Michigan hosted five-star guard Derryck Thornton on a multi-day visit over the weekend for its annual College Practice Camp and the trip made a significant impact on the dynamic point guard. It was Thornton’s first trip to Ann Arbor, but the visit appeared to answer any questions he had about the Wolverines.
“It was great, I loved everything,” Thornton said during a phone interview on Tuesday night. “The coaching staff was great and they took me around the campus which was very nice. They took me everywhere, I got to see everything and meet some really cool people there. I talked to the players and I played some pick up with the players and I loved it. It was great.”
For Thornton, who listed Michigan, Florida, Miami, USC, Cal, Kentucky and UConn as some of the top schools showing interest lately, the visit and ranked highly among any trips he’s taken thus far in his recruitment.
“It was probably my best visit, it was great,” Thornton reiterated. “The staff did a great job so that was one of my better visits, if not the best one.”
But the bigger question is what comes next for the explosive point guard from California. Michigan extends its first scholarship offers to class of 2016 prospects on Sunday, June 15th and Thornton is expecting a call from the Wolverines.
“I think they’re going to call me on the 15th,” Thornton said, clearly aware of Michigan’s policy. “And we’re going to talk a little bit then.”
That conversation is likely to include a scholarship offer and build off of Thornton’s discussions with the Michigan staff in Ann Arbor. Those talks focused on one thing: how badly Michigan’s coaches want him in Ann Arbor.
“They said they want me bad and they think I’d fit really well in their system,” Thornton said. “They are hoping to get me out there soon and they want me to commit and all of that stuff.”
John Beilein and his staff are pushing for an early commitment and Thornton is well aware of that fact. So aware that he might consider deciding to end his recruitment early.
“I’m going to wait for my dad to get back and we’re going to talk about that soon,” Thornton responded when asked if he’d think about committing early. “I’m not sure, but I think I’m willing to commit and make the early decision.”
Discussions about an early commitment fresh off of a visit to Ann Arbor hint toward the Wolverines, and Thornton admitted that Michigan is at the top of his recruitment.
“[Michigan] is really high up there,” Thornton answered when asked if the Wolverines were his leader. “They are really, really high up there, I love Michigan.”
After the visit during the week, Thornton was one of the standouts of Michigan’s College Practice Camp on Saturday and reflected on his camp experience.
“I feel like I played well,” he said. “They had some really good players up there and one of my best friends, Tyus Battle, was up there so that was cool. The camp was run really well.”
Battle, a five-star guard from New Jersey, was on campus throughout the weekend – a visit that was helped along by Thornton and his family.
“Yeah, we went on the visit together so we were there pretty much the whole time together,” Thornton explained. “I think he loved it just as much as I did.”
Battle’s father, Gary, agreed with Thornton’s assessment of his son’s visit in an interview with ZagsBlog.com.
“Michigan was awesome, we had a great time,” Battle’s father told ZagsBlog. “Tyus really enjoyed the visit. The coaching staff is very thorough. We really enjoyed their presentation and the campus and the way they would use Tyus. Obviously, academically Michigan is something we like a lot.”
Battle is also planning trips to Villanova (Tuesday), Kentucky and Louisville, but Thornton’s upcoming plans are more straightforward. He wasn’t sure of any other visits on the docket, but did share what he’d be looking for in a school.
“Just a good relationship with the coach, style of play and academics,” he said.
The answer jived with his favorite aspect of Michigan’s program.
“I think the (Michigan) coaching staff was very together,” he said. “They felt like a real family.”
Thornton has always been focused more on improving his game than anything else. He played pick up with Michigan’s current players while he was on campus, but then wanted to get some shots up immediately afterward. He spends parts of his summers working out with NBA players and he chose his current AAU team not because of how much exposure they will get on the summer circuit, but because they actually practice.
“I’ve been getting a lot of shots up every day,” Thornton said. “(I’m trying to work on) my shooting and then I’m just working on my floor game, reading picks, my offense and defense and picking up some little stuff.”