USC lands high-profile talent in Duke’s Derryck Thornton Jr.

Duke guard Derryck Thornton Jr. drives past Oregon forward Dillon Brooks for a layup in the first half of the NCAA Tournament West Regional game on March 24.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

After a mass exodus in the off-season, the USC basketball team has finally lured a high-profile talent into the program. Duke point guard Derryck Thornton Jr., a former five-star recruit, has committed to USC, becoming one of the highest-profile Trojan commits in years.

Thornton will sit out next season as a redshirt and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at USC.

More than 600 Division I players announced they would transfer this off-season. Thornton was among the most coveted.

As a freshman, he played in all of Duke’s 36 games, and he started in 20 of them. He averaged 7.1 points and 2.6 assists in 26 minutes per game, and he was a major contributor during the NCAA tournament.


Thornton’s father, Derryck Thornton Sr., announced his son’s decision to

Thornton also had considered Kansas, Washington and Miami. In high school, Thornton played for Sierra Canyon before transferring to Findlay Prep, in Nevada.

USC made the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2011 but lost six players in the off-season. Two, Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic, were starters who left for the draft, and a third, Katin Reinhardt, who started about half of USC’s games, transferred to Marquette. Three role players and reserves, Darion Clark, Malik Martin and Malik Marquetti, also transferred.


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