As of Tuesday morning, this was Duke’s conundrum at point guard heading into next season: no Quinn Cook (graduating), no Tyus Jones (early NBA Draft entry). Returning to the team is Grayson Allen, a future NBA pick indeed, but a square-peg-round-hole proposition at point guard for the Blue Devils.
But by Tuesday afternoon, the team’s situation and outlook changed — for the better. Derryck Thornton, one of the best point guard prospects in the country, verbally committed to Mike Krzyzewski’s program. Multiple outlets, including 247Sports, reported the news.
“Last night, the Duke staff flew to Las Vegas to have an in-home visit with Findlay point guard.
‘It was all good. Coach K is a good man with a great staff,’ Tank Thornton, father and longtime coach of Derryck Thornton said to Adam Rowe.
Today, the Blue Devils landed their point guard of the future. Duke coach Jon Scheyer was instrumental in landing the five-star point guard, Derryck Thornton, Jr.”
It’s a little surprising considering this twist: Thornton will not wait until 2016 to make his college debut. In verbally pledging Duke, he reclassified his graduating year from 2016 to 2015, and will hustle to fulfill all his credits at prep school in order to graduate and qualify for acceptance into Duke. Thornton, a five-star prospect who may just be the best pure point guard in the class of 2015, appears to be on pace to be eligible come this fall.
Thornton is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound player from California who’s adept on defense, has a reliable jump shot and is lengthy for his size. Plus: he passes it well, of course.
Duke is also bringing in five-star prospects Chase Jeter (power forward) and Luke Kennard (shooting guard). This certainly makes the ACC very strong at the top again, and it means Duke will have realistic expectations from within at reaching another Final Four. And the Blue Devils are still chasing a 2015 five-star small forward prospect in Brandon Ingram, who’s also being courted by Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, Kentucky and NC State.
As for now, we rank the Blue Devils 12th overall in our Ridiculously Early Top 25 (and one).