After three good seasons at the University of South Carolina, Sindarius Thornwell exploded his senior year. Thornwell won the SEC Player of the Year after averaging 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game while shooting nearly 40% from three. He led the Gamecocks to a 26-11 record and led them, a seven seed, to the school’s first-ever Final Four appearance.
Standing at 6’5″ with a 6’10” wingspan, Thornwell has the size to defend multiple positions. His 212-pound frame allows him to be physical and he plays hard-nosed on defense, leading to 7.2 rebounds per game and an outstanding 2.1 steals per game. This, coupled with his versatility, gives him the potential to be a very capable defender at the next level.
On offense, Thornwell has the ability to be an effective spot-up shooter and floor spacer in the NBA. His high motor helps him a lot in transition opportunities, and his strength allows him to back down smaller defenders.
Despite shooting the ball well in college, his slow developing jumper and unorthodox mechanics make it unclear how is jump-shot will translate to NBA closeouts. When Thornwell is chased off the three-point line, he tries to work off the dribble for pull-ups. He wasn’t very effective as he shot just 25% on pull-up shots.
Thornwell’s playmaking ability is in question. His lack of elite athleticism makes it hard for him to get downhill to the basket, and he doesn’t possess good ball handling skills to work around defenders. Thornwell does look relaxed in the game and he doesn’t commit many turnovers, and while he isn’t an effective passer his driving game could definitely improve.
Thornwell lacks elite explosiveness which makes it hard for him to finish inside, shooting just 53% on chances in the paint. Meanwhile, Thornwell’s physicality also draws many fouls and allows him to get a lot of points from the stripe, where he shoots 83%.
While Thornwell’s age limits his upside and he has obvious questions in terms of how his offensive game will translate to the NBA, Thornwell can fill a role on any team right away and he has the potential to turn into an effective two-way player in an NBA rotation.
Projection: Utah Jazz, 55th overall pick