Blog Entry

Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith favor Thornton at PG

Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:57 pm
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By Jeff Goodman

With Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith gone, the question becomes: Who will take over the point guard duties in Durham?

Incoming freshman Austin Rivers will have the ball in his hands plenty, but he’s a scorer and is better served as a two-guard.

Both Smith and Kyle Singler, shortly after a workout with the Boston Celtics, told me that they both expect Tyler Thornton to run the Duke team next season.

"He’s solid,” Smith said. "He’s a tough, tough kid. I told Quinn (Cook) that he’s not going to go in and take Tyler’s spot.”

Cook is a McDonald’s All-American and a consensus Top 50 recruit who will come in this season and try and earn the point guard's spot.

But Singler is going with Thornton, who he called a “great defender” and agreed with Smith that Thornton brings a toughness to the team.

"That might be his biggest strength,” Singler said.

"He’s not going to make many mistakes,” Smith added. "He’s real smart.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Thornton came out of Gonzaga High in Washington, D.C., as a guy who didn’t crack most recruiting analysts’ Top 100.

A year ago, he averaged a shade under 10 minutes per game and 1.6 points and 1.0 assists per game, but he did see valuable minutes after Irving suffered a major toe injury in December.

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