Monday, April 18, 2016

KU coaches meet with Thornton

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell (45) guards Duke's Derryck Thornton (12) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell (45) guards Duke's Derryck Thornton (12) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Needing to reload on the perimeter for the 2017-18 season, Bill Self is recruiting one transfer who played for a basketball blueblood last season.

ESPN reports that Kansas University coach Self and assistant Jerrance Howard on Monday met with 6-foot-2 freshman point guard Derryck Thornton, who recently announced plans to leave Duke University after one season.

Originally from Chatsworth, Calif., Thornton — who played two years of high school ball at Findlay Prep in Nevada — averaged 7.1 points and 2.6 assists while logging 26 minutes a game in Duke’s 36 games. He hit 39 percent of his shots, including 32.5 percent of his threes and 69 percent of his free throws. He had 93 assists versus 59 turnovers with 27 steals.

USC has been listed as a possibility for Thornton, who in announcing plans to transfer, said he wanted to play closer to home.

He will be able to practice, but not play in games next season and have three years of eligibility left starting in 2017-18 when KU will have lost Frank Mason III to graduation, Josh Jackson to the NBA and possibly Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonté Graham to the pros as well.

KU hopes to land prep guards Trae Young and Michael Porter out of the high school ranks for the 17-18 campaign with other players on the radar as well.

Thornton, who was ranked No. 14 nationally by his junior year at Findlay Prep where he averaged 17.0 points and 6.2 assists, elected to reclassify last summer and play for Duke, which needed immediate point guard help. Because he had repeated the third grade, Thornton entered Duke at the age of 18.

He had a busy freshman season, arriving at school in mid-August after finishing his high school academic workload that allowed him to graduate.

He had 19 points in his first start, a win over VCU, and followed that with 14 in a win over Georgetown, impressing coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“Eighteen years old, his first two starts, are you kidding me?” Krzyzewski told Jason King of Bleacher Report at the time. “The kid isn’t afraid.”

His nickname in high school was “Houdini.”

“In high school and AAU ball, Thornton was known as a scoring guard, a guy who could take over a game with his ability to beat an opponent into the lane and either pull up from mid-range or slash into the paint for an easy basket. Sure, there were a few schemes to remember and the occasional scouting report, but for the most part, it was a simple game—and Thornton was good enough to play it the way he wanted,” Bleacher Report’s King wrote.

Watson lists KU: Devin Watson, a 6-1 sophomore guard from Oceanside, Calif., who has announced plans to leave University of San Francisco, tells ESPN he is looking at KU, California, UNLV, Fresno State and San Diego State.

Watson averaged a team-leading 20.3 points off 41.8 percent shooting. He hit 65 of 186 threes for 34.9 percent. He had 146 assists to 89 turnovers for Rex Walters’ (15-15) Dons. Watson, like Thornton, will have to sit out a year in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

Langford offered: Romeo Langford, a 6-4 sophomore from New Albany (Indiana) High, confirmed on his Twitter account that KU has offered him a scholarship. “Blessed to receive a scholarship (offer) to the University of Kansas,” Langford wrote.

He averaged 23.2 ppg in four games last weekend at an adidas tournament in Dallas. He hit 55.9 percent of his shots.

He’s also received offers from Indiana, Louisville, Purdue, UCLA and Vanderbilt, reports.

Holden visits South Carolina: Kory Holden, a 6-2 sophomore point guard who recently announced plans to leave Delaware University, visited South Carolina last weekend. He will visit Seton Hall today and Baylor at the end of the month. He also has KU on his list.

“I liked how close the players were, the coaching staff and how it was like a big community and family,” Holden told “Coach (Frank) Martin was what I thought he was. He’ll tell you the truth. He’ll tell you what he wants from you and lets you know he’s going to coach you.”

Holden, who averaged 18 points a game last year, will have to sit out next season with two years of eligibility remaining.


Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

An attacking combo is just what Coach Self seems to love, and would fit in nicely next to or rather between Trae Young and forward Michael Porter.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 7 months ago

Kansas certainly is closer to Chatsworth, CA than Duke is. So is Juneau, AK. And Cancun, Mexico.

Seems to me that USC or UCLA would make the most sense, unless his mommy actually doesn't want him that close to his old friends and all of his "uncles".

I'm sure that Coach Self will tell his parents that Kansas was close enough to Detroit for Apples Jones. Maybe Apples can talk to Thornton's family.

Jason Roberts 5 years, 7 months ago

Chatsworth is literally across the street from where I live. I can't see Thornton playing for USC or UCLA unless he doesn't want the pressure of perennial Final Four expectations.

Keith Gellar 5 years, 7 months ago

Is anyone else concerned we are taking Duke hand me downs? isn't there an unwritten rule about this?

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

Duke is going to flame for lack of point leadership next year. They've got lots of bigs, but only combo guard Frank Jackson to get the ball up court and into an O that can utilize all that front court depth. Even DT was a last minute desperation move by K last year, and they left early because of it. All is not right with the devil people, so I'm not concerned about a freshmen that saved himself.

Steve Macy 5 years, 7 months ago

Jarod Haas a California hand me down worked out pretty good. RCJH

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 7 months ago

No. I wish we had gone after Semi Ojeleye as well. Thornton would be be a great get to replace Mason.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 7 months ago

No, Keith, unless he has personality issues. Nevertheless, he will likely pick a west coast school anyway.

I see nothing that indicates that Duke wanted him to leave, and I would consider a transfer to KU to be a lateral move, not a "hand me down" situation as you say.

Don't worry about Duke. As much as I dislike them, I respect them. They will end up with the #1 or #2 rated recruiting class, and from what I have seen of Frank Jackson, if he is their point guard, he will do just fine.

KJ Quartermaine 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, seems fairly obvious Thornton wasn't happy about being "recruited-over" with the commit of Frank Jackson. Would absolutely love to have Thornton wearing Crimson and Blue

Chris Shaw 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes please! I was wondering why it took so long to go after this kid. It's perfect timing for this kid to red shirt next year for his transfer and be ready in 2018 with either a graham/Thornton duo or Young/Thornton duo.

Internet rumors were spilling over the last couple weeks. Good to see staff going after this kid. Timing is almost perfect IMO for this kid to wear the Crimson and Blue.

Steve Macy 5 years, 7 months ago

Maybe someone knows better what is meant by a player having an offer, when he does not graduate until 2019? I assume that the school, in this case KU, is saying we want you when you get old enough to sign, but that isn't binding, right? I only ask because Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is saying he has an offer from KU, I have seen him play, he is raw, but as athletic as his dad used to be, Lester Earl. That team has a lot of kids of former players, I think Coach Self is also interested in Bol Bol.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 7 months ago

Nothing is binding until the recruit signs and even then he can released by the school though that usually only happens if there is a head coaching change and the school grants the release.

Graham had signed at Appalachian State but coach Jason Capel would not allow Devonte Graham to play elsewhere so he played a year at a prep school before coming to KU.

Dennis Morrell 5 years, 7 months ago

A comment about Holden, the school is attending is the University of Delaware, never Delaware University.

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