Thursday, May 29, 2003

Thornton boosts XU's depth

Only one scholarship to fill for '04

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Xavier's recent basketball transfer acquisition not only completes the 2003-04 recruiting class, but puts XU in an advantageous spot more than a year before the 2004 class sets foot on campus.

Thornton's career highlights, statistics
Vanderbilt transfer Brian Thornton, a Louisville native and forward, counts against the 2003 scholarship limit but must sit out a full season until 2004-05, per NCAA transfer guidelines. The addition of Thornton, along with incoming 2004 freshmen Darryl Garrett and Stanley Burrell, leaves Xavier with just one scholarship left to fill for 2004 and 15 months in which to do so.

Xavier coaches have their eyes set on several highly touted 2004 prospects, many of whom are being recruited by major conference schools. Final decisions for the most sought-after recruits usually come well before November's early signing period. That means Xavier should know by then how well it did on the recruiting trail.

Should Xavier fill that final 2004 scholarship, the Muskies would have just one slot to fill for the 2005 class, because in the next two seasons, Xavier will lose just four players to graduation or eligibility completion.

Getting the 6-foot-8, 255-pound Thornton is a significant addition to the lineup since the post will be Xavier's most inexperienced area the next two seasons, especially after center Anthony Myles graduates next May.

Thornton averaged 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds last season as a sophomore at Vanderbilt. Including Thornton, Xavier has four players 6-foot-6 or taller in the incoming recruiting class. Garrett and Burrell of the 2004 class are both guards.

"I just really liked the campus and the guys on the team," Thornton said from his home in Louisville. He said he met about half of Xavier's current players and David West on a campus visit two weeks ago.

"I'm excited about it. It's a new beginning and a new team and I'm looking forward to the challenge," Thornton said.

Thornton had majored in pre-law at Vanderbilt and he said he expects to major in either pre-law or business at Xavier.

"When I was choosing schools, I wanted a school that was highly regarded academically," Thornton said.

That's why Michigan and Boston College also were listed as potential destinations, but Thornton never visited either. After visiting the campus, he said he took a couple weeks just to make sure that XU was the right fit for him.

Even though he won't be in the upcoming season's lineup, Thornton said he would travel back and forth between Louisville and Cincinnati this summer.

"I'll be up there for bits and pieces," he said. "There's a chance I might play in some of the (summer league) games half of the time."


Xavier's projected rosters



Sr. Lionel Chalmers Sr. Keith Jackson
Sr, Romain Sato Jr. Angelo Smith
Sr. Anthony Myles Jr. Dedrick Finn
Jr. Keith Jackson Jr. Will Caudle
So. Angelo Smith Jr. Brian Thornton
So. Dedrick Finn So. Brandon Cole
So. Will Caudle So. Justin Doellman
Fr. Brandon Cole So. Justin Cage
Fr. Justin Doellman So. Boubacar Coly
Fr. Justin Cage So. Robert Barker
Fr. Boubacar Coly Fr. Darryl Garrett
Fr. Robert Barker Fr. Stanley Burrell
Jr. Brian Thornton*

One of the 2003-04 freshman other than Cole could potentially redshirt, which would balance the 2004-05 classes.

*Must sit out until 2004-05

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