Five-star point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. ‘loves’ Michigan, considering early decision

Dylan Burkhardt

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

“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.”

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  • kam

    big long rangy 6’2 PG who possibly is still growing? i like it!

  • Wayman Britt

    Mr. Beilein:

    On Sunday call Thornton first give him an offer, than immediately call Tyus and offer him. Would love to see those two become Wolverines together.

  • JimmyZ5

    Well this is good news…

  • CarlBleich

    What a great pull this would be.

  • mistersuits

    We want ALL the Derrick/Derryck’s!

  • MGoBlueAdam

    Sure would love him to commit early and start recruiting guys like Battle and Leaf.. Really positive article.. Awesome stuff

  • Jersey Jay

    Would love to see him wearing Maize and Blue. Super talent, but even better is he’s a gym rat.

  • Northern Blue

    Come to Michigan and be in the NBA after your sophomore year with as many game reps of pick and roll you can handle.

    If Beilein can haul in any 2 of Battle, Leaf or Thornton it won’t even be fair anymore. Look at what he has done with way less.

    • ben

      How about all three!!! Even though that’s asking for a TON, and is highly unlikely, it is far from impossible, especially since I have a feeling Thornton and Battle may attend school together, no matter what.

      • JimmyZ5

        Way Too Early (and seriously optimistic) 2016-17 Roster:
        C – Donnal (r.Jr), Doyle (Jr)
        4 – DJ Wilson (Jr), Leaf (Fr)
        3 – Chatman (Jr), Dawkins (Jr)
        2 – Irvin (Sr), Battle (Fr)
        1 – Walton (Sr), Thornton (Fr)

        Doesn’t even account for the fact that basically everyone on this roster can play multiple positions. With the exception of Doyle and the PGs, they’d all have 2-4 potential. Doesn’t include MAAR (or Hatch), or whoever we add in ’15. Doesn’t account for early departures…which we could probably absorb in this situation.

        If we can get Thornton to commit early, I think that gives us tremendous flexibility in ’15. Jalen Coleman or Eric Davis become ideal pickups because they’re ‘scoring guards’ who could fit in next to Walton/Thornton, or play PG when called upon. Some talented bulk would be a need too. Obviously this is a simplified ’15 wish list accounting for the distant future. Coaches will do what they need to in order to make ’15-16 just as successful.

        Maybe I should wait for these trees to fruit before getting excited for a season three years in the future. Oh well.

        • countourzealous

          I don’t think Battle is coming here. And based on history, Irvin or Walton will go to the NBA prior to their senior season (Irvin more likely).

          • JimmyZ5

            Maybe not. I admit I’m getting a little greedy there, but Battle does have us as a leader. He’s coming off a visit that he loves and one of his best friends is close to committing.

          • countourzealous

            Jimmy, I hope you’re right.

        • Cory

          So we’re getting shut out in 2015?

          • JimmyZ5

            Nope, I address it twice in my post. “Whoever we get in ’15” and “Thornton gives us great flexibility for ’15”

  • Chezaroo

    We are so due to cash in on some of these blue-chips that we have the “supposed” early lead on. The near misses of the last couple of years have left us all hungry for a bigger bite of the recruiting pie. We always do well with the raw unidentified under the radar kids that JB projects out so well, but there is a reason we have went after kids like Booker, Kennard, ( jury still out on Coleman and Brunson ) and others. That reason being, TALENT. Who knows how this will play out, Thornton is two and a half years away from enrolling, but it looks promising. But we have been here before and left wanting. This could be the breakthrough “name” that leads to others following so it can not be underestimated. Here’s hoping it comes to fruition. If it does we will have to fight off so many Vultures the next two years, it will look like the Serengeti! Hope it happens!

  • Rt

    His best visit…means he’s going elsewhere….

  • Frank Chuck

    The 2012 Michigan recruiting class of Spike Albrecht, Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, Glenn Robinson, and Mitch McGary appears to have 4 NBA players on it.

    – Stauskas will likely go lottery.
    – Robinson should go in the 1st round.
    – McGary might sneak into the 1st round (if the Thunder, Heat, or Spurs take a chance on him in the late 20s.)
    – LeVert is being projected as a top-5 pick in the 2015 Draft.

    While it didn’t receive the hype of the Fab Five class, the 2012 definitely came close to achieving back-2-back Final Fours. And it did 2 things the Fab Five class didn’t do: (1) win a conference regular season title and (2) produce a conference PotY.

    Perhaps the 2016 class will be another 5 (or maybe 6) man class that will be filled with multiple future pros…

    PG – Derryck Thornton?
    SG – Tyus Battle?
    SF – Seth Towns? Ben Coupet Jr.?
    PF – TJ Leaf? Matthew Moyer?
    C – Jon Teske?

    • Fab 5 Legends

      that would be quite the recruiting class…I really hope that is the case… I would be happy with 3 of those players

  • countourzealous

    This would be a keystone recruit for Beilein. Imagine what he could do with our system. Beilein’s system is a dream for a point guard and this kid has insane skills. All things point Blue and this would probably be the most exciting recruit I’ve ever seen Beilein pick up.

    • countourzealous

      Disqus sucks. I tried to delete this because of mass hyperbole. DELETE

  • mikey_mac

    Easy to see why UM loves him. Endless agility and handle. Almost feels like a reaction to Walton, as compared to Burke … JB and staff may have realized that Burke’s shooting and defense (i.e. Walton’s strengths) were less important than his ability to break down a defense and carry the playmaking load. Thornton shows all of the latter plus some extra size for good measure.

    • countourzealous

      Thorton could do so much damage in Beilein’s system. It’s seriously a point guard’s dream. For me, Thorton would be the most exciting recruit since McGary; and in certain aspects, more exciting.

  • Kenny

    Anyone know how Battle and Thornton become friends. They lived far away from each other. Even Thornton commit early, which seems to be a good possibility now, I am not optimistic on Battle, who seems to be very enthusiastic about Kentucky. IMO, we have a better chance with Leaf than Battle.

  • gobluenyc

    I really want him because he kinda looks like Trey.

  • jkuofm27

    Is UM still in on Josh Jackson?

    • People seem to keep asking about him. There’s not much (any?) mutual interest in that department. Most expect Josh Jackson to go out of state.