Five-star point guard Derryck Thornton has decided to play basketball for Duke next season.
Thornton will reclassify from 2016 to 2015, which will allow him to graduate high school this year and suit up immediately for the Blue Devils. ESPN’s Paul Biancardi first reported the news of his commitment, and Thornton’s father confirmed it to the Herald-Leader.
Kentucky was considered one of the favorites in Thornton’s recruitment, and he was the first point guard from the class of 2016 to receive a UK scholarship offer.
Reclassification to 2015 became increasingly more likely in recent weeks, and Thornton had narrowed his choices to Duke and Louisville if he decided to go that route. He was supposed to visit U of L next month.
Last week, UK extended a scholarship offer to class of 2016 point guard Kobi Simmons, and he is now likely to emerge as the Cats’ No. 1 target at that position. The UK coaching staff also reached out to North Carolina point guard Dennis Smith last week. Both of those players are considered top-five prospects.
UK will have two talented point guards on next season’s roster — sophomore Tyler Ulis and freshman Isaiah Briscoe — and neither of those players is a lock to go to the NBA in 2016.
Scout.com ranks Thornton as the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2016. Scout’s director of recruiting Evan Daniels said Tuesday that Thornton would be considered the No. 1 point guard in the final class of 2015 rankings.
Duke’s roster next season is also expected to include perimeter players Matt Jones, Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard, and frontcourt players Amile Jefferson, Marshall Plumlee, Sean Obi and Chase Jeter.
The Blue Devils are also considered the favorites to land five-star small forward Brandon Ingram, who is now ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2015 by ESPN. He will announce his decision Monday, and he’s also considering UK, North Carolina, Kansas, N.C. State and UCLA.
Read more UK basketball recruiting news at Next Cats.