Good news, round-ball fans: Sindarius Thornwell has committed to South Carolina. It has long been believed by many that Thornwell was a Carolina lean. While he attends Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, he is a South Carolina native with a deep love for his state and its flagship university. However, the commitment is a surprise at this stage, as most expected this recruitment to play out longer, particularly with North Carolina St. gaining a bit of steam as of late. In the end, though, Thornwell decided to return home to play for the Gamecocks.
Thornwell is rated by 247 Sports as the 37th best recruit in this class, and his composite rating is 31. 247 rates his as the nation's eight-best shooting guard, although he's notable for being a versatile player who can play wing and could potentially play point guard. Thornwell's skills are myriad. He's an excellent outside shooter who can create shots either off the dribble or away from the ball. He distributes well off the dribble. He's a fantastic athlete and can hold his own defensively against a variety of different skill sets and athletic molds. In other words, this is the total package.
Thornwell is going to be an impact player who will likely start for three or four years and compete for all-conference honors by the end of his career. He's the highest-rated recruit we've picked up in some time. By comparison, Bruce Ellington and Damien Leonard were at the bottom of the top 100 in the nation, while Damontre Harris was in the 60s, if memory serves. I still think that we're going to need an elite big man or two to make it to the big time even after Thornwell gets on the court (I really wish Martin could have figured out how to keep Harris or Anthony Gill around), but this is a big step in the right direction. We really had to get this guy, considering his affection for the university and his ties to the state, and Frank Martin closed the deal.
One thing to be aware of is that Thornwell is teammates with 2013 wing Troy Williams, another four-star recruit with offers from places like UNC and Louisville. USC has an offer out to Williams, and while he hasn't shown much interest in us yet, it can't hurt to have Thornwell in his ear.