Derryck Thornton graduated high school early and reclassified up a year to fill Duke's hole at point guard last season. Now the former five-star recruit is transferring, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, leaving the Blue Devils after one season.
Thornton averaged 7.5 points and 2.5 assists in 26 minutes per game for Duke as a freshman. He played at least 23 minutes in each of Duke's three NCAA Tournament games.
The move raises eyebrows for a few reasons, the first being just how far Duke went to get him in the class of 2015 (rather than the class of 2016 that he spent his entire high school career in) following the departure of Tyus Jones to the NBA Draft. There are a couple other factors at play here, too:
1) Duke is in the mix for Marques Bolden, a five-star center picking between Kentucky and the Blue Devils. Duke was already at its scholarship limit, so it was going to have to make a move to free up a scholarship if Bolden decided to commit. Now that scholarship is open.
2) Duke recruit Frank Jackson was co-MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game and has been very impressive throughout his senior year of high school. Jackson is now in line to become Duke's starter at point guard next season. Did Thornton leave because he believed Jackson was taking his spot?
Thornton is now arguably the biggest talent available on the transfer market. Duke is still going to be loaded next season, but losing Thornton is a blow for its backcourt depth.
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