AJC’s Mr. Basketball finishes meeting Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt and other college head coaches, will begin trimming list next week

Thornton: R&R this weekend in Sunshine State, then time to narrow down schools (AJC photo)

Thornton: R&R this weekend in Sunshine State, then time to narrow down schools (AJC photo)

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.

Calipari: Do not underestimate me. Ever. (AP)

Calipari: Do not underestimate me. Ever. (AP)

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?

65 comments Add your comment

GT GRAD

April 22nd, 2010
10:32 pm

I sincerely hope GT is the front-runner and I would love to watch Marcus playing stellar basketball at GT!

The future of the GT basketball, football & baseball programs seem to be VERY bright!!!

mark

April 22nd, 2010
10:48 pm

We sure wish he would come to Clemson…Our folks will take care of him as well as appreciate his abilities both on the court and off the court…Its not often we get a shot at this caliber of basketball players…..most end up at Duke or North Carolina. I gratuated from Clemson in 1974, my brother in 1977 , my daughter in 2003,,and my son in 2006….
We are all very proud to have gone to school there..
.
please HELP

phil tompkins

April 22nd, 2010
10:49 pm

You will be nasty at Clemson!

VinceVanGo

April 22nd, 2010
11:01 pm

At the end of this coming year Georgia will loose all of their big men(Thompkins to the NBA). Under Coach Mark Fox Thornton would be a stud in the elite SEC East in his sophmore year. At Georgia he can play against the best and lead them to the big dance every year. Stay in state and help bring Georgia basketball to the top of the SEC and NCAA tournament. Most of the pieces are in place and you can be the frosting on the cake.

D Favors

April 22nd, 2010
11:28 pm

Georgia Tech. Best Education of the bunch. Best Competition in the ACC. Immediate playing time. A coach that can get you to the NBA. A school that actually cares about basketball.

Big Blue News » Blog Archiv

April 23rd, 2010
12:15 am

[...] 2010 recruit Marcus Thornton will begin visiting schools at the beginning of May and make a decision around the third week of May [...]

Wheatgerm

April 23rd, 2010
12:52 am

Did you notice that every time his father said something positive about Tech, he immediately de-emphasized it? “It [the meeting with Hewitt] went very well … JUST LIKE WITH THE REST OF THE COACHES.” “We were impressed … AS WE HAVE BEEN WITH EVERYONE ELSE.” And then the kiss of death: “We’re honored that Georgia Tech wants Marcus.” That’s exactly the kind of perfunctory compliment you give someone when you want to let them down easy. It’s like telling your date over the dinner table that they have a lot of nice qualities … but it’s just not working out.

Frank Williams

April 23rd, 2010
12:56 am

In my opinion The Big Blue is the only basketball school listed in the finalist…….Marcus if you want to win big and get better and NBA ready Kentucky is the only choice….If you want a football school you have many options.Here’s hoping you come help us win our 8th NCAA Championship.All the other teams you are cosidering have 1 (One).It’s a NO Brainer !!!

GT4Ever

April 23rd, 2010
6:32 am

wheatgerm…He said that about all the coaches in every interview.

Michael Carvell

April 23rd, 2010
7:53 am

The Thorntons are just keeping things close to the vest right now. You’re reading too much into it.

[...] Michael Carvell of the AJC has an update on Marcus Thornton: 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. [...]

GT Fan

April 23rd, 2010
8:23 am

Fire Paul Hewitt.

Brandon Clark

April 23rd, 2010
8:43 am

LOL – The only thing that G-Tech is GUARANTEED is 3rd place in the ACC. How do you plan on getting to the top without stepping on UNC & Duke? Good with the your battle for 3rd place in the ACC.

Brandon Clark

April 23rd, 2010
8:45 am

If you want the national stage/recognition, come play for the winning-est team in ALL of college BBALL! UK Wildcats!

Dixie Clear

April 23rd, 2010
9:14 am

of the seven schools on this list, ugay is clearly number 7 !!!!

Sven Ottke

April 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

VinceVanGo, put the bong down, dude. Play against the best in the SEC? Dancing every year? Georgia will go sub .500 again, Fox will bolt for a bigger gig and UGa will continue to drag down the SEC in hoops. Seriously, the SEC is Kentucky and the other dwarfs.

[...] Michael Carvell of the AJC has an update on Marcus Thornton: 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. [...]

Monticello Dawg

April 23rd, 2010
11:00 am

Question for Sven Ottke: Outside of Tubby Smith and Ron Polk, can you name any UGA coach that left for another job of his own accord in the last 60 years? Smith left for one of the premiere college BB jobs (and had turned down Ohio State), and Ron Polk returned to the school where the baseball stadium was named for him. Dog fans can buckle up for a fun ride with Coach Fox and many NCAA dances in the future, starting with the upcoming season.

Mack

April 23rd, 2010
11:13 am

The kid is probably going to GT so his mommy and daddy can do all his interview with the AJC. He really isnt good enough to be a starter at UK. With UK’s chance to get one-n-done guys such as CJ Leslie and Terrance Jones,Thornton is surely a backup plan. Go to GT kid! At least you will start there.

3DawgKnight

April 23rd, 2010
11:57 am

Mack does have a point albeit a sarcastic one. For a 3.7 GPA,
does & can the young man ever speak?

Go Big Blue

April 23rd, 2010
12:00 pm

UK will get him if we decide we need him. If not you can have our left overs.

bruce mac

April 23rd, 2010
12:05 pm

Blewitt hasn’t put anybody in the NBA, all of his players were going higher in the draft until he got involved. If you want to be coached up like Travis Leslie, UGA is the place to go. If you want to stand around hoping for Hewitt to get fired and take some engineering courses which you will never use in your real life go to GT.

Rudegar

April 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

It’ll be so nice to watch Georgia win in Rupp again next winter. That’ll be what, the 4th or 5th time in the last 10 years, I’m starting to lose count.

Dawg Pound

April 23rd, 2010
12:29 pm

DONT BEG THIS KID TO STAY IN STATE AT UGA. IF HE WANTS TO HE WILL. BUT THE BULLDOGS ARE ON THE RISE WITH OR WITHOUT HIM. ITS ALL ABOUT THE BULLDOG NATION BABY

SOUTH GA DAWG

April 23rd, 2010
12:31 pm

Yea go to Tech, they are loaded every yr and never win anything. Great program there big guy

dawgdawgdawg

April 23rd, 2010
12:37 pm

i’m a die-hard Dawg and would love to see him in Athens, but I think he’s Kentucky all the way…it’d be hard to turn them down

dawgerbrown

April 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

If you’re destined for the NBA is doesn’t matter what college you attend. Why not start a trend? Georgia has such outstanding basketball talent, and, it’s a shame to see the talent leave the state year afte year. Coach Fox has started a program at UGA to be proud of and you could be proud to be a part of it. Be a leader, go to your state university, help make it a winning program, and start a trend that others will follow.

dap01

April 23rd, 2010
12:40 pm

But can you get good coaching at Tech? There is not one Tech fan who was happy when Hewitt was given another contract.

Voice of Reason

April 23rd, 2010
12:44 pm

I am sorry to say this, but Coach Paul Hewitt has had more talent to work with than most coaches are blessed with, and has done very little with it! He will not be at Tech two years from now in all probability. Coach Mark Fox is building at UGA, and to get players like Thornton would be a real help in accomplishing this.
You “blue bloods” think that you have the only relevant team in basketball. Not so fast, my friends. How long is it going to be before the NCAA is looking through their glasses at certain practices that could take place with Calapari. Does a leopard change spots?
Being the big man on campus at UGA would not be so bad. Great academics, good looking ladies, beautiful campus, great town, and the guy that helps make UGA a force to be reckoned with again. The NBA beckons, but that education should come first. It will last a lifetime, basketball won’t. A smart student has more to offer society than a good athlete.
Mr. Thornton, you have it all. Fine, smart parents; intelligence; abilities; looks; a promising future in several ways! Stay grounded, follow your heart.
I hope it is to UGA.

KevinM

April 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm

Rudegar talking smack! Where has that gotten your team so far?

It’s really not a good time for you to talk smack….football or basketball….nice chuckle though.

Now, come back after Marcus decides where he wants to go to school because that is why we are commenting here right? You think Fox leads or are you hoping you can keep a top Georgia recruit?
Fox’s first offseason and how is his in-state recruiting going?

ATLFANSTUCKINTEXAS

April 23rd, 2010
1:51 pm

This battle is between UGA & UK…..I would say that if he wants to due a couple of years in college with a chance to be the FACE of a program then go to UGA because this program is on the RISE. If he is ready to go the NBA then UK is his next home…

hedge puller

April 23rd, 2010
2:06 pm

Young fella, if you are going to be “one and done” please do not come to Georgia Tech. Go to Kentucky; it’s not a huge school like Michigan and they play great basketball. You will also have the privilege of learning from a great coach.
If that talk about education was for real (those AP credits might transfer to Tech as electives), you should come to Tech. Play in the ACC for two or three years and maybe grow a couple of inches while you are getting a great education. Hewitt is an average coach but it has not hurt some of the other guys in their quest to go to the NBA.
Good luck, unless you go to Georgia where I hope you will develop toe fungus.

GT Bball Fan

April 23rd, 2010
2:31 pm

Monticello Dawg

April 23rd, 2010
11:00 am
Question for Sven Ottke: Outside of Tubby Smith and Ron Polk, can you name any UGA coach that left for another job of his own accord in the last 60 years?

Yeah – All the others were fired for losing, drawing no fans and putting UGA on probation. Fox is GONE after his first .500 record in the piss poor SEC basketball conference. Jim Harrick’s legacy lives on!!!!

Delbert D.

April 23rd, 2010
2:39 pm

No more 1-semester and done players at Tech, please.

ormewood

April 23rd, 2010
2:47 pm

It sounds like Mr Thornton intends on staying in college more than one year. If that’s the case, then KY is not the place for him. They seem to only be interested in kids who only want to be on campus for about eight months. KY = NBA D league team.

TROTTINGHOME

April 23rd, 2010
2:49 pm

Sven Otkke…you need to check what your smoking…Fox will be here for 10 years minimum.

UGA’s record next year will be over 500 and over 500 SEC record.

All you anti-UGA fans need to go to your team blog and talk them up…that is if you have one to go to.

ormewood

April 23rd, 2010
3:00 pm

Fox is an outstanding coach, a coup for GA. His task, and it’s a herculean one, is to try and get more than 6k fans to that arena for mid-week games. He’s also going to have to start attracting local kids. SEC, ACC, and even Big 12 and Big 10 rosters are littered with GA kids. Tons of hoops talent in this state. he has to keep some of those guys home. That’s a tall task.

Greg

April 23rd, 2010
3:11 pm

Come to UK and be part of some great teams over the next few years!

ormewood

April 23rd, 2010
3:23 pm

And have an entirely new set of teammates every year!

Michael

April 23rd, 2010
3:30 pm

Education ? Kentucky, Alabama, Clemson…..are you kidding me ?

Dawg Fan in Grayson

April 23rd, 2010
3:30 pm

Fear the Fox!!!! That’s all I’m saying.

@ dawg fan in Grayson

April 23rd, 2010
3:37 pm

NO ONE is worried about much leff “fears” Mark Fox (at least while he is coaching uGA basketball)

@ dawg fan in Grayson

April 23rd, 2010
3:37 pm

NickJ0321

April 23rd, 2010
3:39 pm

Mark Fox will not get him…he is an irrelevant coach on an irrellevant program…sorry dawgs maybe in 5 years if he ever gets above .500 in the SEC (which is not even an accomplishment because the SEC is far far from a basketball conference)…enough said about that…
Hopefully GT will get him, but we don’t want him if he’s one and done

jackyldo

April 23rd, 2010
3:43 pm

so This kid is not a 1 year and done type player,,, That would make the local schools more of a favorite Kentucky is going to get about 2 years out of Calipari and then jump to his next dream,, He left UMass in shambles and before the year is out we’ll find he did the same with Memphis..

If you want an education and a future in B Ball son go to UGA — Tech my teach you academics but Hewitt is not a good B Ball coach.

NickJ0321

April 23rd, 2010
3:46 pm

Jackyldo – do you really think that the UGA (LMAO) basketball program can offer a kid more than the GT program does? If so, you are delusional.

Oldschool Clemson

April 23rd, 2010
3:48 pm

While Clemson may not be where GA Tech is academically, you cannot fairly lump it together with Kentucky and Alabama. The SEC – with the exception of Vandy, UF and yes, UGA – is an academic wasteland. And as impressive as UK’s one-and-done 800 SAT guys appeared for most of last season, you have to remember they were in the SEC – a conference where the division champion and SEC tournament runner-up did not even make the Big Dance and lost in the second round of the NIT to a (barely) middle of the pack ACC team.

If Thornton is serious about both academics AND basketball, then I have to believe that his top two choices are Tech and Clemson. He really can’t lose picking either one. At this point, I think it comes down to the campus environments and the coaching staffs. As far as the campus environment, I would rather my kid not live in a major city during college. I’d rather my kid go to Princeton than Columbia or Yale (a great school but New Haven is Hell on Earth), rather him go to UVA than Georgetown. I think there is something to be said for going to college in a college town, but that’s just me. As far as coaching staffs go, its a pretty good bet Brownell will be at Clemson for at least the next four years. Hewitt? I am not so sure about that.

82Dawg

April 23rd, 2010
4:00 pm

Go Big Blue

April 23rd, 2010
12:00 pm

UK will get him if we decide we need him. If not you can have our left overs.

So you are saying if he does not choose UK it was because yall did not want him? Why did UK offer then? What a JOKE!!!

bruce mac

April 23rd, 2010
4:30 pm

GT BBall, is that supposed to make sense. Any successful coach at Yech would leave, why wouldn’t he and I still can’t think of any leaving except the moron that lied on his resume and you all were too stupid to check him out. DUH I guess all of you idiot ACC BBall fans have forgotten that the SEC had 2 teams in Elite Eight. Yea, that is a horrible conference. Do you ever know what you are talking about?

ormewood

April 23rd, 2010
5:16 pm

Five of the last ten national champs are ACC teams. The vaunted “Big Blue” of Kentucky has not been to a Final Four since 1998.