Thornton Has Long List of Suitors

Derryck Thornton Jr.

2016 five-star Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. is being recruited by many elite programs, with UCLA recently jumping into the mix...

After a very successful summer on the national circuit, 6-foot-2, 165-pound Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep point guard Derryck Thornton, Jr. has seen his recruitment seriously expand.

The 2016 prospect has solidified his standing as one of the top point guards in the country, regardless of class, and coaches are taking notice.

In May, Derryck Thornton, Sr. told Scout.com that five schools were recruiting his son the hardest - Kentucky, Michigan, California, USC and UConn.

That list is now at six, with some changes.

"Kentucky, Michigan, Duke, Miami, California and Louisville are recruiting him the hardest," Thornton, Sr. said, adding that UCLA, Arizona, USC and Florida are also seriously pursuing his son.

The elder Thornton broke down what the family likes about the three new additions to the list of schools recruiting his son the hardest.

Duke: "It's a great school, you can get a great education there, there's a terrific basketball heritage and the culture of Duke basketball has been at a very high level ever since Coach K got there. When Duke likes you, you know you're playing the right way and playing well."

Miami: "Coach (Jim) Larranaga is a player's coach. I watched what he did with Shane Larkin and because he got to the Sweet 16, a lot of his interviews and locker room talks were televised. You got to see his personality, his character and how he communicated with his players. He and Chris (Caputo) have done a great job communicating with Derryck and I've loved it."

Louisville: "Wyking Jones has been the lead guy and I've known him for 20-plus years. He and coach (Rick) Pitino have done a stellar job communicating with Derryck what kind of players they want and how their guards do well at the next level. Louisville also has a terrific heritage in basketball with a long lineage of great players."

On Thursday, Thornton, Jr. received an offer from hometown UCLA after first hearing from the Bruins recently.

"David Grace called me a couple weeks ago to see what our interest was," said Thornton, Sr. "He wanted to see if Derryck was interested in coming back home and winning a national championship. Who wouldn't want to go home and win a championship? We started talking and then Steve Alford offered a scholarship.

"It's home. We moved from Los Angeles to Findlay Prep to be challenged everyday and to play against the best players in the country. UCLA has one of the most storied programs and has put a lot of players in the NBA.

"Steve Alford played for coach Bob Knight, who was one of the best coaches of all time, and he's an astute basketball mind himself. We're starting to build a relationship with those guys and it's going great so far."

In May, Arizona had Tyler Dorsey committed and wasn't recruiting Thornton as hard. Since the two parties have moved on, UA has upped its recruitment of the five-star prospect.

"They had committed a couple guards in the class ahead of him and I don't think they felt they needed a point guard in 2016," said Thornton, Sr. "I'm not positive, but in talking with Sean Miller and Joe Pasternack, they explained what was going on and said they do want a point guard that year and really want Derryck. They've picked it back up.

"We're cool with it. I've liked Sean from the beginning; I really like his character. Arizona initially was out front and I've seen what they've done with a lot of West Coast players in recent years, from Derrick Williams to Aaron Gordon, and Stanley Johnson is probably going to be one and done as well. There's definitely some beautiful things about Arizona as well."

The next step in Thornton's recruitment will be taking visits, and there are several on the agenda.

"We're definitely going to a Michigan football game, Kentucky Midnight Madness, we'll go to Duke, we'll visit UCLA because we've never been there even though we're from there and at some point we're going to get to Cal," Thornton, Sr. said.

"Derryck also wants to go to Miami as soon as possible (laughs). We're going to see all the schools; everyone who is in Derryck's Top 10, we're going to make sure we see them."

The family isn't waiting for visits to learn as much as possible about the schools involved in the recruitment.

"We're watching teams play now, talking to coaches and watching these teams online to see which offenses fit his style of play," said Thornton, Sr. "Of course you have to look at who he's going to be when he gets there. I've been very upfront with all the coaches about what we're looking for and asking them questions about their program."

At this point, there aren't any imminent plans for a decision but there is a timetable.

"I would say probably next summer, between now and then," Thornton, Sr. said. "If he really wants to do it and feels strongly about it, I'm going to back him. I wouldn't let him make a bad decision, but none of the schools recruiting him are bad decisions."

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