Just when it looked like Monday would pass without much fanfare, Sindarius Thornwell (Lancaster, S.C./Oak Hill Academy) happened. Ever get that feeling that it’s time to make a decision and you need to get it off your chest immediately? Well, that's what Thornwell did Monday evening.
“I just felt it,” Thornwell said. “I called [N.C. State] Coach [Mark] Gottfried and let him know and I called [South Carolina] Coach Frank [Martin]. To be honest, Frank didn’t even pick up the phone. I had to call an assistant and he called Frank. [Martin] was happy.”
There’s no doubt Martin was excited. He was also likely caught off guard. Thornwell, No. 44 overall in the ESPN 100, committed to Gamecocks a week before he was set to visit N.C. State.
The South Carolina native averaged 24 points a game last season at Lancaster High while Martin was the head coach at Kansas State. Last spring, once Martin came aboard in Columbia, he visited Thornwell on his first day on the job. Their relationship developed, and Martin’s penchant for staring right through his guys resonated with Thornwell.
“I like playing for tough coaches. It makes me play harder," the 6-foot-5, 180-pound shooting guard said. "I like the environment around Coach. He’s got this passion to win, and I love to win, too. From the time I met the guy and got to know him, I liked him.”
The Gamecocks are getting a scorer in Thornwell. Plain and simple, Thornwell puts the ball in the bucket. He’s an excellent slasher with the requisite athleticism and strength to be a factor at the rim.
In the bigger picture, they also get a recruiting win that will be credited within their borders and beyond. Whether he spends his final year of high school eligibility at Oak Hill or not, this is a South Carolina kid who is going to be playing in Columbia. In a state that doesn’t produce a slew of elite basketball players, when you get one, you receive big points for keeping him there.