NCB On The Trail: Derryck Thornton

PHILADELPHIA -- The Reebok Classic Breakout took a backseat to no other event over the past 48 hours as the staff did a tremendous job of putting together a deep and talented roster, which in turn attracted over 200 Division I college coaches including dozens of high-profile head coaches. Here's a look at which players were most impressive throughout the first two days of action:

Best pure point guard: Derryck Thornton

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- There was a major buzz inside the gym of Philadelphia University as the clock struck 5 p.m. and the likes of John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Kevin Ollie, Larry Brown, John Beilein, Bo Ryan, and dozens of other high profile head coaches kicked off the July evaluation period at the Reebok Breakout Camp.

Marquee matchup


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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The inaugural Under Armour Stephen Curry Select Camp features some of the nation's top perimeter players from the 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes. Attacking off ball screens and shooting off the dribble were the emphasis of the first day.

Here are a few players who caught our attention:


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The NBPA top 100 dream team 

June, 23, 2014
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After watching over 100 prospects at the NBPA top 100 camp during a four-day period, I thought who would I want to coach if I had one practice before playing one game.

I am making my decisions based on their performances and stats from the camp courtesy of Statva.com, along with prior evaluations from the high school year and the spring evaluation period.

Assembling this team wasn't just about sheer talent. It was more about the prospects’ skill level, productivity, and how well they know their roles and are able to blend their talent into a team concept. The roster below has everything I would want and need to win a game.

Here is the starting lineup, sixth man, and bench:

Starting lineup


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NBPA Top 100 camp wrap 

June, 22, 2014
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The NBPA Top 100 camp always displays some of the best collections of talent in the summer.

The most impressive part of this event was the fact that the players played hard and competed from start to finish. Here are some players who stood out.

Best point guards

Perry Dozier (Columbia, South Carolina/Spring Valley)
PG/SG, 2015, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds


Perry is a rare combo guard. Many players who are designated as combo guards are generally not a point guard or a shooting guard. Dozier is actually both, as he can play either guard spot with equal efficiency. He was much more productive and assertive than I had seen in the past, and he showed the ability to run a team. Dozier averaged just over 8 points per game for the camp, but he showcased the ability of a top-20 player in the class.


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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Today is the last day of regular-season games as the playoffs approach. The players are competing at a high level as they work to build positive momentum to put their team in position to compete for the NBPA Top 100 Camp Championship.

Here are a few standout performances and the best matchup we witnessed on Friday.

Best matchup of the day

Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Derryck Thornton
This was a premier matchup between two of the best point guards in the Class of 2016 as Smith is the ninth overall player and Thornton stands 32nd.

Smith has the size, strength and shake as he was getting a piece of the paint on Thornton to score, dish out the assist or create fouls. Thornton countered with his basketball IQ, speed and quickness as a floor general. Thornton’s quickness allows him to get up under Smith as he had some solid on-ball defensive possessions. Thornton’s team came out in top while Smith continues to establish himself as one of the best point guards in the country regardless of class.


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If you’ve noticed a sudden rush of recruiting information for 2016 prospects in the last few days, it's no coincidence.

Sunday was the first day that college coaches were permitted to contact prospects in the rising junior class, and for some prospects that literally meant the phone rang when the clock struck midnight.

Often times, those conversations are followed by some sort of offer. Here’s a look at some of the latest news for the Class of 2016:


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With the field expanding from 25 to 60 as the sophomores become juniors, here are 10 things to know about the prospects in the new ESPN 60 for the Class of 2016:

1. Jayson Tatum continues to make his move upward. The talented and skilled 6-foot-7 small forward has great feel and is a high-level playmaker with size and basketball intelligence. The St. Louis Chaminade College Prep standout made another slight jump within the top five, going from No. 4 to No. 3.

2. The rim-protecting dominance of center Udoka Azubuike has continued. A strong and physical low-post presence, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Potter's House Christian standout rebounds, finishes and blocks shots with power and has been rewarded by moving inside the top 10 at No. 6.

[+] EnlargeTerrance Ferguson
Kelly KlineTerrance Ferguson of Prime Prep Academy is a standout shooter in the ESPN 60.
3. There are some big-time wing scorers in the Class of 2016. These bucket-getters attack defenders and are difficult to deal with when they have the ball in their hands. Shooting guards Malik Monk and Josh Langford, small forwards Mario Kegler and V.J. King and SG Tyus Battle lead the top 20 players.

4. Shooting guard Terrance Ferguson has the sweetest shooting stroke in the top 10. Ferguson has a high release and excellent follow-through. He loves the corner jumper from behind the arc and shoots over smaller defenders as if they are invisible.

5. Combination forward Miles Bridges and point guard Dennis Smith are fresh faces in the top 10 because of their consistent production. A few dominant performances this spring on the travel circuit clearly separated them from their peers.

6. Point guard Jaylen Fisher has special court vision. The Arlington (Tenn.) Bolton standout puts the ball on time and on target and attacks the defense with his ability to penetrate. Fisher not only finds the open man but also delivers the ball in position to score on the catch.

7. Harry Giles made his debut this spring after suffering a knee injury that required surgery. The 6-9 Giles, from Winston-Salem (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian, is still rounding into form, but we did see flashes of his game before the injury from this talented power forward. He has all the tools to be a special player with terrific upside.

8. There's a lot of variety and versatility in the 2016 class. Many players can play and excel at two positions, both in the post and on the perimeter. A few examples are Bridges, Omari Spellman, Amir Coffey, Vance Jackson and Kobi Jordan-Simmons.

9. With only 10 true point guards in the ESPN 60, it is definitely a situation of quality over quantity. These point guards may be small in numbers, but all are very good players who will lead and make winning plays for their team. Newcomer Smith leads the way. Lonzo Ball, De'Aaron Fox, Trent Forrest, Derryck Thornton, Devearl Ramsey, Payton Pritchard, Xavier Simpson, Cassius Winston and Howard Washington all have had standout springs.

10. In comparison, the 2016 ESPN 60 will be better than the 2015 ESPN 60.

10 things to know about the 2016 class 

January, 28, 2014
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The updated ESPN 25 for the Class of 2016 is again led by center Thon Maker (Martinsville, Va./Carlisle School), who is the top prospect. Three prospects have joined the rankings: Center Udoka Azubuike (Jacksonville, Fla./Potters House Christian), point guard Derryck Thornton (Chatsworth, Calif./Findlay Prep) and small forward T.J. Leaf (El Cajon, Calif./Foothills Christian), and many of the returning players have continued to improve their games which ultimately makes the 2016 class better as a whole.

Here are 10 things to know about the prospects in the Class of 2016:


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Tarkanian Classic recap 

December, 23, 2013
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The second annual Tarkanian Classic provided fans with an epic championship game as well as a glimpse into the future with talented college prospects. The Mater Dei Monarchs, led by McDonald's All-American candidate Stanley Johnson, made enough plays in overtime to overcome the feisty Bishop O'Dowd Dragons and ultra-talented big man Ivan Rabb 63-59.

Man among boys

Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)
2014, WF, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds
Status: Signed with Arizona
At this level, Johnson has been unstoppable in all facets of the game. Converting inside and out, playing all five positions and performing in the clutch have been part of the package. Similar to Shabazz Muhammad in terms of his physical impact on the game, but Johnson has more wiggle, feel, and he's a smoother shooter than Muhammad.

Best motor


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These players just missed the cut 

September, 25, 2013
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We’ve ranked the top players in the classes of 2015 and 2016. Here’s a look at the players who just missed the cut:


Class of 2015

Jessie Govan 6-10, C, Manhasset, N.Y. (St. Mary): Big-bodied post player with a nice touch to 17 feet.


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ESPN 100 shooting guard Rashad Vaughn recently made it public that he was looking to transfer from his hometown high school, Robbinsdale Cooper (Minn.), to a prep school.

On Tuesday, the nation’s No. 11 prospect in the 2014 class told ESPN.com that he has made his decision to attend national power Findlay Prep (Nev.).

The Pilots have one of the strongest teams in the country year in and year out and have won three National High School Invitational championships in the last five years. Last season, Findlay finished 35-1 and ranked No. 3 in the final ESPN 25 Power Rankings.

Vaughn, who is considering colleges such as North Carolina, Kentucky, Baylor, UCLA, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa State and Arizona, will be part of another loaded team at Findlay next season, joining ESPN 100 forwards Craig Victor and Kelly Oubre and gifted 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton.

[+] EnlargeRashad Vaughn
Courtesy of Kelly Kline/Under ArmourRashad Vaughn, the No. 1 shooting guard in the 2014 class, will transfer to national power Findlay Prep for his senior season.
Vaughn said the decision to leave Cooper was difficult, but he felt it was best for his future.

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Best of the UA Undeniable Camp 

July, 5, 2013
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INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Under Armour continued its "Grind" session circuit this week at Inglewood High School and the talent on display was high level. The Undeniable Camp introduced the players to a variety of skill-development drills, as well as some freelance scrimmaging.

Whether it was 2014 guard Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) blitzing the ball up court or 2016 guard Derryck Thornton (Henderson, Nev./Findlay Prep) putting defenders on their heels, several of the nation's elite rose to the top at the Under Armour Undeniable Camp, including a pair of 2014 Maryland commits.

However, the most perplexing aspect of the camp was the lack of urgency -- whether it was in a particular drill or scrimmage -- from many of the prospects in attendance. These camps should be a privilege for these players, and assertiveness should not be an afterthought.

Here were some of the top performers from the camp.

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