Memphis is latest offer for AJC’s Mr. Georgia Basketball, while new Clemson coach awaits conversation

Brownell to Mr. AJC: You get really help me get off to a great start in my new job, pretty please. (AP)

Brownell to Mr. AJC: You could really help me get off to a great start in my new job, pretty please. (AP)

The AJC’s Mr. Georgia Basketball is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward Clemson’s new basketball coach.

Westake High’s Marcus Thornton has turned into one of nation’s hottest free agents in college basketball since being granted a release from his Clemson letter-of-intent after Oliver Purnell took the head coaching job at DePaul. On Tuesday, Clemson selected Wright State’s Brad Brownell to fill the vacancy.

Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips informed Thornton about the new coach. What does Thornton think of Brownell? Is he enough to convince Mr. Georgia Basketball to pick Clemson again?

“We’ve heard about Brad Brownell, and I’ve heard other people say that he’s a good coach,” Thornton’s father, Billy, told the AJC on Tuesday night. “We expect to talk with (Brownell) on Wednesday or Thursday. We look forward to talking with him. As far as anything else, I don’t think it would be appropriate to say anything else about him until we talk to him.”

Meanwhile, during Clemson’s 8-day search for a coach, Thornton has attracted attention from some of the biggest names of college basketball. The 6-foot-7 forward has accepted in-home visits during the upcoming NCAA contact period from a who’s who in the coaching profession:

Kentucky’s John Calipari.

Florida’s Billy Donovan.

Texas’ Rick Barnes.

Alabama’s Anthony Grant.

Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt (although Thornton will probably meet Hewitt in the Atlanta area because of the close proximity).

UGA’s Mark Fox.

All six schools have offered basketball scholarships. Thornton will wait to see how the in-home visit goes before determining which college campuses to visit. He has already seen many of them during his summer travels playing AAU basketball.

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On Wednesday, the elder Thornton also confirmed that Memphis has extended a scholarship offer. Memphis has already raided Georgia for Wheeler High’s Jelan Kendrick, who was the state’s lone participant in the McDonald’s All-America game.

Auburn and Michigan are among the other schools that have offered, while around a dozen other schools have left messages.

“We feel blessed to be in this situation, but we’re not sure about making this thing any bigger right now,” Billy said. “We’re ready to move forward with the process.”

Thornton committed to Clemson before the start of his junior season, before many other colleges had finished evaluations. He had a monster senior season — averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds, while leading Westlake to the championship game in the Georgia’s largest division.

Thornton is also an Honor Student with a 3.7 GPA. He couldn’t talk to college coaches on Tuesday because he was studying for an AP calculus test.

Brownell has a lot more than Thornton to worry about in his opening days: Several Clemson players expressed frustration over Purnell’s departure, while Devin Booker has talked about a transfer.

51 comments Add your comment

Hoops Dawg

April 13th, 2010
11:20 pm

Is this ever becoming a circus! Stick with your original commitment MT or go with UGA or (dare I say it) Tech. All these other johnnies-come lately (except maybe Auburn) seem like opportunistic vultures to me.

Michael Carvell

April 13th, 2010
11:37 pm

It’s the Perfect Storm: Super duper late in the recruiting process with elite teams looking to fill NBA voids. Perhaps no one is more surprised than Marcus Thornton and his family. Fortunately, they are very grounded and have handled the circus in a methodical manner, all things considered. As far as Marcus “sticking with his original commitment”, you could equally say that Oliver Purnell should’ve stood by his original commitment to coach Thornton at Clemson. If the coaches can move freely, then why not players? Well, maybe not players, but recruits who have yet to enroll in college? Thornton did what anybody else would, Clemson has scored points with being professional and understanding during the process, and who knows? Thornton may end up at Clemson. It will be fun to see how it all turns out.

Clemson Mark

April 14th, 2010
12:23 am

Clemson has been absolutely professional. Brownell is an outstanding x’s and o’s coach and was runner-up for the Indiana job before Crean eventually got it. He’s very respected in basketball circles and may possibly be able to better develop his players than Purnell. I hope Marcus Thornton realizes that coaching is certainly a business and to stick with the school where he feels at home. Few schools can rival the overall college and family atmosphere than Clemson provides you with. We certainly want him to be a part of the Clemson family!

KevinM

April 14th, 2010
6:36 am

HD is apparently not understanding of the recruiting process. Its okay to go to Georgia if you don’t stick with your original choice, but heaven forbid another school that continues to come in this state and take away top talent not be allowed to offer MT a scholarship.
Georgia and Tech have no idea how to keep their own top talent in state obviously. The priorities of football and minimal support for basketball unless they play above expectations are the standard here.
No one allows basketball to be the main topic on talk shows.
There is no following for these teams who can’t sell out their own gyms year in and year out.
You’re making it too easy for Memphis, Kentucky (thru the years) and Michigan State to come in and take away your top talent.

HD, you should thank Tech for saving face with Derrick Favors for choosing Tech over Memphis and Kentucky. But you wouldn’t do that because they aren’t your team.
How are you going to keep top talent here if you don’t make it a priority to compete with Duke/UNC/Kentucky year in and year out? You complain about the one-and-dones, but you still can’t keep them in state.
Does the basketball fan base at either school even know who Marcus Thornton is? I would be surprised if they even recognized him at a recruiting visit. They can tell you about a 4th string QB or a 3 star DB who came in from Florida.
MT will decide based on what he wants out of a scholarship offer and it doesn’t look good for the home teams who didn’t even recognize him until his junior year. Incredible job Tech and Georgia.

KevinM

April 14th, 2010
6:40 am

I agree with ClemsonMark; I hope MT sticks with Clemson because they are in need of talent and he would bring them a solid 3 to go with the talent that is returning. Tough to compete in the ACC without solid talent at all 5 slots in your starting lineup. Good luck to coach Brownell in his reaching out to MT.
It might be a bit late though; you’ve got to fight off the top coaches now. Who sells their system the best will definitely be the winner here. Clemson should not be that disappointed in MT decides to go elsewhere. This is all about bad timing on OP’s part.

Not sure...

April 14th, 2010
6:56 am

…where all the talk about “Clemson is really hurting” comes from – they lose 2 players for sure (both starters) off the 14 man squad, plus the possible departure of the younger Booker – sure, the other players are concerned and hurt by Purnell’s leaving, but it is highly doubtful that any leave.

Hence, they will have three starters returning, and 7 or 8(if Booker stays, and he probably will since Clemson is in his blood) of their top 10 players, so they are not without a very good nucleus for next year.

Now we will see if the new coach can recruit – go get MT back in the fold!!!!

Go Tigers….

Connor

April 14th, 2010
7:40 am

Marcus,

Do the right thing. Come to Clemson, we would absolutely LOVE to have you!!!

Come to Clemson

April 14th, 2010
8:27 am

Please come to Clemson MT!

DukeBlue

April 14th, 2010
8:42 am

Connor ….Just curious, why would it be the right thing to do?

jp dawg

April 14th, 2010
9:38 am

the guy would be a big get anywhere he signs cause he’ll probably stay 4 years. Plus he’s grounded.

He should go to UGA cause it’s an hour away and provides a perfect place to get away and be close to home at the same time. Plus Fox is a stud and is on his way up.

Steve

April 14th, 2010
9:52 am

Yeah Mark, but if he wants to play at a basketball school and have his best chance to continue his career Clempson is a bad choice. You guys said the came thing about Larry Shyatt and Cliff Ellis, etc. They were also great x and o guys. Fact is Clemspon has been historically the acc doormat and will NEVER be an elite tam in the acc year in and year out.

April 14th, 2010
12:23 am
Clemson has been absolutely professional. Brownell is an outstanding x’s and o’s coach and was runner-up for the Indiana job before Crean eventually got it. He’s very respected in basketball circles and may possibly be able to better develop his players than Purnell. I hope Marcus Thornton realizes that coaching is certainly a business and to stick with the school where he feels at home. Few schools can rival the overall college and family atmosphere than Clemson provides you with. We certainly want him to be a part of the Clemson family!

KevinM

April 14th, 2010
9:55 am

Did you hear today that Fox is under consideration for the Oregon job Dawg fans? What a blow that would be to your program trying to bring in an elite athlete.
I don’t see him even considering the 2 local schools that this point. The stability and the history is just not there for this to happen.
They both acted too late.
And Clemson does need more talent. They are going to have a change in style of play and with that comes changes on the roster. It won’t be the OP way of basketball. They will be lucky to keep the nucleus if some of the kids have other options.

Sorry, KevinM...

April 14th, 2010
10:02 am

…but you read that story wrong – the “write” of the story said that HE suggests that Oregon SHOULD hire FOX; he also acknowledged that there were 4 names under consideration, and Fox was NOT one of them.

And, DukeBlue, it would be the “right thing” for the guy to go to Clemson since that is where he committed AND signed originally – be a man and live up to your commitment, even if it means playing for another coach.

Also, KevinM...

April 14th, 2010
10:08 am

…the “other” Clemson kids really have no other options – none are really pro prospects so transferring is really not a smart thing to do – the one’s who can play already play, and the rest can only go down to 1AA or below without sitting out a year. Clemson will be fine – Purnell was NOT and X and O kind of guy, as evidenced by his inability to win at the end of the season for the past 6 years. And, most years he was there they had at least one game AT HOME where they had a 20+ point lead at home and LOST.

Trust me, there really was no great dispair among the faithful when he left Clemson for Depaul.

Really......

April 14th, 2010
10:09 am

….think I said “really” enough?

KevinM

April 14th, 2010
10:22 am

Didn’t see an article on it, I heard in on Atlanta radio this am….and it sounded like there is some interest from Oregon. I am guessing Gillispie has a question or 2 out there still.
Saying that, I would like nothing more than for Clemson to become a more consistent and top program in the ACC. Somehow, they have got to stop from becoming a stepping stone to other programs. They need a guy who doesn’t mind playing 2nd fiddle, like Pearl and Donovan, and can bring in guys who produce in Year 1.
For the current Clemson roster, there are always options, and to sit out one year is not unheard of despite the one-and-done mentality. I would not be surprised to hear that a Jennings or a Noel Johnson looks elsewhere. I am a bit surprised that Devin Booker is considering a switch.

Joe

April 14th, 2010
10:32 am

From a Tech fan- I hope he goes to Tech first- if not go to UGA- hate to see the state’s talent leave. Calipari is a joke and demonstrates why the NCAA is commited to making $ and not producing student athletes.

Fox Sports on "Fox" story...

April 14th, 2010
10:36 am

…that is why it is difficult to believe anything you hear on sports talk radio here in Atlanta – as quoted from Tim Tucker’s article today in the AJC:

“FoxSports.com senior college basketball writer Jeff Goodman does so, opining in a column that Oregon should hire Fox for its vacant coaching job. Important distinction: Goodman does not list Fox as a “candidate” for the Oregon job -– he lists four others in that category -– but as his “pick” for the job.”

Dawgboy

April 14th, 2010
11:11 am

What a joke of a hire. The ACC will eat him alive not to mention up and coming USC. Saw where they have a top 15 class coming in and Clemson has no recruits????

He was what 5th choice?

bruce mac

April 14th, 2010
11:26 am

He isn’t going to Clemson or he would not have asked for his release. If Clemson was under serious consideration he would have just waited until a new coach was selected and then decide IMO.

KD

April 14th, 2010
11:35 am

He will go to the school that can offer him & is family the most benefits(cars,housing,clothes, you know what I mean)

djc

April 14th, 2010
12:32 pm

Thornton will be a Tiger, he will be a Memphis Tiger. He will join Kendrick and be part of the top recruiting class in the country and put Memphis back in the Final Four. He will play in front of 18,000 rabid Tiger fans who also travel well to support their team on the road. Come to a town where basketball is the sport of choice and players are treated like KINGS.

Dave

April 14th, 2010
12:35 pm

Dawgboy, why is Brownell a “joke of a hire?” He has won 20 or more games in 6 of his 8 years as head coach. I could be wrong, but I think he’ll be much better than Purnell was here. Brownell will be ACC Coach of the Year in his first season. Mark it down!

Hoops Dawg

April 14th, 2010
12:50 pm

KM I was actually happy that Favors stayed in state even if he spurned UGA. I also understand BB recruiting far better than you think. I know that unless one of the Georgia teams does something significant in the next couple years, it will remain difficult to retain GA talent. And by the way, lots of football-mad campuses manage to have top BB programs (e.g., Florida, Texas, Ohio state to name a few). It can be done here, but it will take guys like Favors, Tompkins, and yes Thornton) to commit, stay for more than two years, and build a foundation that will gradually become self- sustaining.

JUSTAFAN

April 14th, 2010
1:07 pm

Let us BE CLEAR….Thornton WILL NOT be at Memphis next year.He’s probably still trying to clear the cancer that he consumed last season while playin alongside J.Kendrick.There was more talent on that team than the law should allow,but what happened….they folded like a lawn chair,due to what is commonly known as,”Team Carcinoma”!!! MEMPHIS? PLEEEEEASE

Monticello Dawg

April 14th, 2010
1:28 pm

Kevin M, UGA and GT were evidently not the only schools getting in late on Thornton. Where were all these other offers for him before he signed with Clemson? UK and the rest are also “Johnny come latelies” in this case.

As for Mark Fox and the Oregon job, take it as a compliment that the writer mentioned Fox as a good choice. Fox is not going anywhere soon- he is laying the foundation for annual NCAA tournament runs.

As far as Clemson, I have read some good things about Brownell, and think he will be a coaching upgrade over Purnell. The question will be as to how he can recruit against SEC and ACC teams.

Thanks, Monticello Dawg...

April 14th, 2010
1:41 pm

..good points and a voice of reason…

HAey, Dawgboy...

April 14th, 2010
1:43 pm

…if the new Clemson coach was their 5th choice, please let us know who the other 4 choices were – inquiring minds want to know!!!!

Go Big Blue

April 14th, 2010
1:46 pm

He will go to UK if we decide we need him.

W/E

April 14th, 2010
2:23 pm

For the 1,000th time, it’s spelled JELAN Kendrick. God and you guys call yourselves a legitimate news source. I have yet to find an ajc article where his name is spelled correctly. As for Marcus, my money is on Tech landing him.

AceDawg

April 14th, 2010
2:24 pm

I’m sure Thornton is going to be over his head in considering all the schools. I’d think that places like Clemson (because of the original commit), and UGA and GTech (being close to home and being Mr. Georgia) will have real good shots. But yeah, the other big programs have the pedigree to draw interest. So hard to predict this one for any of us.

Big Blue News » Blog Archiv

April 14th, 2010
3:03 pm

[...] Memphis is the latest school to offer a scholarship to 2010 recruit Marcus Thornton [...]

joe

April 14th, 2010
3:24 pm

…………

dap01

April 14th, 2010
3:30 pm

Congratulations Mr. Thornton. Be a home state hero. Fox has something special at UGA. Be a home state hero!

[...] offered Georgia Mr. Basketball Marcus Thornton but he sounds like a long shot at this point having accepted in-home visits from Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Georgia. Michigan is still recruiting [...]

Reekinhavoc

April 14th, 2010
4:25 pm

Every time i see the initials MT its usually a given I’m seeing Memphis Tigers. This time I’m seeing double though. MT come to MT and help Kendrick win a NC.

And I agree GO Tigers!!!!

ksdksdksd

April 14th, 2010
4:32 pm

Be a part of the #1 recruiting class in the country at Memphis! It will be a better class than the one Calipari stole and took to Kentucky! Go for the best chance to get a National Championship and to the NBA (already produced one this year). Who wants to attend school in Lexington, KY, Gainesville , FL, or racist SC. Live in Memphis with the honies!!!

slystone

April 14th, 2010
4:53 pm

It would be great for the Memphis Tigers to get Mr. Thorton, but they have several bigs next season and the question is would he fit in the rotation. Love to see him though. As for SC being racist, I lived in Memphis before and that town is so racially divided it is pathetic. Basketball is all that town has brings unity among people.

BN

April 14th, 2010
5:34 pm

Roll with the tide Marcus. You could be the big time recruit that turns our basketball program around!

Thornton a Tiger

April 14th, 2010
7:01 pm

Pretty lame watching you fools drool over our scraps.

He’ll remain at CU after toying with you. If you knew how to evaluate talent in the 1st place, this wouldn’t even be up for discussion.

Go Tigers!!

[...] Memphis is the latest school to offer a scholarship to 2010 recruit Marcus Thornton [...]

memphistiger

April 15th, 2010
1:13 am

memphis has #1 class in country, but they are guard heavy, they need frontline players, it is true they have alot of good players, so everyone will need to leave their ego at the door, but memphis has an excellent chance at championship next year with a coach who wont blow a 9 point lead with 2 minutes left.. but i understand, i wouldnt want to lose local talent either..

Frank Williams

April 15th, 2010
3:32 am

Go to a FOOTBALL school in Ga., Fl.,Al. or SC where it’s the only bigtime sport there is according to their fans.They could care less about basketball. Or go to a basketball school like Kentucky. Seven national championships, more sec champonships than the rest of the schools combined, more wins than any other school ever…..I could go on and on including coach Cal will very much improve your game for the NBA.I’ve seen your video’s (You Tube)and you are exactly what we need to make a strong run at another NCAA Championship.YOU would be the ICING on our recruiting CAKE !!!

Frank Williams

April 15th, 2010
3:50 am

Please let me add one other thing.Marcus, Kentucky is on NATIONAL TV most every game. ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, Ect. Much more than any other team.WE NEED you at Kentucky.

collegedude

April 15th, 2010
7:49 am

Sounds like Memphis is getting desperate. Throwing out offers to kids this late in the process that they have not recruited before just hoping one sticks. The Tigers are a program on the decline & they know it.

Best advice, stay close to home, be that Clemson, UGA, or GT, whichever you decide is the best fit.

Falcon fans, come meet & have lunch with 3 Falcon’s legends & support a local charity at the same time. Jeff Van Note, Jessie Tuggle, & Buddy Curry will be there and have a Q&A session with those in attendence. Check it out here: http://www.falconnationcharities.org/lunchwithlegends.html

JUSTAFAN

April 15th, 2010
9:01 am

I stand by my statement that this is an extremely down year for talent coming out Ga.The no.1 recruit coming out of this state is Jelan Kendrick? WOW !!! Marcus Thornton is Georgia MR.Basketball 2010? HMMMMM,he is not in the ESPN top 100,nor is he listed on Rivals top 150.That’s the main reason everybody is jumpin now,because he was nowhere to be found in the past,and we all know recruiting(for the most part)is based upon rankings.

dan

April 15th, 2010
11:13 am

Joe,

The NCAA committed to making money over the “integrity” of collegiate scholastism? Surely you jest! Jeez…it’s not like this hasn’t been going for…oh I don’t know…FOREVER!!

gotigersgo

April 15th, 2010
2:27 pm

add Pastner to some of those big name coaches on the list baby. btw we have the number 1 recruiting class in the nation as of now. come on over marcus!!! you won’t regret it.

kentuck77

April 15th, 2010
6:24 pm

Memphis is the place to go, they already have the #1 class comming in. Their new coach seems to be far above the old one that went to UK. Memphis over achieved with what they had last year, and should be a safe bet to be in the final four with the players they have now…so add one more and a NC is not out of the reach of those guys.

ksdksdksd

April 16th, 2010
1:45 am

RE: collegedude
Sounds like Memphis is getting desperate. Throwing out offers to kids this late in the process that they have not recruited before just hoping one sticks. The Tigers are a program on the decline & they know it.

Best advice, stay close to home, be that Clemson, UGA, or GT, whichever you decide is the best fit.

Falcon fans, come meet & have lunch with 3 Falcon’s legends & support a local charity at the same time. Jeff Van Note, Jessie Tuggle, & Buddy Curry will be there and have a Q&A session with those in attendence. Check it out here: http://www.falconnationcharities.org/lunchwithlegends.html
——————————————————————-
How is Memphis desperate? They have the #1 recruiting class coming in and you call them desperate? If you would have kept yourself updated with the latest news you would know that one of their players declared for the draft (came in average 6 points- is leaving a 1st round pick).