DRAFT TRADE: Traded to Los Angeles Clippers
About Sindarius Thornwell
A reasonable argument could be made that no player in the country was as valuable to his team this season as Thornwell. After South Carolina got off to a great start with wins over Michigan and Syracuse, it struggled when Thornwell was suspended for six games because of a violation of team rules. The Gamecocks lost games they might have won—to Seton Hall and Clemson—during Thornwell’s absence. He returned to lead them to a third-place tie in the Southeastern Conference, and then an improbable run all the way to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. Any time South Carolina was in trouble, it simply put the ball in Thornwell’s hands and got out of the way. Gamecock coach Frank Martin and his coaches insist that Thornwell’s suspension was not a reflection of the man and didn’t change how well he was regarded by his teammates. His true character was revealed in the NCAA tournament.
- High basketball IQ
- Has a knack for getting to the rim
- Shoots -- and makes -- a ton of free throws
- Excellent rebounder
- Hard-nosed defender
- Good passer
- 6-foot-9 wingspan
- Improved perimeter shooter
- Tweener size for NBA
- Not a super explosive athlete
NBA projection: Projected as a second-round pick before the NCAA tournament, Thornwell’s play in the Big Dance could have elevated him to first-round status.
Thornwell earned SEC Player of the Year honors, was also a first-team all-league pick and was on the All-SEC Defensive team after leading the league in scoring in conference games only and steals in all games. He raised eyebrows with a 44-point, 21-rebound game against Alabama, season highs among SEC players in both stats. CBS Sports thought enough of Thornwell to honor him as a first-team All-American.
Key statistics: 21.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 2.4 tpg, 2.1 spg, 0.9 bpg, 34.3 mpg, .444 FG, .392 3PT, .830 FT
Cool statistic: Thornwell broke an SEC record set by the great Pete Maravich of LSU in a quadruple-overtime loss to Alabama when he made 25 free throws. The Pistol held the old record of 22, set against Florida in 1969.
Reminds me of: Aaron McKie
What Insiders Say
South Carolina coach Frank Martin
“He’s a relentless defender. I think he could defend different players in the NBA. Whoever takes him and gives him a chance to get on the court won’t be able to take him out of the game.”
What Outsiders Say
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
“He's really unique. He leads their team in everything. But then he's their leader. You don't see as much on tape until you see him in person. But [in South Carolina’s NCAA tournament game against Marquette] I saw a couple times where [coach Steve Wojciechowski] was giving a signal to his team what to run. And then you would see [Thornwell] tell his teammates, this is what they're going to run. Come on. That's not alive and well in our sport. He's really like an old-school great player. And I say that with the highest level of compliment.”
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