IT’S OFFICIAL: AJC’s Mr. Basketball is member of Georgia Bulldogs after first day of classes

When the AJC’s Mr. Basketball attended his first day of college classes on Friday, he officially became  a member of the Georgia Bulldogs.

AJC's Mr. Basketball officially became UGA recruit after attending first day of Friday's college classes (AJC)

AJC's Mr. Basketball officially became UGA recruit after attending first day of Friday's college classes (AJC)

Westlake High’s Marcus Thornton committed to UGA on May 18, and signed non-binding athletic grant-in-aid papers the same day. Because Thornton had signed a letter-of-intent with Clemson last November — and later was released after the departure of coach Oliver Purnell, Thornton was prevented from signing a second LOI with another school in the same calendar year under NCAA rules.

In other words, despite Thornton’s commitment to Georgia two weeks ago, he was eligible to pick another college until attending his first day of summer school. Thornton reported to Georgia for summer-session orientation last Monday, and then began classes on Friday, which made him a binding member of the UGA’s 2010 basketball recruiting classes, according to the school’s director of compliance, Eric Baumgartner. (For the record, Thornton never considered changing his mind after announcing UGA)

The 6-foot-7 Thornton is one of the most heralded prospects to ever sign with UGA, turning down offers from Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Texas and Memphis, among others. He is expected to contribute for immediate playing time at power foward.

“Marcus is loving it over there in Athens,” said his father, Billy Thornton. “He feels really comfortable at Georgia, and is good friends with some other incoming freshmen he played basketball with over the years [UGA football recruits Alec Ogletree of Newnan and T.J. Stripling of Southwest DeKalb]. We haven’t heard much from him since he left for Georgia … which tells us he is really enjoying it.”

RELATED — Georgia’s top high school BASEBALL players prepare for Monday’s MLB Draft: According to major-league scouts, this projects to be one of the strongest classes for Georgia high school players in years. Here are top prospects for the the June 7 draft:

Home-schooled pitcher Connor Mason of Suwanee intrigues (Played with projected No. 1 Bryce Harper on Team USA)

Blessed Trinity OF Jake Skole (Georgia Tech football OR MLB?)

Cook RHP Kaleb Cowart: Georgia’s No. 1 HS pitcher throws 97 mph, but has heart set on 3B

Woodward CF Delino DeShields (The first Georgia HS player to be drafted???)

Marietta CF Chevez Clarke (The five-tool player? Enough power?)

North Gwinnett 3B Chris Hawkins (Mr. Clutch with 32-game hitting streak to end year)

Wheeler OF Dale Carey (Another first-rounder from Cobb school?)

Collins Hill LHP James Buckelew (The next American Idol? Just gets people out)

36 comments Add your comment

jp dawg

June 5th, 2010
11:01 am

welcome aboard, this team looks like a great tourney style team. With depth to burn and star power

shane

June 5th, 2010
1:47 pm

Cue the he sucks comments from Tech fans. In 3 …. 2….. 1……

Football Fan

June 5th, 2010
2:15 pm

Georgia will compete for the Final Four in 2012. Their next recruiting class is supposed to be off the charts. They are finalists for several 5 star prospects and Mark Fox seems to be great at developing talent.

SaintSimons

June 5th, 2010
3:12 pm

uga wont make the field at the end of the year. keep dreaming.

Reality

June 5th, 2010
3:44 pm

@shane -

Don’t think Tech fans would say ‘he sucks.’ Maybe he ‘isn’t too bright’ for selecting ugag. Maybe ‘let’s see if he can stay out of jail in Athens, first.’ Maybe, ‘what class is he taking now – recreational sports?’

Saint Clarkston

June 5th, 2010
3:58 pm

Better than being an industrial mgmt major. Turn conveyor belt on, turn conveyor belt off.

BobDawg

June 5th, 2010
4:18 pm

Cmon Guys, Give the North Avenue Trade School folks a break here…….Ha.

Saying for the day: My Get Up & Go Got Up and Went……..

TROTTINGHOME

June 5th, 2010
5:01 pm

All you peeps who said Thorton wouldn’t start at Kentucky(probation coming to that program within 2 years)…and were alluding to him being a bench player at some of the other schools…eat my dust.

Delbert D.

June 5th, 2010
5:22 pm

I think it’s great that Thornton enrolled for the summer. That ensures that he will have 2 semesters completed before the NFL draft, instead of the typical 1. I’m not taking a swipe at Marcus; I hope he stays and does well. The knock is on the NBA and their corrupt practice of the one-and-done policy.

joe

June 5th, 2010
5:23 pm

should have went to memphis 2 play with jelan…………but this is better now he will prob start as a freshmen

GT is for Losers!!!

June 5th, 2010
6:12 pm

I’m amazed how Tech fans talk trash when they are beaten by basketball players who are two or three stars. Then when we start getting better players they still say they suck. WOW. Comon Nerds. Think about it.

destin dawg

June 5th, 2010
6:48 pm

sports in general in on an upbeat note in Athens .. a great school in a great college town.. good looking girls.. State pride !!

KY Jilly

June 5th, 2010
6:58 pm

Hey Marcus, watch out for those pop quizzes. Make sure you know how many players are on a basketball team (five) and how many points you get if you make a three-point shot (three).

Does UGA still use Jim Harrington’s quizzes? ;-)

Greg

June 5th, 2010
7:01 pm

I’m glad we picked up Thornton and I’m sure he will be a very good player; however, it’s a huge stretch to call him “one of the most heralded prospects ever to sign with Georgia”. If you look at just our existing players, Trey Thompkins was #30 nationally out of high school, Jeremy Price was #56 and Chris Barnes and Travis Leslie were both top 100 guys. Thornton isn’t even on most top 100 lists.

With Ware, Gerald Robinson, Leslie, Thompkins and Price, he isn’t going to start this year. He might get 15 minutes or so per game and then his role will increase significantly in his Soph year. Barnes, Thornton, the JC shooter and the other FR big men will add depth to at least give the starters a rest when needed. That’s what killed UGA last year. We were winning a large percentage of our games in the final 5-10 minutes and just wore down.

This is going to be a big year for UGA hoops. At least a Sweet 16 run and then Thompkins and Leslie will be 1st round picks. Won’t be hard for Fox to keep the momentum going from there. Believe it.

Cobb Dawg

June 5th, 2010
7:08 pm

I will admit that I don’t attend high school basketball games. I would like to know what kind of game can we expect from Marcus Thornton. What are his strengths and weaknesses (if any). I’m excited that we got the best player in the state to sign with UGA.

BobDawg

June 5th, 2010
8:36 pm

Greg, good post, plus who cares how many “stars” the recruits have??? Coach Fox has already proven he coaches guys up…

harold

June 5th, 2010
8:46 pm

FACT:GEORGIA IS NOT COMMITTED TO BASKETBALL!
FACT:GEORGIA HASN’T WON 20 GAMES IN A SEASON FOR YEARS!
FACT:GEORGIA WAS LAST IN THE SEC.
FACT:KENTUCKY,TENNESSEE, AND FLORIDA WERE 24-0 AGAINST THE SEC WEST!
FACT:GEORGIA LOSES STUDS IN FOOTBALLK & BASKETBALL TO CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS
FACT:WHILE ALL OTHER SEC SCHOOLS BUILD NEW ARENAS GEORGIA IS IN LOVE WITH THE 1955 STEGEMAN:
FACT: MARK FOX LOOKS LIKE HE WOULD BE A GREAT COMPUTER SCIENTIST:
FACT:KENTUCKY AND TENNESSEE DIDN’T EVEN RECRUIT THIS GUY!
FACT:GEORGIA REMAINS UNCOMMITTED TO BASKETBALL!

weatherdog

June 5th, 2010
9:07 pm

Fact: Harold is a moron!

CONFEDERATE DAWG

June 5th, 2010
9:12 pm

KY YA DUMMY, HIS NAME WAS JIM HARRICK

JUST BEAT THE GAYTORS

bruce mac

June 5th, 2010
9:34 pm

Harold, why are you obsessed with the Dawgs? Did you get kicked off the team for being a quitter? Go Dawgs.

GATORSTUD

June 5th, 2010
10:18 pm

Love it – UGA is picking up the pace in basketball. Fox is a keeper and will have the dawgs competing in a couple years. SEC East is going to be stout the next few years. I imagine Calipari will have UK on probation soon, but in the meantime ALL SEC East schools have legit shots at making the tourney next year. Mighty gators are a lock, of course.

greg

June 5th, 2010
10:38 pm

Harold, Harold, Harold, your anger and jealousy prevents you from seeing the real facts….
- UGA is committed to hoops(though we admittedly haven’t been in the past). A multi-million dollar renovation of Stegeman will be finished prior to next season. UGA does not need a new arena at this point. With the renovations done to Stegeman, it will be just fine for the next 5-10 years. New arena’s don’t win championships….Rupp Arena is now almost 35 years old. Has that hurt UK? What has South Carolina done since they built their new arena?
- UGA did not finish last in the SEC. LSU did.
- Mark Fox is a great person and a great coach and anyone with any objectivity knows that.
- Kentucky most certainly did offer Thornton. He visited their campus and it was only a few weeks ago that their message boards were showing video clips of him and hoping that he would come on board in Lexington.
- Bruce Pearl is sweating UGA’s emergence big time. A strong UGA(and GT, for that matter) hurts UT immensely with their recruiting efforts in Georgia.

CATSOWNSEC

June 6th, 2010
8:54 am

thens in football..

CATSOWNSEC

June 6th, 2010
8:59 am

Thornton nice player but UK after much higher ranked players…..he will fit right in at UGA…

mike

June 6th, 2010
10:07 am

Never seen so many haters on a high school player. What wrong? You guys never had the skills to play so you hate on some kid trying to do something positive in life. You morons need to get your own life.

KevinM

June 6th, 2010
12:05 pm

Football fan – UGA in Final 4 in 2012 – your sig says it all.
Can you give us the list which 5 stars are considering UGA or are you talking football?

Greg- A Sweet Sixteen this year? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to see them get to the upper portion of the SEC East. While I like Fox, he still has a long way to go to having his team in the Sweet 16.

Gatorstud you aren’t dissing Cal because you don’t like him are you? Easy jab for a guy who continues to watch Donovan recruits go elsewhere including former players. Wouldn’t you like to have Brandon Knight on your roster right now?

Georgia will be better this year; Thorntion should start for a team that doesn’t have a lot of depth. Perhaps he made the best choice for him, time will tell. But a winning record should be first of the wish list, then you can shoot for higher hopes.

I gotta hear which 5-stars are looking at Athens to play basketball!

HeBe

June 6th, 2010
12:32 pm

Must be a communication major.

fracturedesign

June 6th, 2010
3:29 pm

There are two five star recruits considering UGA accorging to Scout. Dai-Jon Parker and Caldwell are both considered five stars. You don’t have to like it but learn to respect Fox and his hounds!

Sirius

June 6th, 2010
5:42 pm

So what course is the kid taking… Jim Harrington’s Basketball 101?

Quick – how many points do you get if you make a three-point shot?

What a joke. Nothing has changed in all the years since Saint Jan Kemp exposed the athletics at UGA as a fraud.

One big party school.

harold

June 6th, 2010
6:52 pm

LOOK AT RIVALS AND YOU WILL SEE THAT GREAT PLAYERS LEAVE THE PEACH STATE IN DROVES.FOX WASN’T EVEN IN THE TOP 50 IN RECRUITING! THE CATS WERE FIRST AND TENNESSEE WAS 8. SOUTH CAROLINA WAS IN THE TOP 25. GEORGIA WAS NOT EVEN IN THE TOP 50. GOT TO RIVALS AND SCOUT AND GET THE FACTS. I WILL GIVE GEORGIA CREDIT IN LADY’S SOFTBALL ALTHOUGH TENNESSEE BEAT THEM TOO JUST YESTERDAY. GEORGIA IS AVERAGE IN FOOTBALL AND WAY BELOW AVERAGE IN BASKETBALL. THEY ARE GREAT IN LADY’S SOFTBALL AND TENNIS! SIC EM!

Dr.Phil

June 6th, 2010
7:51 pm

harold, YOU HAVE SOME SERIOUS ISSUES!

Phil Steele

June 6th, 2010
7:57 pm

harold, Do you know what the word average means? I suggest you visit my web site and check out “fun facts”. You will learn that UGA is and always has been a top college football program. One or two bad seasons is not the measure of a program. And, falling short of programs like Alabama and Florida hardly makes you average.

T.O

June 6th, 2010
8:12 pm

Big pickup for the Dawgs. The hoops program is on the rise. For all those UGA haters out there, the Dawgs have a top 5 athletic program(grey cup) every year so just learn to accept it.

harold

June 6th, 2010
9:16 pm

When all you UGA fans respond to me, I sit wearing only my leather panties and whip myself with a leather whip.

harold

June 6th, 2010
9:18 pm

I AM SUCH A TROLL!!!!!

Southside Dawg

June 6th, 2010
10:30 pm

Saw Marcus Thornton play a couple times in high school at Westlake. Dawg fans we are in for a treat. Hopefully he will stay at least two years before going to the league. Can not wait for the next couple years with Thornton and Donte Williams teaming together for the Dawgs. Both come from winning AAU and high school programs. UGA will be a major player in the SEC and NCAA tournament.