Thursday, May 5, 2016

Transfer Thornton continues KU visit today

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)


Former Duke point guard Derryck Thornton, who could help fill a need in Kansas University’s backcourt during the 2017-18 season and perhaps beyond, today begins the second day of his official recruiting trip to Kansas University.

The 6-foot-2 Thornton, who visited USC last weekend, also has scheduled visits to Washington (Sunday) and Miami (May 15).

Thornton, who averaged 7.1 points, 2.6 assists and 26.0 minutes a game in Duke’s 36 games this past season, can practice next season at his transfer destination but not play in games in accordance with NCAA rules.

The timing of that would appear to be ideal at KU, 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, perimeter player Josh Jackson arrives for summer school as a projected one-and-done player.

Podcast episode


Just how likely is the Derryck Thornton to Kansas scenario?

Spodcasters Matt Tait and Benton Smith examine just how likely the Derryck Thornton to Kansas scenario truly is.

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What kind of player is Thornton? Al Featherston of recently wrote an opinion piece on the Chatsworth, Calif., native’s transfer situation. Here is an excerpt ...

“Thornton’s biggest flaw as a freshman was that he had not yet developed as a playmaker. His judgment was somewhat suspect. That was the issue that defined his freshman season — Thornton looking for his shot, while Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) and the staff urged him to be more of a quarterback. Indeed, I don’t know for sure, but I believe that conflict was behind the reported January crisis that led to Thornton’s decision to transfer,” Featherston wrote of’s No. 14 rated player in the recruiting Class of 2015.

“I hate the decision for Duke and the kid. Look, if Thornton returned, he’d have to fight for playing time next season. The Devils will be loaded on the perimeter with the return of (Grayson) Allen, Matt Jones and Luke Kennard and the addition of Jason Tatum and Frank Jackson.

“That’s not to say that Thornton could not elevate his game in the offseason to the point where he would have to play major minutes. As the only natural point guard on the roster and as a potentially outstanding on-the-ball defender, it’s not farfetched to suggest that even with all the wing talent on hand, Thornton could have turned himself into a 25-30 minute a game player. Still, that was not likely. The most likely scenario was that Thornton would get 10-15 minutes while he worked to get more mature physically and develop his playmaking abilities.

“That would put him in spectacular position going into the 2017-18 season. Jones would definitely be gone … Allen and Tatum would likely be gone … it’s even possible that one or both of Kennard and Jackson would be gone. If Thornton developed as most Duke players who stick around develop, he would be in position for a monster season in 2017-18.

“True, he would have had to be patient through next year, but by transferring he’s got to sit out next season anyway. Is he going to be better off as a practice player at UNLV or Cal or wherever he ends up … or as a contributor – even a minor contributor – on a Duke team that should be a strong contender for the 2017 NCAA title?

“Believe me, the Blue Devils will be fine without Derryck Thornton. And, I suspect Thornton will have success at his new school, wherever that turns out to be. But I will always regret what might-have-been if Thornton had elected to gut it out and stay at Duke,” Featherston concluded.

Jamison fundraiser set: A celebrity Hoops for Hope basketball game to raise funds for former KU forward Alonzo Jamison, who faces huge medical bills in his fight against End Stage Renal Disease, will be 6-10 p.m., June 4, at Avila University.

There will be a silent and live auction and autograph signings to raise money, along with the game. According to the Hoops for Hope Facebook page, the athletes attending/participating “include an NFL Hall-of-Famer, Super Bowl Champions, Pro-Bowlers, Chiefs Hall-of-Famers, former NBA, Royals, KU, and KSU stars, and many more!”

Hoops for Hope was started over 10 years ago to benefit student-athletes who displayed character in sports. A diabetic, Jamison has total kidney failure and is in need of a transplant. Currently, he undergoes 10 hours of dialysis a day which costs about $10,000 a week. He is looking for a kidney donor.

Avila University, site of the game, is located at 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Mo., 64145. To read about Jamison’s need for a new kidney, go to


Yonatan Negash 6 years, 5 months ago

The more I think about it, the more Thornton on a Kansas uniform makes sense.

Just got get him to buy in at this point.

As for Alonzo Jamison my heart goes out to him, he's got a tough battle ahead.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 5 months ago

Nice shout-out for Alonzo Jamison. Not sure that without him we would have beaten Arkansas in the 1991 elite 8.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 5 months ago

Just an FYI, ESPN is reporting that the Houston Rockets are intrigued by Bill Self and Texas' Shaka Smart. However, they are currently focusing their head coaching search on proven NBA head coaches.

I doubt Bill Self would make the jump to coach the Rockets right now considering the obvious bad blood in that locker room this year, and also considering that he just landed Josh Jackson and KU has a shot at history next season. However, he has said that he wants to coach at the highest level and to coach the best players in the world. I believe that Self's offenses would work great with the current Rockets roster if he could get the guys to buy in and to play nice. Harden, Ariza, and Beverly around Howard and Montijunas or Josh Smith or whomever, they could easily play High/Low, and go inside out or outside in. The front office has been really big on the pace and space offense with 4 three point shooters around Howard, but Self's schemes could be a better fit for the personnel.

I obviously don't think that it will happen and I really really don't want it to happen. But it's fun to think about how he would utilize certain NBA rosters.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 5 months ago

If Self wants to make a move to the NBA, Houston is not the right place! Les Alexander is a jerk. The players are super selfish. After 3 years in Houston, Self would be out of a job.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

On what planet is Bill Self a fit fir the Rockets? Self is a defensive guy first, James Harden has never heard of that word in his life. Self also prefers slower tempo offense which is not what the Rockets are built for as is. Suzi is optimistic at 3 years for Self with the Rockets.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 5 months ago

I think Al's mainlining blue koolaid. They'll do okay for the most part early, but will flounder when their lack of PG gets exposed so much that they can't effectively get the ball to their strong perimeter and front court. Kind of a lot like 15-16, or the "Robert Morris" version of UK.

I'm guessing that K didn't handle things with nearly the subtlety of Coach Self. Coach can point to umpteen tweeners that he's turned into elite guards, and then Thornton gets to spend a year walking alongside the 2 latest examples.

One of the huge benefits that also gets missed is the benefit of Thornton pushing the 1's each day in practice. What a luxury to have a 5* practice team player.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't blame them for being 'intrigued' given Self's record but agree that this isn't the best fit. San Antonio might intrigue Self if they were interested. Gregg Popovich might like to go out on top if Spurs win it all.

Pure speculation.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 5 months ago

No love for the Thunder? Home state boy comes back in triumph. With Tyler being a senior, he's ours for next season for sure.After that, it may be year to year, especially if he gets NC #2.

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 4 months ago

It will be interesting to see if this young man comes to Kansas. I would be pleasantly surprised, but the point guard scenario makes sense.

Prayers from Alonzo and family.

I have always believed Self is intrigued by the NBA and will eventually make the jump. However, I cannot imagine he would leave now when the possibility of 13 and 14 strait, and history, loom ahead. And as long as Tyler is there and both are enjoying it, and I think that would be a barrier to making the jump now. If the timing was right and Pop retires, SA seems like the obvious choice. The culture Pop has developed (and the GM) there would make for a good transition to a coach like Bill Self and his style/philosophy of play. I can't imagine the cultural overhaul required by Houston would interest him at this point.

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