7 days and counting until Duke has their 2015 point guard Derryck Thornton in the fold and ready to take the keys from first round NBA Draft pick Tyus Jones. Big shoes to fill no doubt.
Once it was clear that there was a need, Duke began to pursue Thornton in the 2015 class, Thornton stated that, “They told me they could have went after fifth-year transfers but wanted me instead. I am excited about the opportunity and the challenge.”
If anyone is up for the challenge it’s Derryck Thornton.
Originally targeted in the 2016 class, Thornton saw an opportunity to get his career started earlier and took it. It was a win-win for Duke and Derryck, a chance for him to shine on a big stage, to begin his career a year early and the chance for Duke to add an important piece to the puzzle for the 2015 class. It’s no surprise that he was ready academically and physically after playing and attending Findlay Prep / Henderson International School. Students are subjected to almost a college like atmosphere in terms of housing, structure and self-reliance, also there is a straight-forward academic focus to get kids ready to achieve at the next level both educationally and academically.
What people seem to forget about Derryck is that despite the opportunities that come with playing point guard for the defending National Champs there are things that he has had to give up as well. Being a highly touted recruit and reclassifying when he did, Derryck will miss out on what a lot of other seniors get to experience in terms of being a McDonald’s All-American and being selected for the Jordan Brand Classic, Thornton was a shoo-in for both. Missing out on those opportunities as well as a final year of AAU basketball and spending his summer in class instead of on the court like his peers are just some of the sacrifices that Derryck Thornton has made – that level of dedication should be appreciated by Duke fans as I am sure it is appreciated by Coach K and staff. Now it’s time to work and work is a concept that Thornton knows a lot about, the consummate gym rat, not many are going to get there earlier or be there later than Derryck.
As a junior, Thornton averaged 17.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 48% from two-point range and 34% from beyond the arc, he also led his team to a 29-3 record. Thornton is a top-notch setup, pass-first point guard he can break down a defender off the bounce and create help he can also hit the mid-range jump shot. His speed and quickness can pressure opposing point guards on both ends of the floor. #goduke