Georgia’s No. 1 senior basketball prospect still hobbling after bizarre injury on championship night

Clemson recruit Marcus Thornton (AJC file)

Clemson recruit Marcus Thornton (AJC file)

The pain hasn’t gone away for Westlake’s Marcus Thornton, who suffered one of the most bizarre injuries in the history of the state’s basketball tournament.

The 6-foot-7 Thornton was diagnosed with a severely sprained left ankle after jumping in the air to bump chests with a teammate and accidently falling on a basketball during warm-ups last Friday. Thornton hobbled around to score Westlake’s first basket, then sat out the remainder the Class AAAAA state championship loss to Milton.

“I’m definitely still very frustrated,” Thornton told the AJC. “I was looking forward to one of the biggest moments of my life, and I couldn’t play. There’s nothing I can do about it now, and I’m trying to move forward, but it’s hard.”

Thornton returned to school with a walking boot and crutches. He was examined by doctors on Monday, and has at least a high-ankle sprain. Thornton will undergo an MRI later this week to see if there are any torn ligaments.

Would Westlake had won the championship if Marcus Thornton hadn't gotten injured?

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It was a big blow for Westlake, as Thornton averaged 24 points per game. He is considered perhaps the state’s top senior basketball  prospect, and has signed with Clemson. He talked with Clemson coach Oliver Purnell over the weekend.

“Clemson’s coaches are trying be supportive and encouraging,” Thornton said. “They are looking forward to me getting better for next year. My ankle is still swollen, but I’m going to begin (rehabilitation) as soon it goes down, depending on the outcome of the MRI.”

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77 comments Add your comment

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
7:35 am

First – and how would an additional 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots plus MR. BASKETBALL leadership do anything OTHER than result in Westlake winning ?

Let's say it all together now...

March 17th, 2010
9:28 am

…what a total moron…would be a perfect fit at Tech…

devildawg

March 17th, 2010
10:19 am

This is right up there with Gramatica kicking the winning field goal and then tearing his ACL jumping up and down celebrating, except, this idiot did it before the game. Bwaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Dude, you cost your team and your self a state championship.

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
11:14 am

To Let’s say it all together now… – actually the kid has a 3.8 GPA and scored 2230 (out of 2400) on his SAT so layoff off the moron crap….and to devildawg – bad stuff happens, sometimes at the very worst time (i.e., accidents happen) so, as above, layoff the idiot crap. Definitely unfortunate timing so let’s hope something positive comes out of an unfortunate event.

lazydawg

March 17th, 2010
11:31 am

RaleighDawg, who took the test for him?? Because this does not happen to smart people.Picking Clemson was not a smart choice either.

Brian

March 17th, 2010
11:46 am

Hate that for the kid. Don’t know if it would have been enough to overcome Milton, but it would have helped no doubt. Good luck in recovery and at Clemson, save vs GT.

Hmmmm

March 17th, 2010
12:34 pm

PURE STUPIDITY. They should ban this chest bump nonsense. Maybe I am just old school, but what is wrong with a good ole’ P. Manning fist pump??? He hasn’t missed a start in the pros.

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
12:35 pm

lazydawg – how blessed you are to have never had an accident for which you wished a ‘do-over’..

as for picking Clemson – I’ll bulldog born and bulldog bred, and when I die I’ll be bulldog dead, but Coach Fox is still aways off from making our program a contender…and when I checked the brackets yesterday Clemson was there for the second year in a row…hard for me to argue that logic from where I sit.

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
12:44 pm

Hmmm – I’m old school myself and I don’t necessarily think that all of the ‘celebratory actions’ of professional entertainment, er, I mean sports belong in high school sports. Having said that, why do you insist on calling names and labeling this poor kid ? As has been written by me and Mr. Carvell, it was a bizarre and unfortunate injury, but the truth of the matter is that it wasn’t even the chest bump, but rather the basketball that had rolled up behind him that actually caused the injury. If he had just tripped on the ball during layups (or for that matter, tripped on the curb coming into the arena) would you still call him stupid ? Why can’t we just leave this as bad luck without putting him down ?

LOL@Thornton

March 17th, 2010
1:20 pm

can we stop calling this kid the #1 prospect in the state? cuz hes not, there are clearly several better players than him, harrow, kendrick, davonta white, shannon scott off the top of my head…ive never seen the columbia kid play but im sure hes at least no worse than this kid…i watched the title game, westlake had limited options (even if thornton did play) on offense so using the argument that he avgs 25 pts wont work with me, its probably not hard to score 25 pts when 20 of them are coming off dunks…westlake was overrated all year, as is this guy…ryan harrow mighta taken 50 shots a game but at least he could create his own shot and make defenders look stupid out on the floor

my top 3- harrow, kendrick, white

i wish i had seen the columbia kid, his resume is very nice from the eagle fan that posted it earlier last week

LOL@Thornton

March 17th, 2010
1:22 pm

before i forget, i also saw the title game last year vs wheeler and thornton did nothing the entire game except shoot the ugliest free throws i have ever seen a “top” recruit shoot

westlake fan

March 17th, 2010
1:36 pm

Marcus thornton is a great kid and we wish nothing but the best for him. It was unfortunate this happened to him. We still love him at westlake and will continue to support him throughout his career. HE WILL BOUNCE BACK STRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Truth4Westlake

March 17th, 2010
2:30 pm

Enter your comments here

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
2:31 pm

LOL – with apologies to Seth Myers, “Clearly” and “not hard to score 25 when 20..are coming off dunks” ? Really ? Really ?

a) 20 points from dunks counts the same as 20 points from outside jump shots; b) I’m not a coach, nor do I play one on tv or blogs, but I’d rather have a kid throwing down 10 dunks a game instead of 10 jumpers. I just gotta believe the dunk is the higher percentage shot; and c) when was the last time you saw anyone – high school, college, or pro – that scored 20 points on dunks ? Heck, I’d think 20 points a game on dunks alone would make it obvious that Thornton is the number 1 player in the state.

While all of the kids you listed are great players – and I might even concede that Harrow is the better shooter and Kendrick has unlimited potential – these facts alone, in my opinion, do not make them the top seniors in the state. Mr. Basketball, again in my opinion, should be a complete, all around player. Thornton can (and in fact did, based on final stats) out-score all of them, out rebounded all of them that you listed, blocked more shots, had more assists, regularly shutdown Westlake’s opponent’s best big man (Jay Rome had 52 the game before Westlake – Mr. Rome had six in the first half when Westlake decided the game) PLUS Thornton took his team to the AAAAA final game. With the exception of Columbia’s Jamil Saaka (who won) who else of the players you named got that far – or close ? Doesn’t all of the above plus getting your team that close to a ring at least “cloud” the issue for you even a little bit ?

And one more thing – Thornton knew he had to improve his free throw shooting from last year and he was 10-12 in his last full game against Central Gwinnett. Unlike some of the players you named, Thornton isn’t content to just go with what God game him,. The marked improvement in free throw shooting is evidence of how hard he works.

Truth4Westlake

March 17th, 2010
2:44 pm

LOL@Thornton the reason he is considered one of the best seniors in the state is because he is the leading scorer on the #1 team in the state and #24 team in the nation USA Today at the start of the state tournament. He averaged a double double for the season. He won MVP of the Chic-fil-A classic which was the #3 nationally ranked Christmas tournament. He also defeated Devonta White in a head to head matchup earlier this season posting 20 plus and 10 boards. Jershon Cobb (Columbia), Devonta White (Centennial), Ryan Harrow(Walton), are all good players but when you look at their body of work Marcus wins the head to head matchup. He lead his team deeper in the state. With 2 out of 3. With Jershon Cobb Marcus just has better numbers. As might hate it he will win Mr. Georgia basketball second one coming from Westlake!!!! far as Westlake being overrated how do you make it to the championship game and still be labeled as overrated. Even then we lost our best player and still played a competitive game. As much as you don’t want it to happen he will win Mr. Georgia basketball second one from Westlake!!!

26.2

March 17th, 2010
3:10 pm

I don’t mean to come down on this kid personally – but anyone would have to find humor in the situation. Biggest game in a players life and he has practiced and worked hard for the opportunity to win a State Championship and he hurts himself in a foolish, pointless celebration BEFORE the game starts. Sounds like an episode from Seinfield.

LOL@Thornton

March 17th, 2010
4:18 pm

youre obviously missing the point on the dunks, at the high school level being 6′8 and being more athletic than 99% of the people he played against, dunking is hardly a reflection of how good a player is….he had the spotlight last year against wheeler and got nothing done against wheeler, this year was bad luck on his part with the injury…athletic guys who can jump and are 6′8 are a dime a dozen in college, he showed nothing offensively that would separate himself from any other 6′8 guy in the ACC…and if youre going to argue that he carried his team to the finals, ryan harrow played with 4 other guys who were borderline garbage, was constantly dbl/tripled teamed and such, and still dominated and had walton be a very respectable team that played in the toughest region in the state….walton probably has 1/3 of their wins if harrow isnt on that team, and nowhere near being ranked in the top 10

Jeremy Lamb for President

March 17th, 2010
4:22 pm

Jeremy Lamb – Norcross

21ppg
61% from the field
41% from three-point
84% free-throw
6.2 rebounds
2.1 steals
37 blocks on the year
21 minutes played per game for a 27-3 team that won the state championship at West Georgia.

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
5:56 pm

LOL – and I gotta tell you, your handle is so apropos because I’m LOL everytime I read your post…

I think any reasonable person would agree that it is much more difficult to get around two people, then go over two people, with the remaining one player hanging on your arm to dunk 10 times a game than it is to stand 20 feet out and shoot the ball over a collapsed zone 50 times for 20 points – not to mention that any coach would prefer to have his player dunk rather than shoot jump shots. You want to discount Mr. Thornton’s game because he takes the high percentage shot rather than the easy one ?

And regarding a couple of your other points…if I read correctly you suggest that we should further discount Mr. Thornton’s ability because he is “more athletic than 99% of the people he played against” (which by my calculations would include Mr. Royal, Mr. Rome, Mr. Parker, Mr. Scott, Mr. White, Mr. Tarik Black of Ridgeway- not to mention kicking Mr. Kendrick’s rear in practice most of last year) and “showed nothing offensively that would separate himself from any other 6′8 guy in the ACC” (which include – give or take an inch – the following players: Derrick Favors, Gani Lawal, Kyle Singler, Corey Raji, and Al-Farouq Aminu…oh and btw, if memory serves a couple of those guys are past Mr. Georgia Basketball) he’s not even in SIGHT for your top senior player ?

Keep helping me make my case big fella !

LOL@Thornton

March 17th, 2010
6:37 pm

i guarantee u thornton fails in college, this topic is about the top “prospect”, well go look at the recruiting services, who watch him play in aau and summer camps, hes a 3 star recruit for a reason big guy, while harrow and kendrick are 5 star, rated by people who have watched alot of basketball….each of the others u mention, lawal, aminu etc, all were 4 star or 5 star..you still fail to see the reasoning behind just dunking, and since u seem not to be able to grasp my point, i wont comment farther on that, but i’ll make a comparison, ralph sampson III, 2 years ago, 6′11 big man, went to minnesota, played region 6 his last year and i saw him multiple times, becuz he was 6′11 and scored points on dunks, i’m automatically supposed to think he has some outstanding offensive lowpost game? no that would be stupid of me, jsut like it is of u to say that “coaches would rather them dunk” of course they would, the point is that he wont be running around dunking over everybody in college, yet u think he will be…again everyone u mention earlier that is in college currently was a better high school player than thornton, that was why they won my basketball,

Michael Carvell

March 17th, 2010
6:47 pm

Should “chest bumps” be banned before games?

Michael Carvell

March 17th, 2010
6:52 pm

Let me rephrase: Should any celebratory activities on the basketball court be banned BEFORE games? This has nothing to do with Westlake in particular, as many high school basketball teams do something to get “pumped up” for games. I was just thinking, if you ban any celebratory activities from the actual court before the game, then an injury like this might’ve been prevented. But on a bigger issue, some of these pre-game celebrations with the entire team BEFORE game, well they kinda come across as cocky, and may aggravate the other team or the crowd. If you don’t allow them to do it on the court (instructing them to do near their bench area), then it may not come across the same way. Then again, maybe these celebrations before the game are an important part of HS tradition. What do you think?

hawks

March 17th, 2010
7:11 pm

LOL@Thorton your so wright, thats whats wrong with basketball now days.Were has the art of shooting gone,everyone thinks they need to dunk the bsketball! RaleighDawg just has a crush on Mr Thorton, he will have his hands full in the ACC!!!

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
7:13 pm

Why the hate LOL ? Did Mr. Thornton dunk on you 10 times the last time you played ? I know that’s embarrassing, but as you pointed out, Mr. Thornton does it to everybody so don’t take it to much to heart *smile*.

Seriously, I’ve made no such comment that Mr. Thornton will be “dunking over everybody in college”, nor am I under any delusions that such a thing will happen. I’m simply discussing your conclusion that Mr. Thornton isn’t the best player in the state and offering facts, rather than hyperbole, that don’t support your supposition.

It was your original conjecture that 20 of Mr. Thornton’s 25 points a game average came from dunks. While I have no stats on the number of dunks Mr. Thornton had during the year, I can offer – based on having seen him play 10 or so times this year – that he didn’t (on average) have more than a couple of dunks a game. While I don’t have your perspective for the game, it seems to me that the other 21 points a game he averaged had to come from something akin to drives and jumpers.

From the Atlanta Tip Off club website “players…who have displayed excellence and outstanding achievement in basketball.” are candidates for Mr. Georgia Basketball. While bloodlines and scouting service ratings make for fun banter, I do not read them as criteria for Mr. Georgia Basketball. Ir also doesn’t ready that a players FUTURE plays any part in the award. And while no knows for certain Mr. Thornton’s future in the sport, I can state with absolute certainty that he has indeed demonstrated excellence and achievement in basketball. These facts alone makes him worthy of consideration for the award and it’s why we’re talking about him.

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
7:35 pm

Hawks – as I’ve typed earlier, I’m an old school guy and I agree that today’s game is flawed. While I appreciate the athleticism of today’s players, I miss the fundamentals of the game such as the pick and roll or even a bounce pass. This is why I prefer to watch women’s basketball over men’s. (unless they are falling down a lot which is another topic *smile*).

I also offered the opinion earlier that today’s men’s professional game is entertainment as opposed to sport. Today’s game is about money – whatever puts fans in seats or folks in front of the tv for advertising dollars. Check out the SportsCenter highlights. Most nights it’s some version of a reverse two handed 360, not the three pointer, taking a charge, or a no look pass (unless it leads to the monster jam). Even winning has become somewhat secondary to flash (can I get an amen from any of the Wheeler folks ?) and a lot of coaches are looking for players with style over substance to bring in the dollars.

So what’s today’s male player supposed to do ? As someone told me once, you can’t be playing chess if everyone else is playing monopoly. In the end they have to sell what the coaches are buying.

Oh, and while I’m a strong admirer and supporter of Mr.Thornton, I do not have a crush on him *smile*.

RaleighDawg

March 17th, 2010
7:37 pm

BTW, I’ve got to get offline now so don’t any of you haters think you’ve run me off *smile* when I don’t get back to you. Everyone have a good evening.

Thanks Dad!

March 17th, 2010
9:38 pm

Thanks Mr. Thorton! We appreciate your efforts to justify your son!

Uncle Miltie

March 17th, 2010
9:57 pm

Since Thornton couldn’t play vs Milton, the fact is we’ll never really know what he could’ve done vs Parker, Scott, Lloyd, Nolte, Royal, et al. Maybe Dai-Jon Parker shuts him down, maybe Thornton proves himself unstoppable at the highest H.S. level….we will never, ever know – rendering most of the above as theory, conjecture, one-sided school fan shout-outs, etc.

I myself believe that Thornton’s participation would have made for a much more entertaining Championship game, perhaps going down to the wire and pressuring the refs that much more to make proper, consistent calls (and please, Norcross whiners – you’ve already had your say. Enough already).

Uncle Miltie

March 17th, 2010
10:02 pm

@LOL: “…ryan harrow played with 4 other guys who were borderline garbage…”

I get your point. But from what I’ve witnessed, G’Mitri Rice (Glen’s other son) is hardly garbage. Dude can play.

tori

March 17th, 2010
10:10 pm

Some of you clearly have NOTHING else to do. you are “hating” on a 17 year old intelligent (3.8 GPA) and he happens to have talent on the basketball court. Why aren’t you celebrating the fact that he is NOT out “thuggin” AND being an “outlaw”. GROW UP……whether basketball or not…my money is on the fact that HE has the potential to be a productive adult and he will be successful WITH basketball or not. Remember…Not ALL young black men have to rap and play sports to make it!

cOACH fOX

March 17th, 2010
10:14 pm

i NEEDS SAOME NEW NAGGERS TO HAVE MAKIN LOV TIME WIDS

MD

March 17th, 2010
11:04 pm

raleigh, you say that they would have definately won. Did his replacement that had the good game average 0 pts, 0 rebounds, etc…or would Thorton have had the same numbers, PLUS his normal numbers. I wish he would have played, but MHS is a pretty good team. I bet they still would have played the game

JuneBaby

March 17th, 2010
11:31 pm

tori@10:10pm…,

you know who and why they make these negative remarks.they’ll say they aren’t racists, but they think it’s funny to denigrate and berate anything black. the other bloggers never say’s a word, but as soon as someone they think is black calls them out on it, the entire board joins the racial cacophany. watch what happens after my post. it happens on just about every thread on these pages. typical for this state.

Chuckles™

March 17th, 2010
11:36 pm

Kids will be kids.

Don’t ban the enthusiasm. Have the coaches association send out a video/package showing kids what happens to your college/pro chances when you act a fool. That’ll wise up the folks who deserve their shot.

And if it doesn’t and some kid messes up again? It’s karma.

BAsketFan

March 17th, 2010
11:38 pm

As far as the chest bumping and back bumping and butt bumping, he got what he deserves. These crazy antics need to stop. What ever happened to good sportmanship? What happened to the High_five? He should be humbled instead of saying, why me? why me?

Tdawg

March 17th, 2010
11:39 pm

He’s deserting the state like the rest of the best bb players in Georgia do, so who gives a crap if he’s hurt or not. I won’t be pulling for him anyway. Does that sound bitter. Damn right. I remember a couple of years ago a Georgia high school basketball player, I believe that it was Trey Thompkins but not sure. Well he said that his friends were always asking him why would he go to Georgia and he would turn right around and ask why not? That’s the question that I’d like to ask these so called Georgia kids myself. Why not Georgia?

Coop

March 18th, 2010
12:18 am

Thornton is a beast and ts sad that he had to go out like that. CourtCred.com did a nice feature on him a few weeks ago. You can check it out: http://courtcred.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=549:the-emergence-of-a-star&catid=42:features&Itemid=44

noneya

March 18th, 2010
1:17 am

It’s always interesting to be read these blogs and the responses from perfect people who never make mistakes or have unfortunate things happen to them. I’m sure this kid did that chest bump all year long. If you watched state tournament games almost every boys team in the state did it. Things happen. He is an outstanding player and has been his entire career at Westlake. Personally I think Kendrick is a better ball player but I give Thornton props for leading his team to the state title game. And as much as I hate to say this, being that I am a Banneker Alum from the late 90’s when the Banneker vs Westlake rivalry meant something; I was very impressed how WHS hung in there in the championship game without their go to guy I am even more impressed at how consistent Coach Rogers has been in producing quality teams every year.

facts

March 18th, 2010
1:48 am

LOL@Thornton – Westlake did not play Wheeler in the title game last year, you could not of seen what you claim you did, so all of you comments now are basically fill of ****

The Real Eagle 1

March 18th, 2010
4:18 am

Jershon Cobb all day!!! If you research Columbia Eagles for the past 5 years or so… Columbia offense does not allow for any player to be the ultimate scorer. For 4 years Jershon had to play in a totally team ball system. Its no secret… all teams know that Columbia stregnth is Defense, whether Jershon scores 8 points or 38points .If you really want to look at body of work in GA high school basketball(2 State Championships 1 state runner-up and 4 final fours with 128 wins -13 loses) and how a team plays… Jershon Cobb has to be up there with Marcus, Jelan and Ryan. Marcus is a great player but can we really say that after one great year of good ball Without A Championship…. that he is the #1 player in GA??? Its a tough decision. Congrats to all the kids that help their parents out with scholarships ,with this high Tuition the GOVT is charging to send our kids to College.
Just my opinion!!! Big 10 here we come!!!!

The Real Eagle 1

March 18th, 2010
4:28 am

@ tori
Jershon Cobb is an Academic All American this year also..
He has been selected to represent Ga in the prestigious Feinberg All American Classic Game in California May 5!!! Go Eagles

The Real Eagle 1

March 18th, 2010
4:50 am

Please basketball fans just dont read the blogs… look it up for yourself. Google Jershon Cobb Basketball and compare for yourself!!
Its not me its facts…he should be considered for Mr. Georgia along with Marcus and the rest of the Greats!!! Although not ranked as high nationally as some(90th rivals****star)…but nationally rankings dosent mean nothin when us fans have actually seen the work!!! Think about it???

Sorry i know this is about Marcus but since the AJC is giving us less blogs now that basketball is over …I have to vent here Ga Basketball Nation!! Stay strong Marcus!!

Larry Jones

March 18th, 2010
5:23 am

Smooth move x-lax…

marcus

March 18th, 2010
6:58 am

when it comes to sports, georgians really are diverse. some of you are racist and bigoted in your assessment of the recruits (especially if they are “not” attending your favorite universities) and others tend to lean to the overzealous side; “he’s great” or “the best i’ve ever seen”………

in fact, they are just young men who happen to be better than you were at that point in “your” lives. you buy them things to buddy up to them, so that you can tell “fellow groupies” that you are friends with them and when they make life decisions that you don’t approve of, you talk smack about them. you question everything about them from grades to character. 99.99% per cent of you probably never played anything and when asked would get on your knees to satisfy any desire they had. get lives!

catlady

March 18th, 2010
7:16 am

I think the celebration before the game is uncalled-for. Hand slapping, sure. But chest bumps? And, during the game, holding out your shirt so everyone can notice you? Please! Like folks don’t know who you are?

Coaches should bring back the dignity of a good, solid game, and do away with the “me, me, me, look at me” attitude, IMHO.

dawgma

March 18th, 2010
7:30 am

Hey morons – He’s just a kid who was fired up for the biggest game of his life. Totally made the finals a snoozer for Alpharetta.

JustaThought

March 18th, 2010
7:53 am

Some of you guys should really seek professional help. It’s amazing to me to read how some people think. How simple minded do you really have to be to try tearing down a young person who for all intent purposes, are just playing a game. Never seen the guy play, and don’t know him from Adam, but I wish him the very best. Marcus, as much as it pains me to agree with your opinion I do, you too Tori.

JustaThought

March 18th, 2010
7:58 am

And another thing……..these kids owe the state of Ga. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! They owe it to themselves to pick and choose where they want to attend college.

BigDog!!

March 18th, 2010
8:04 am

RaleighDawg
Ask Marcus Thornton “Who’s Your Daddy”? or Where’s Your Daddy”? Someone forgot to teach him common sence! A 3.8 GPA & 2230 on the S.A.T? Who are you kidding!!!
By the way, Milton was the better team regardless of whether he played or not.

Watchdawg LOL

March 18th, 2010
8:18 am

Dah,Dah,Dah, I dont know how to read & write. I have a 3.8 GPA / 2230 SAT. I play basketball.