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Insider

Martin gets his man in ESPN 100 SG

10/1/2012

South Carolina coach Frank Martin got his man Monday night when ESPN 100 scoring guard Sindarius Thornwell (Lancaster, S.C./Oak Hill Academy) committed to the Gamecocks.

There are two huge benefits to this commitment for South Carolina -- one being on the court and the other in the recruiting of future players.

On the court Thornwell, who is ranked No. 44 overall in the ESPN 100, stands out in two areas: He excels at driving the ball to the basket (especially in transition) and in passing the ball. When you have a player who aggressively tries to score combined with the savvy to pass when he reads that a teammate is open, that's a major threat. Thornwell can do both, plus guard on the ball with length.

Thornwell has the knack to both score in a high-possession game or when it slows down to a halfcourt setting. With great size and strength, he attacks the rim and looks to go deep into the lane. The middle game is something he has lacked but is slowly becoming a weapon for him.

If the defense backs up, he has taken the time to adjust and learn the pull-up jumper. His 3-point shot is improving and is almost to the point where defenders have to make a full closeout on him, which will set up his dribble drive.

In recruiting circles, this gives South Carolina a statement recruit before Martin even coaches a game for the program, which can carry some serious momentum. This commitment is more than just landing a player who can score buckets -- it's about credibility and faith in a head coach Thornwell has only known for about five months.

"Sindarius believed in coach Martin since day one," his uncle Dajuan Thornwell said. "He came to visit Sid the very first day he could. That was not forgotten."

When Martin took over at South Carolina, he came in from Kansas State after a tremendous run of success on the court. His teams not only won at Kansas State, he also devolved the players individually both on and off the court.

It's obvious Thornwell has faith in Martin to make South Carolina relevant again in the SEC. Now he must take that faith and help the Gamecocks recruit more talent to Columbia.

This is a huge commitment for Martin and his staff. Thornwell has a chance to be the future face of the program. He now becomes a pied piper and must get others to join him.