In South Carolina’s mid-afternoon game against #25 Baylor, Sindarius Thornwell used the national stage to showcase his ability, dropping 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals, while willing his team to within 3 points of a victory. Thornwell did a little bit of everything on offense; working in the post, getting into the lane, and connecting on 7 of his 10 free throw attempts. He brought the same intensity to the defensive end, where he played suffocating defense and forced several turnovers. Thornwell is a versatile player on the perimeter who can rack up points in a hurry, and if he can add a more consistent shot from deep, he has the ability to be a first round pick in the future.
A 4-star recruit coming out of Oak Hill Academy (VA), he possesses prototypical size at the 2-guard posiiton, as well as the vision and passing ability to play a little point guard. The most impressive part of Thornwell’s game is his first step. Combined with his handle and strength, Thornwell’s deceptive quickness allows him to consistently beat his man and get high percentage shots around the rim. He displays a solid mid-range game, creating space for his jumper with his crossover and hesitation moves.
Known as an aggressive guard who used his strength to his advantage in the high school ranks, Thornwell has brought that tenacity with him to the next level, and is excelling as a result. On defense, Thornwell utilizes his 6’5” frame and 6’9” wingspan to play the passing lanes and close out on shooters. With the lateral quickness and agility to defend three positions, Thornwell has the potential to be a lock-down defender. He is a good shot-blocker, displaying great timing on his jump and the ability to chase down opponents in transition.
At this point in his development, Thornwell’s biggest weaknesses are his efficiency from three-point range, and his left-handed dribbling. Thornwell is reliable from mid-range, and can hit the occasional wide-open three, but he could take his game to another level by improving his accuracy from behind the arc. As a scorer, Thornwell’s strength and quick first-step will allow him to dominate in the SEC, but in order to prepare for the next level, he needs to hone his ball-handling skills and become more effective driving to the left. As he continues to round out his game, Thornwell’s progression as a scorer will be they key to his NBA Draft stock.
After his standout performance against the #25 Baylor Bears, Thornwell’s next big game is December 6th, when the Gamecocks travel to Stillwater, OK to take on Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash of the #8 Oklahoma State Cowboys. We will learn a lot more about the South Carolina freshman once conference play begins, as Thornwell will have the opportunity to face Michael Frazier of Florida, Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss, Robert Hubbs of Tennessee, and Aaron Harrison of Kentucky. He is just now popping up on NBA radars, and it will be a long time until Thornwell a legitimate prospect. If he stays in school and works on expanding his game, Sindarius Thornwell has the natural scoring ability and versatility to be a first rounder in the near future.
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