Will Tide Make Cut For Georgia Star?

Atlanta Westlake High Schools's Marcus Thornton is one of the hottest uncommitted prospects available in the spring signing period ever since DePaul's hiring of Oliver Purnell from Clemson. The release from the National Letter-of-Intent held by the Tigers spurred a flurry of cellular phone calls seeking the talents of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mr. Georgia Basketball.

"He has about 12 or so big D-1 schools that are looking at him and talking to me and talking to his father," said Westlake Coach Darron L. Rogers. Marcus Thornton plans to trim the list to five schools by Friday.

Alabama Basketball Coach Anthony Grant may be in position to warrant a serious look from the 6-8, 230-pound high-flying forward as he and Assistant Coach John Brannen are familiar suitors.

"Coach Grant and his staff recruited Marcus real heavy. He was on Marcus's top three when he (Grant) was at VCU. He really likes his program and him as a person and his style of play," Rogers said. Rogers had spoken to Grant in the last few days. "I just complimented him on the year he had. I thanked him for calling back with interest in Marcus. He was one of the guys that recruited Marcus when he was a sophomore and a junior."

Rogers trumpets the multi-skills of the physically gifted young man who excels in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA. "He is a 6-8 very athletic wing player that can also dominate the post. He is a big guy that is hard to match up with because he can take you outside. You put a big 6-8 or 6-9 guy on him on the outside and he will take you off the dribble. You put him down low against a 6-8 player who may be skinny then he will dominate them in the post," Rogers said. Thornton's 38-inch vertical ability figured prominently in winning The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's slam dunk contest last year.

Thornton's statistics: 26.5 ppg, 7 rpg, 4 blocks/game, 64 per cent FG, 75 per cent FT

Westlake High School finished 30-3

Ranked No. 23 by USA TODAY

Ranked 16th in the Southeast

Ranked Number 1 in Georgia before runner up 56-46 loss to Milton High School in Class 5A Championship Finals

Note: Marcus Thornton turned an ankle during player introductions and after scoring the first Westlake HS basket in the opening minute never returned to action. Source: Associated Press

Schools listed alphabetically in contention: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, UTEP

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