2016 point guard Thornton headed for UK visit after Top 100 Camp

broberts@herald-leader.comJune 19, 2014 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — As soon as he's done carving up defenses at the NBPA Top 100 camp, Derryck Thornton plans to jump in the car and head for Lexington.

The class of 2016 point guard from high school powerhouse Findlay Prep in Nevada could be the next top recruit to earn a scholarship offer from John Calipari.

Thornton got a call from the UK coach on June 15 — the first day colleges were allowed to directly contact players from the 2016 class — and the pair spoke for about 20 minutes.

Calipari intimated that an offer could be coming soon. The interest is mutual.

"I'm very interested in Kentucky," Thornton said. "Coach Cal does a great job with point guards ... and pretty much everybody (else). He gets guys to the league, so I want to go out there this weekend and get a good feel for how the players like it and all that."

Thornton — a 6-foot-1 prospect — was one of the standouts during the first day of the Top 100 Camp, averaging 6.0 assists in 24.5 minutes over his first two games. His assist total was the second highest in the camp, and his highlight-reel passes were second to none.

"He's so skilled. And he's a leader," said Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels. "I think the best thing about Derryck is he knows how to run a team. He can facilitate. He can get guys in the right spots. And he's going to find them. But then, if he needs to make an open jump shot, he can do that too.

"He's one of the best point guard prospects in that 2016 class."

Scout.com ranks him as the No. 11 overall prospect in the class, and it appears that he will be the first point guard from that group to earn a UK offer.

Thornton said Calipari told him that he wants to get him on UK's campus first so he can extend that offer personally.

The plan is for Thornton and his father to get to Lexington late Saturday night and spend all day Sunday and part of Monday visiting with Calipari and touring the campus.

The two sides are already well acquainted.

Derryck Thornton Sr. was the high school coach of Enes Kanter, who committed to and signed with Kentucky in 2010 but was not allowed to play for the Cats because of NCAA eligibility rules.

Thornton Sr. has had nothing but good things to say about Calipari since that recruitment, and he and his son had already been following the UK coach before Kanter picked the Wildcats.

The younger Thornton said he started watching Calipari when he had Derrick Rose at Memphis, then rattled off a list of some of his top point guards. "I loved John Wall," Thornton concluded.

Perhaps he'll be a name on that list someday.

Thornton recently wrapped up an unofficial visit to Michigan and also has offers from Florida, Arizona, UConn and other top programs. Duke and Louisville are among the others that would like him to visit.

The Los Angeles native didn't mention any favorites, but it's clear that a scholarship offer from UK would be a big deal.

And, as good as he already is, there are still two more years for Thornton to get even better.

"The thing about Derryck — he's been on a national stage since the beginning," Daniels said. "He's played up (in age group). He played at Findlay this past year. And he's a really hard worker. He's a gym rat, so he's only going to get better."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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