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July 28, 2014

Hoops Recruiting Notebook: Thornton breaks hand

Top Michigan point guard target Derryck Thornton, Jr. (6-2, Rivals.com's No. 11 junior nationally) was the top point guard at the Team USA U17 trials in Colorado Springs and a finalist to make the team before breaking his hand.

Michigan coaches were in attendance to watch the Henderson, Nev., Findlay Prep standout (among others) Friday, and Hoopniks.com reported he didn't disappoint.

"As mentioned in Thursday's camp report, Malik Newman was nearly unguardable, even against the substantial competition present at training camp," they wrote. "On Friday, Thornton did an admirable job in containing Newman, which was impressive. Thornton also showed a high IQ floor game, solid defensive instincts, and a fairly deadly outside shot. The lithe general on the floor has good handles and vision, and delivered the ball where it needed to go.

"Simply put, Thornton put together a strong offensive-defensive performance on Friday.

Coaches from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgetown, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Villanova, Marquette, Connecticut, Texas, Wisconsin, UCLA and others were in attendance.

Also making the cut: El Cajon, Calif., power forward T.J. Leaf (6-8, Rivals.com's No. 20 class of 2016 prospect nationally).

"After sitting out of Thursday's camp session, Leaf excelled on Friday," Hoopniks.com reported. "Leaf is as skilled as any big man nationally in the 2016 class, as he is a good passer, shooter and scorer.

"Leaf showed a well-rounded offensive game in scrimmage action and actually looked as if he's closer to 6-10, making him a valued face up big man prospect with significant size in the 2016 class. It's fairly clear that Leaf is no less than a top-20 player in his class at present, with the potential to rise higher based on his development of strength and a post repertoire."

Also, it's heating up for class of 2015 shooting guard Kenny Williams of Chesterfield, Va., Lloyd C. Bird. Michigan head coach John Beilein watched Rivals.com's No. 124 senior (and rising) at the Peach Jam and the AAU Super Showcase in Louisville recently. The 6-4 standout told us last week he's enamored with Michigan's player development and he's planning a trip. VCU, Indiana, North Carolina and others are on his list, and it wouldn't surprise at all if he picked up a Michigan offer.

Here's video of Williams' 50-point game during the season.


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