Bread was being broken for several reasons on Michigan’s campus over the weekend.
Not only was John Beilein and the Wolverines’ coaching staff hosting two of the top players in the country in five-star 2016 guards Derryck Thornton Jr. and Tyus Battle, the fathers of both players also made the trip in.
Spread out between the east and west coast, the Thorntons and Battles have known one another since their sons began playing against each other at various AAU tournaments throughout elementary school.
Since that time, the four have remained close, coming together for a weekend unofficial visit at Michigan to further their understanding of what the Wolverines’ program is all about.
“Gary is my boy and our kids are really good friends,” Derryck Thornton Sr. said. “Just watching them interact with the coaches and the coaching staff did an awesome job. If Beilein would be talking to Derryck, Jeff and LaVall would be talking to Tyus and then they would just rotate off.
“They all had things they wanted to say to the kids and then when me and Gary would go out for dinner afterward they’d talk about it and the kids would talk about it and it was just really comfortable and easy, that’s probably the best way to describe it. It was just real comfortable and easy dialogue.”
While some onlookers might believe the idea of Thornton Jr. and Battle joining forces at Michigan is a bit farfetched, Thornton Sr. scoffed at that notion, instead wondering why the duo wouldn’t consider playing together for the Wolverines.
“Why? Why would they think that?” Thornton Sr. asked. “Michigan is, listen, Michigan is, as an academic school, as good as it gets. The aesthetics of the school are beautiful; it’s a beautiful campus, its green and not too big but not a small school by any stretch of the imagination.
“It’s in a terrific conference, the coaching staff is number one and I think the people that think they wouldn’t go there are crazy.
“They just put Hardaway Jr. and Burke in the NBA; I think this is Hardaway Jr. and Burke 2.0.”
During their time at Michigan over the weekend talk of Thornton Jr. and Battle playing together only increased in discussion and seriousness.
Strictly from an on the court perspective, both father’s see tremendous opportunity especially given Michigan’s recent successes.
“It was great cause we talked about the possibility of these guys playing together for a couple years and Michigan came up as a possibility,” Battle’s father Gary said. “I know Tank is a big fan of Trey Burke and he’d love to have the same opportunity for his son.
“And for Tyus, I think a lot of guys want to play with Tyus but Derryck definitely, he’s an easy kid to want to play with as well according to Tyus. They were pretty excited about it cause they consider each other brothers and have known each other for a long time.”
Very likely Thornton Jr. won’t be the only point guard receiving a scholarship offer from the Wolverines in the class of 2016.
Should Thornton Jr. not end up at Michigan, the Battle’s say that doesn’t mean they’ll stop considering a future in Ann Arbor despite their high level interest in bringing a star-studded class to the Wolverines, beginning in the back court.
“That’s not going to effect Tyus’ decision,” Battle said. “We’d love to have the best of both worlds having Derryck there but it’s not going to effect Tyus’ decision.
“Michigan is Michigan. Michigan’s opportunity is Michigan’s opportunity and I’m sure they’ll get somebody to run that spot and if they can’t get somebody to run that spot I’m sure there’s a couple of guys that can do it together.
“But, I think Derryck will be going there. I think they’ve got a good chance of getting Derryck.”