Stephen Turner calls Duke commitment Tyler Thornton one of the best defensive guards he has seen in the country.
“He’s very tenacious on the ball, does a great job disrupting the other teams point guard,” said Turner, who coaches Thornton at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.
Thornton will play with his D.C. Assault club team at gyms throughout the Triangle this weekend at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. The D.C. Assault roster also includes Josh Hairston of Spotsylvania, Va., a 6-foot-8 forward prospect who has committed to Duke.
The team opens play at 8 p.m. today at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. There, Thornton will be able to show Blue Devil fans the skills that could help him fill a position that’s been a sore spot for years for Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Thornton will be a freshman in 2010-2011, and his disruptive skills could make him an ideal fit for a Krzyzewski defensive scheme that relies on pressure.
“That was one of his main focuses and why he enjoyed looking at me and getting me to come to his school,” Thornton said by telephone from his high school last week.
Turner raves about Thornton’s leadership ability. The coach said Thornton likes to distribute the ball first, but isn’t afraid to take the ball and the game into his hands when necessary.
He is a good rebounder for his size (6-foot-2), and Turner said his teammates enjoy playing with him.
“He’s got that million dollar smile,” Turner said. “He could be the president of his class. I describe him as a guy that in the school could be the president at Princeton and on the court could be one of the defensive hawks and plays with the defensive intensity that you saw in those old Arkansas and UNLV teams.” – Ken Tysiac