1 in the class of 2016 – and his 6-foot-9 brother Matur Maker – a top-30 player in the 2017 class – and their guardian, Edward Smith, moved them from Carlisle School in Martinsville, Virginia, to the Orangeville Prep in Ontario.
Orangeville Prep is playing in this week’s HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational at Broughton.
According to The Toronto Sun, Maker’s decision came down to down to Orangeville and Hopewell Academy.
How did the secluded Cary school land on the radar of the two standout players and their guardian, especially when the school’s profile is relatively low in the area?
Representatives at the school could not be reached for comment during the holiday week.
But over the summer, when the Maker decision drama heightened, calls to the school tell a different story.
Once word got out that the Makers might make Cary their home, the school appeared to be bombarded with newfound attention.
This message was posted on its website at the time: “Hopewell Academy confirms that basketball stars Thon and Matur Maker, along with Edward Smith and his family, have visited Hopewell Academy numerous times since the beginning of the summer.”
At the time, it read like a “please do not disturb” tag.
Now, it’s an Internet tree carving: “Thon Maker was almost here.”
As the Makers enter the Triangle this week, I can’t help but think what could have been.
At minimum, the hidden school would’ve been a lot more noticeable to those of us passing by.