Mr. Georgia Basketball, Westlake’s Marcus Thornton, considers requesting release after Clemson’s coaching change (Updated)

The AJC’s Mr. Georgia Basketball could turn into Mr. Hottest Prospect in College Basketball.

Will Mr. Georgia Basketball become a free agent? (AJC file)

Will Mr. Georgia Basketball become a free agent? (AJC file)

Westlake High’s Marcus Thornton is considering requesting a release from his letter-of-intent from Clemson, his father told the AJC on Tuesday evening. Georgia Tech and Georgia are among the numerous schools rumored to be interested in the 6-foot-7 ┬áThornton.

On Monday, Clemson’s Oliver Purnell accepted the head coaching job at DePaul. Purnell was a major reason on why Thornton signed with Clemson over Wake Forest and Maryland. Thornton had not had any official contact with Clemson representatives by Tuesday evening.

“We’re talking as a family and trying to sort things out,” Billy Thornton said. “It’s not like Clemson still isn’t an option. We just don’t know who the new coach will be.

“Beyond that, we’ve talked among ourselves about requesting a release from Clemson but we don’t know for sure. That’s one course of action to consider.”

What about the rumors about Marcus and Georgia Tech or Georgia?

“I haven’t had any conversations with them,” the elder Thornton said. “We have had some people suggest that some schools, including some local ones, are very interested in Marcus. But we haven’t had any confirmation.”

What advice would you give to Marcus Thornton?

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This is how it usually works in college basketball: If a recruit has signed a letter-of-intent and then requests a release after the head coach of that particular school changes job, then the recruit is usually granted a release.

For example, Loganville Christian center Daniel Miller signed with Georgia last year, but requested a release after Dennis Felton was fired. New UGA coach Mark Fox met with Miller and quickly granted the release. Miller ended up signing with rival Georgia Tech.

If Thornton had waited until after his senior year to sign, he would’ve likely been one of the country’s top senior prospects. He blossomed into a complete all-around player, averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds. He carried his high school team to the championship game in Georgia’s largest classification, but missed the game after suffering a high-ankle sprain in warm-ups.

Thornton won a slew of awards within the last month, including being named to Parade Magazine’s All-America team.

What advice would you give to Thornton? Please post it below.

Related: Star safety talks about what went wrong with UGA, impending visit to Georgia Tech.

100 comments Add your comment


April 6th, 2010
5:12 pm

First. ask for a release and go to UGA!


April 6th, 2010
5:20 pm

Sounds good to me Asheville Dawg. Come on down to UGA Mr. Thornton!!

Mister Johnson

April 6th, 2010
5:20 pm

Go to UGA young man… They are starting something good there.


April 6th, 2010
5:23 pm

I’m sure coach Fox has a spot for Mr.Thornton.


April 6th, 2010
5:23 pm

Woof-woof !! You’d look mighty fine in Red and Black Marcus !

Delbert D.

April 6th, 2010
5:26 pm

Definitely go to UGA. Hewitt needs to learn to recruit kids “who want to play as a team and graduate from college”, paraphrasing what was said by the announcers for Duke-Butler. Tech does *not* need any more short-timers. It’s a waste of coaching and of other school resources.


April 6th, 2010
5:42 pm

Fox is the most up and coming coach in college basketball. UGA is the place to be for a guy is “Mr. Georgia Basketball”.


April 6th, 2010
5:59 pm

Marcus come to Georgia Tech!!!

Veteran Fan

April 6th, 2010
6:00 pm

Go to Depaul, it is all about the coach and all you guys are hired guns with no school loyalty. Just ask Kentucky how to steal another school’s recruits! Or as Dickie V says “Its the MONEY baby!!!!!!” UGA up and coming, wow that is a good one!


April 6th, 2010
6:07 pm

If you are a one and done, please stay away from Georgia Tech. Been there, done that. Sounds cool, until the team is left in shambles 9 months later.

House Rules

April 6th, 2010
6:25 pm

Go to UNC. Get a quality education. Step in and start now…at one of the best schools for “team play” in the country. Tech is one and done. UGA doesn’t have the great schedule. Go tar heels.

Biff Pocoroba

April 6th, 2010
6:37 pm

Come to Tech. At least you know that Hewitt will never leave since he has a lifetime contract. You just won’t have a coach to help you get any better or a point guard that can get you the ball.


April 6th, 2010
6:38 pm

Come to Georgia Tech.


April 6th, 2010
6:38 pm

Come to Tech! Georgia fans are excited about a coach who took a last place team and landed them in …wait for it…last place. With 2 NBA prospects on that team.

Come to Tech, play in the ACC, the greatest basketball conference in the land, and be nationally recognized. When’s the last time anybody around the country could name a player on Georgia?

Lilburn Dawg

April 6th, 2010
6:42 pm

Hey Scott, wasn’t it all the Ga Tech fans hoping your coach would leave recently?? I think it was because of how much he has done for YOUR program


April 6th, 2010
6:43 pm

Next time do not base your decision on the coach. Coaches leave. Picking a school based on the coach is really dumb.


April 6th, 2010
7:01 pm

“Go to Depaul, it’s all about the coach”. OK. Depaul has 4 players currently in the NBA, pretty good. Georgia for all it’s recent troubles has 2, and Clemson has none. See for yourself at the link below. Purnell may be a helluva coach, but it doesn’t appear he prepares his players for the NBA very well. Am I missing something Vet Fan??
Utah, or Coach Fox, has 2, and I bet they wern’t rated very high out of high school either.


April 6th, 2010
7:07 pm

well said collegeballfan.

Stick with Clemson – you chose to go there, you signed a scholarship which they can’t replace this year, you’re committed.

I hope Clemson gives you a resounding NO, when you request a release.

I’m sick and tired of these recruits making decisions based on coaches. Coaches are a dime a dozen.


April 6th, 2010
7:24 pm

Scott, I can name several that beat Georgia Trek this year. Hewitt is a joke, your school is basically in a war zone, and sprinkle in a terrorist or two. What’s not to love?


April 6th, 2010
7:34 pm

Go to one of the black schools so they can make some money off you. Imagine – if LeBron Had went to Grambling for 1 year?

GT man

April 6th, 2010
7:48 pm

If you want to be another one-and-done, like the other “supers” then come to GT


April 6th, 2010
8:04 pm

He won’t be a one and done! Only five star hyped up players leave after a year. Come to GT! We beat the national champions last year and have a solid track record of getting players to the next level. ACC basketball!


April 6th, 2010
8:04 pm

Could you imagine what would happen to the face of college sports if 70% of the top black high athletes would attend Historically Back Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the country.ESPN would go out of business. The Soul of Black Folk should be required reading for Black High School Students.


April 6th, 2010
8:13 pm

Better hope Duke doesn’t come knock’n. UNC already has its quota.


April 6th, 2010
8:16 pm

we’d be pleased to have you at GT. We’ll have the guards next year but need the forwards!


April 6th, 2010
8:23 pm

Marcus will be the greatest player to ever wear the Clemson uniform!!!

Jonnie 5

April 6th, 2010
8:23 pm

This kid is not going to an SEC school, he wants to play basketball! No offense, but SEC + Basketball = watching two fat athens krystal chicks fighting over table scraps, its just ugly!


April 6th, 2010
8:24 pm

Stick with the Tigers. You will have the opportunity to play right away and prove yourself against some of the top talent in the US in the best basketball conference in the country. Afterall, we have won the last two National Champiionships!!! Tremendous opp in front of some great fans!!


April 6th, 2010
8:28 pm

Jonnie 5, do you know who the last team to be back to back NCAA Tournament Champions and which conference they are from?

Jonnie 5

April 6th, 2010
8:36 pm

Irrelavent, majority of the teams are garbage from the SEC, and cant standup to real competition from other Top Confrences. Plus that was not a long trend, it was an anomoly, that most likely never happen to the SEC again.


April 6th, 2010
8:54 pm

Percy………The Black’s have been bitching, moaning, complaining, marching, demanding and in some cases dieing for 50 years and for the most part rightfully so to break the race barrier that barred them from equality. Nothing wrong with going to a black college. A college is a college and a degree from a institution of higher learning is a feather in your cap no matter what school it came from. I don’t get it. Are you saying that the most athletic and brightest of the black youth should go to black schools and let the least athletic and least of the educated to go to the predominantly white schools. Trust me the white schools and their athletic programs would be just fine. If memory serves me right they were doing just fine before integration. Maybe what you really want is to go back to the old days and have segregation again. Let all the blacks go to black schools and the whites go to the white schools. Dang does this mean that we will have to also build separate schools for the Hispanic kids, the Oriental kids and the Muslim and Hindu kids. Dang we are going to need to build a lot of schools.

If we could figure out how to get politics out of school then the schools would be just fine.


April 6th, 2010
9:24 pm

All time, SEC has 10 NCAA basketball titles, ACC has 12 including Duke last night. Last twelve years SEC 3 NC and ACC 4 NC. ACC a little better, but both confrences look pretty good to all rational people. That encompasses most of us but unfortunately not all.


April 6th, 2010
9:51 pm

About a week ago, people on here were lining up to bash Thornton. Of course, most of them had “dawg” or “UGA” somewhere in their username. Amazingly, the same clowns are now advising him to go to UGA.

Funny how that works.

Matt the Brave

April 6th, 2010
10:15 pm

TDawg, first of all, if this kid’s true goal is to get into the NBA, why would he go to a school that doesn’t do TV usually? If he goes to an ACC or SEC school, he’ll be on National TV at least twice a year, if not more. Sorry, the HBCs will have to look elsewhere because the dollar signs are in his eyes already.


April 6th, 2010
10:55 pm

Go where you can play and where they want you and not where people think you should go. You Still have alot of work to do to become a better ball player. ( get a 15 foot jump shot, shot 75% from the foul line, ball handling and get tougher inside because thats where they are going to put you right now with your skill as of today) If you go some where, where it takes two years to get on the court then you will have missed the boat. Go where you can play at least 15min anight right now and its not going to happen at Georgia,Georgia Tech,UNC,Depaul,Clemson or Auburn. Be smart and find a school that fits you now.

GT Fan

April 6th, 2010
11:00 pm

I love GT Basketball but I can’t ask anyone to play for Paul Hewitt.I wouldn’t let my son play for him so I couldn’t ask anyone else to. Maybe soon the AD will wake up and Fire Paul Hewitt. Then I can enjoy GT basketball again. I do support the Lady Jackets and they are doing a great job.

highschool fb player

April 6th, 2010
11:03 pm

lol i know its not his decision to where ever he commits to it wasnt my to commit to georgia it was my parents u guys dont know b ut most ppl parents make n call the shots i wanted to go to an acc school but my dad was so hyped on a sec school thats y i commited to ole miss then when i got that uga call my dad made me committee to uga its not always the players who call the shots its there dads n mom lol


April 6th, 2010
11:06 pm

Who said white boys can’t jump- Check out Butler and Duke.


April 6th, 2010
11:24 pm

go to tennessee and become a winner or duke and become a champion

The Truth

April 6th, 2010
11:30 pm

Go to Georgia. They need great players and their new coach is awesome.

And great players don’t go to GA Tech because they are a big time outlaw school. GA Tech Lies & Cheats & Everyone knows it.

Chuck Uga

April 6th, 2010
11:43 pm

UGA Basketball is headed WAY up under Fox. Come on over and win big. Don’t worry, UGA hoops will be on the center stage with big-time games added to the schedule (like UNC).


April 6th, 2010
11:44 pm

Go to Maryland. You can be a stud power forward with a team that is lacking one but has everything else in Jordan Williams, Sean Mosley, Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie and a stud freshmen class.



April 6th, 2010
11:55 pm

Meow I’m sleepy!

Anajanada Hassmapagathflappaji

April 7th, 2010
12:31 am

Yes, hello Mr. Basketball Player. Come to the Georgia Tech University and I will do your math homework. We can eat at Varsity. Go Jacket. Sting them. Buzz.

Paul in RDU

April 7th, 2010
1:04 am

jdog @9:24 I love the way you picked your sample (12 years) to show how the SEC is up there with the ACC in NCAA championships.
The last decade it’s ACC 4 NC’s (3 different schools), SEC 2 NC’s (UF). Since the NCAA expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the ACC has had 24 teams in the Final Four with 8 NC’s while the SEC has had 10 teams in the FF with 5 NC’s. The SEC is a good b’ball league but the ACC is much better year in and year out. In football it is very different of course.


April 7th, 2010
2:17 am

LOL @ SEC fans…there’s a reason SEC fans shouldn’t be allowed to do math.
Let me make it clearer for you:
ACC: 5 out of last 10 championships, three different schools winning championships (DUKE,UNC,MD)
Big Least: 2 out of last 10, two different schools (UConn, Syracuse)
SUC: 2 out of last 10, one school (FL — do they still play?)
Big 12: 1 out of last 10, Kansas (aka Rock, Choke, Jayhawk)
Pac 10: zilch
Big 10: zippo


April 7th, 2010
2:20 am

With or without Mr. Thornton, the ACC is the best hoops conference in America, again.


April 7th, 2010
2:43 am

Come to Mercer. We just lost power forward Danny Emerson, who won College player of the year for the State of Georgia. Clearly you will get some coaching there. We need a young man who’s looking to improve himself. And we got a couple of Atlanta-area recruits already coming to the program


April 7th, 2010
7:25 am

get your release. who the heck would want to go clemson in the first place. if you are as good as billed then go to a major program; unc, duke, georgetown, uconn. somewhere you get exposure and play against good competition. tech is an option, but do you really want to go somewhere and get buried behind their current players and an inept coach.

South Ga Dawg

April 7th, 2010
7:40 am

Come on down to Athens and lets make a run at this thing!!!!