Duke will rely on Derryck Thornton Jr. and Luke Kennard — two five-star guards from the Class of 2015 — this season in the back court, playing alongside Grayson Allen and Matt Jones.
On Thursday night, Thornton, the only true point guard on the roster, cleared the 6-foot-5 Kennard for a one-handed dunk. The right hand may have helped Thornton complete the slam, but it’s still impressive athleticism for floor general known for his high IQ.
Earlier this offseason, Brandon Ingram, the team’s top incoming freshman, showed off his hops in vertical jump testing, leaving his teammates stunned.
Duke opens the 2015-16 season on Nov. 13 against Siena.
Two teams looking to shore up their point guard situations this spring are Duke and Louisville, with both having some personnel issues to address in advance of the 2015-16 season. As a result of this need at the point, both have been recruiting Findlay Prep point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. and hoping to convince him to reclassify to the 2015 class (subscription required) according to Josh Gershon of Scout.com.
One of the top players in the Class of 2016, Thornton would give either program a significant boost at the point should he decide to make the move to 2015.
In the case of Louisville, head coach Rick Pitino has to account for the loss of sophomore Terry Rozier who has decided to enter the 2015 NBA Draft. With Quentin Snider returning for his sophomore season, the Cardinals also add Cleveland State transfer Trey Lewis and freshmen Donovan Mitchell and Ryan McMahon to the perimeter rotation but another option wouldn’t hurt at all.
Duke’s situation is slightly different than that of Louisville, and how much of a need the national champions will have at the point has yet to be determined. Tyus Jones is still working through the process of making a decision regarding the 2015 NBA Draft, and should he leave Mike Krzyzewski would be left without a clear answer at the point for next season.
One would assume that Duke would also look into possible graduate student additions in hopes of adding some depth to a position that wouldn’t have it even if Jones were to return to school for his sophomore season.
Should Thornton remain in the Class of 2016 he has a list of ten schools still under consideration according to Gershon’s report, with Duke and Louisville among those as well. Arizona, California, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, NC State, UNLV and USC are the other schools per the report.
Derryck Thornton has been emerging with a strong month of June at the NBPA Top 100 Camp and the Stephan Curry Camp to end the month.
The class of 2016 point guard has moved up the No. 11 in Rivals.com’s Class of 2016 rankings and the 6-foot-1 guard will be a player to one in the month of July. As a premier 2016 player and one of the best point guards in the country regardless of class, he’ll have a lot of college coaches watching him.
(H/T: Courtside Films)