Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Duke transfer Derryck Thornton begins Kansas visit

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)


Derryck Thornton, a 6-foot-2 freshman who recently announced plans to leave Duke, begins his official visit to KU today after visiting USC last weekend.

He also has trips planned to Washington (Sunday) and Miami (May 15).

Thornton must sit out one season in accordance with NCAA rules and will be eligible to play the 2017-18 season at his new school.

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The timing of that would be ideal at KU, considering the Jayhawks need perimeter help in 2017-18 following the departure of Frank Mason III, who will have graduated, and possibly Devonté Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk, who could turn pro after their junior years. Also, Josh Jackson is expected to be a one-and-done player.

Even if Graham stayed a final season, minutes would not appear to be a problem for Thornton, who would join Graham and Lagerald Vick in the backcourt. KU wants to sign perimeter players Michael Porter (6-8 small forward) and Trae Young (6-1 Norman, Okla., combo guard), who this fall will begin their senior seasons of high school.

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 strong possibility for Thornton, who in announcing plans to transfer said he wanted to play closer to home. Thornton was ranked No. 14 nationally by his junior year at Las Vegas Findlay Prep, where he averaged 17.0 points and 6.2 assists. He 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.

Of USC, Thornton told “I love their style of play. Andy Enfield (coach) worked in the NBA, Jason Hart (assistant) played in the NBA at my position and Tony Bland (assistant) has been a friend of my family for a long time.”

Of Miami, he told Scout: “Coach (Jim) Larranaga and his staff are top notch. They’ve done great with transfer point guards, from Shane Larkin to Angel Rodriguez, so I’m comfortable with what they do. Also their style of play is amazing.”

Of Washington, he said: “Lorenzo Romar has been recruiting me since the 9th grade. He’s always given tremendous freedom to his guards and that’s why he has so many guards in the NBA. Also I love coach Romar and (assistant) Raphael Chillious as people.”

And of KU, he told Scout: “Kansas has a terrific tradition and Bill Self runs a great program. I have a great relationship with Kurtis Townsend. They win the Big 12 every year and I know they’re going to be in the national championship hunt.”


Jay Scott 5 years, 7 months ago

He'd be a great signing. A year of practicing with this team will get him hungry and tough.

Mick Allen 5 years, 7 months ago

Would certainly fill a need starting in the fall of '17. if we could pair him with Graham, then Rayford,one would think there would be few backcourts any more talented.

Mick Allen 5 years, 7 months ago

Young, not Rayford. Senility is a cruel thing.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 7 months ago

Signing Thornton would be the key to solidifying the backcourt after Mason graduates and hopefully breaking the UCLA record for consecutive conference titles if we can claim number 13 next season and going for #14 in 2018.

Scott MacWilliams 5 years, 7 months ago

Just a hunch here, but I think he's going to be a Jayhawk!

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