The AJC’s Mr. Basketball got to meet one of his “all-time favorite basketball players” during his recruiting trip to Texas.
Westlake High’s Marcus Thornton has narrowed down to four schools, and has visited Alabama and Texas. He is expected to travel to UGA and Georgia Tech this week and announce his college decision by May 21.
When Thornton went to Texas last Monday, he got to meet and greet T.J. Ford, guard for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.
“ It was really exciting having him spend much of the morning with me just talking about the kind of things you should be looking for in college recruiting,” Thornton said in an email.
“I was really impressed that so many of former Texas players (in the NBA) come back to UT to train in the summer. Guys like Kevin Durant, T. J. Ford, D. J. Augustine and LaMarcus Aldridge are (donating) money so that they can have their own locker room at Texas during the summer.”
The 6-foot-7 Thornton has declined to name a leader among his finalists, saying his wants to finish his visits. Texas was considered a longshot for Thornton, but the Longhorns appear to be gaining ground in a hurry.
Texas is much farther away from home than Thornton’s three other remaining schools. What about that? ”Distance from home is not as much a factor for me as people think. As a matter of fact, it can be helpful by getting you out of your comfort zone and helping you grow up more quickly.”
What about the reputation that Texas has for being a “football-only” school?
“We were concerned that Texas might be basically a football school,” said Thornton’s father, Billy. “The school president told us that he attends almost all of the basketball home games. I was impressed that Texas (basketball) had all of the staff, equipment and facilities that you could ever ask for.”
The 6-foot-7 Thornton is one of college basketball’s hottest free agents after a monster senior year at Westlake. He averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds, while leading his team to the championship game of the state’s largest classification. Thornton was selected as the AJC’s Mr. Basketball for being Georgia’s No. 1 player this past season.
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