After a two-month decision process, Point guard Derryck Thornton has decided to transfer to the University of Southern California, according to Scout.com.
Thornton originally was a five star recruit in the Class of 2016, before reclassifying to the Class of 2015 in April 2015. He was the #14 ranked recruit in the Class of 2015, as well as the #3 Point guard within the class.
Thornton played in all 36 of Duke’s games last year, starting in 20 of them. The only true Point guard on Duke’s roster last season, Thornton averaged 7.1 points, 2.6 assists, and 1.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game. His season was marked with inconsistency, as he had a below average offensive game, shooting 39% from the field and shooting 32.5% from three, as well as an assist to turnover ratio of only 1.625 to 1. However, he did show signs of excellence, as he showed an excellent defensive game and good court focus at times throughout the season. His best play of the year was on defense, at North Carolina on 2/17/16. With five seconds remaining, Thornton blocked Joel Berry’s jumper in the lane, allowing Duke to preserve a stunning 74-73 victory over the eventual national runners-up. However, as the season progressed, Thornton saw his role diminish, as his inconsistency often hurt Duke more than it helped in March.
The addition of Thornton provides good news to a USC team that has had more than its fair share of hard luck this offseason. Coming off a season where they made their first NCAA tournament since 2011, USC has already lost four players to transfer, and their two best players, Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic, to the NBA Draft, even though they’re both projected to be drafted late second round at best. These losses turned USC from a fringe Pac-12 contender into a fringe NCAA tournament team.
Thornton will have to sit out the 2016-17 season per NCAA rules, and will have three more years of eligibility remaining. Thornton will provide a quality guard to a USC team that will be low on guard depth, and will compete well with incumbent starting guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stuart. Thornton’s addition will help USC retain the relevancy it has just earned in the Pac-12.
All recruiting data is from 247Sports.com
Image from dukebasketballreport.com