Andy Enfield’s team got a big piece to the puzzle on Friday, with former five-star recruit and Duke point guard Derryck Thornton transferring to USC.
The news of Derryck Thornton’s impending transfer was broken by Josh Gershon of Scout, who sat down with him. Not surprisingly, the winning factor on Thornton picking USC over powerhouse Kansas was a combination of the coaching staff and the location.
Thornton is a Southern California kid, signing with Duke as a five-star point guard out of Chattsworth.
Though he will have to sit out the 2016-17 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Thornton will be worth the wait for the Trojans, who have lost a bevy of talent and program momentum this offseason.
Since making their first NCAA Tournament under Enfield, USC saw Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic depart for the NBA Draft, while four different players have opted to to transfer out of the program.
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Delayed eligibility means Thornton can’t directly make up for those losses, but he could wind up being a cornerstone for a program needing stability that matches their talent.
A player of his caliber should bring just that, should a scenery change work in his favor.
Thornton appeared in every game for Duke this past season, finishing with a 7.1 points per game average.
After scoring a season-high 19 points last November against VCU, it looked like he was going to be the next Coach K phenom. But he struggled down the stretch as freshman often do, including netting just nine points in three NCAA Tournament games.
The Trojans will hope he can get back on the right track. If nothing else, his pledge to USC is a bright spot in an offseason of bad news and could be a sign of better things to come in 2016.