Thornton, a 6-foot-2, 180lbs point guard who is considered a four star prospect and the 9th best player at his position in the class of 2010, received his Duke offer this summer and immediately planted the Blue Devils near the top of his list. Now, nearly three months later, not much has changed and there may be a light at the end of the recruiting tunnel fast approaching.
"I'm still looking at a few schools at this point - mainly Duke, Georgetown, Stanford, and Villanova. Right now I'm going to Duke this weekend with an open ming and to see what happens. I am hoping to have the recruiting process over with before I start my high school season in November. That way I can enjoy my last two seasons of high school and my last season of summer ball without the [pressure] of the recruiting process."
That plan sounds eerily similar to what Thornton's long time friend and AAU teammate Hairston told TDD last week. Of course the similarities in their approach shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those who follow Duke recruiting since the two players have talked of playing together at the next level for some time.
"If it can happen that would be great. I love being on the floor with Josh and if we can both make it happen at the right place then that's what we would probably do. It's the same thing with Andre [Dawkins]. I've known him for a while and we were at Nike Camp this year. He's been recruiting me as well. I think we're all on the same page."
No doubt that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski would love for his program to become that "right place" for both Hairston and Thornton - a fact he's made clear to both players in his prior meetings and phone calls.
"I've talked to Coach K a few times over the summer. He called before he left for China and the called right when he got back. He sees me as the ideal point guard for what he's trying to build at Duke. He told me they are going to be bringing in guys who really know how to score the ball and he needs a point guard who can distribute and get everyone involved while also being a lock down defender. If we can bring in the guys he's talking about then I think I'd fit in perfectly with my style of play."
And how would Thornton describe his overall game?
"I'm an unselfish player who likes to run my team and I play hard on the defensive end of the floor. I am the guy that is always talking to my teammates because I see the point guard as a guy who has to be a coach on the floor. Coaches can try to yell from the sideline, but you need a guy on the court who is an extension of him out there - it makes the game a lot easier for everyone."
As a playmaker first style guard, Thornton admits he needs to tweak some of his offensive game. His upcoming junior season and Gonzaga College High should provide just that chance.
"We lost three of our top scorers so I'm already working on my jumpshot and scoring the ball a little bit more. Right now if I have an open three or a midrange jumper, but I have a teammate with a look, I'll try to get him the ball. It's just my nature on the court - I need to look to take those shots, which is what I'm working on now and what I'll continue to work on over the next year and a half."
With his visit looming, is there anything specific Thornton is looking forward to when it comes to revisiting the Blue Devils?
"There's really not one thing that sticks out more than most. I am looking forward to sitting down with Coach K, Coach Wojo, and Coach Collins and just talking. When you sit with Coach K it's just a great time. He's very funny and he's someone who has so much knowledge that it's hard not to soak it up and just listen. When you first meet him, it's surprising how down to earth he is when you realize how much he has accomplished."
"It's a good thing to be able to talk to him because in choosing Duke I'd know I was going to have a target on my back for the rest of high school and my AAU career. Guys would be coming at me harder and harder, which makes it so important to work hard and to continue to improve."
Thornton will be on campus beginning Friday afternoon. Aside from the visit with the Blue Devils he reports no other scheduled visits at this time.