What’s the latest with the recruiting of the AJC’s Mr. Basketball?
Westlake’s Marcus Thornton, who is one of college basketball top free agents, has finished the in-home visits with all seven of his finalists — Kentucky, Texas, Alabama, UGA, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Michigan. On Thursday, Thornton left for Florida for a mini-spring break. He will return late Sunday night and begin narrowing down his schools on Monday, his father confirmed to the AJC on Thursday night.
“We wanted to give Marcus some time to think about everything,” Billy Thornton said. “We’re going to look over things next week. We don’t have any pending short list, and (the rapid process of recruiting) may not allow us to specify a short list in advance.”
UGA coach Mark Fox was the first college head coach to meet with Thornton in person during the recent NCAA contact period, while Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt was the last on Wednesday. How did it go with Hewitt?
“It went very well, just like with the rest of the coaches,” the elder Thornton said. “Coach Hewitt had a lot of good things to say. We were impressed, as we have been with everyone else. We’re honored that Georgia Tech wants Marcus.”
What’s next on Thornton’s agenda? He will try to narrow down his list of schools next week, and then take recruiting trips to his finalists. Due to Thornton’s school activities, including his senior prom and AP exams, he will likely begin visiting schools at the beginning of May. All the trips are likely be one-day visits, due to time constraints.
What about a final decision? The target date is around the third week of May.
Thornton wants to pick a school in time to enroll for summer school classes. Education is paramount with Thornton. Both of his parents hold graduate degrees, while Thornton has a 3.7 GPA and is taking AP classes for college credit.
The 6-foot-7 power forward was granted a release from his letter-of-intent from Clemson a couple of weeks ago, after Oliver Purnell abruptly left the Tigers to take the head coaching job with the DePaul. Thornton had a monster senior season, averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds while leading Westlake to the state championship game in Georgia’s largest classification.
Thornton politely declined to reveal any favorites, saying the family needed to discuss the situation next week. In your opinion, which school leads the sweepstakes for the AJC’s Mr. Basketball?