Thornton Goes To Draft; Visits ACC Program

June has been a busy month for Tyler Thornton, as he's been to the Nike Hoop Jamboree, the NBA draft and to Duke for an unofficial visit. We caught up with the talented 2010 product to get an update on his play and recruitment.

Tyler Thornton, of Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga, distinctly remembers Michael Beasley coaching and cheering him on a few weeks ago at the Tournament of Champions.

"Him and Nolan [Smith] were on the bench, rooting for us and helping us during the game,' the 6-foot-2, 180-pound combo guard remembers.

This past week Thursday the tables turned, as Thornton sat in Madison Square Gardens with over 160 other coaches, players and parents in the DC Assault program to support Beasley.

"It was exciting," Thornton said. "We got all the little kids from DC Assault all the way up to the 17's to go see Mike get drafted. We got to see all of the lottery picks and hopefully one day you'll see me or one of my peers in the same situation."

While watching the DC Assault alum walk across the stage and throw on his Miami Heat hat, Thornton couldn't help but think about possibilities and what it would take for him to one day be in the same position.

"Actually it was better than I thought it was going to be," Thornton said. "Watching it on TV, you just think it's normal, but when you get there it just makes you want to work harder so you can be in that position one day."

While Thornton is a long ways from make his ultimate dream a reality, he is working hard to complete some of his short-term goals, both on his high school and AAU team.

Thornton's been a big part of the DC Assault's 16's impressive run this spring, that has led to four tournament titles – Pitt Jam Fest, Tournament of Champions, Spring Fling and Take Your Best Shot.

"My team played well and I played well," Thornton said. "Everybody basically got what they wanted out of the whole situation, as far as scouts looking at us and college coaches getting to see us more.

"The college coaches have really seen my leadership skills and abilities on the court," he said. ""The fact that we won is also a plus because they all want winners on their team. That's what I do, I win games."

His high school team is winning too, and is fresh off winning Villanova's Team Camp this past weekend. But with June coming to an end, it's almost time for Thornton to return to Assault for a big July Schedule.

College coaches from across the country will continue to position themselves in Thornton's recruitment. Thus far he holds scholarship offers from Virginia, Williams & Mary and Georgetown, but that list will likely grow soon.

To go with his offers he also has strong interest from Stanford, Duke, Miami, Texas, Florida, Wake Forest, NC State, California, Villanova, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Kansas and Virginia Tech.

Since June 15th majority of the schools have called, but the head coaches that have been in touch are Johnny Dawkins, Billy Donovan, Bill Self, Seth Greenberg, John Thompson and Mike Krzyzewski

"This next month is going to be big for me as far as my recruitment goes because I'm beginning to form relationships with coaches during the next the month or so," Thornton said.

"I'm really going to use this time to weed some schools out and try to focus on a select six or seven," Thornton continued. "Then before the high school season starts, I'll narrow that down."

Thornton, who is rated as a four-star prospect, took a trip to Durham (N.C.) last week to check out Duke and what they have to offer. While on the visit he hung out with Nolan Smith, toured the campus and talked with the coaching staff.

"It was good," he said. "I got to work out with Nolan and a couple of other players. I got to talk to Coach K and the other coaches and I got to get to know those guys, it was good."

Thornton plans to visit Stanford and California prior to the beginning of his junior year.

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