Sindarius Thornwell

Sindarius Thornwell profile
Drafted #48 in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Clippers
RCSI: 36 (2013)
Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
Weight: 212 lbs (96 kg)
Position: SG
High School: Oak Hill Academy (Virginia)
Hometown: Lancaster, SC
College: South Carolina
Current Team: Saratov
Win - Loss: 19 - 22
Sindarius Thornwell 2017 NBA Draft Scouting Video - Strengths


Sindarius Thornwell NBA Draft Scouting Report and Video Analysis

Josh Riddell
Josh Riddell
Ryan Thomson
Ryan Thomson
Jun 19, 2017, 10:19 am
Scouting Report by Josh Riddell. Video Analysis by Ryan Thomson
A four year collegiate career ended on a high note for Sindarius Thornwell, as he was named SEC Player of the Year before leading the Gamecocks to their first Final Four appearance in school history. He will leave South Carolina ranking in the top ten in school history in total points (third), total rebounds (tenth) and assists (ninth), surely cementing himself a place in the rafters in Columbia when the time comes.
The soon to turn 23 year old looked like a man among boys at times in the NCAA and possesses the physical makeup to step onto a NBA court tomorrow. Measured a hair under 6'5 with an impressive 6'10 wingspan and strong 212 pound frame, Thornwell has the versatility needed to defend multiple positions, a critical skill that NBA teams desire. Although he lacks a high level of athleticism, he has a chance to carve out a NBA role thanks to his combination of physicality, length and two-way skill set.

With the way the NBA has been trending, players like Thornwell are becoming increasingly valuable thanks to their defensive versatility. He was often tasked with the most difficult defensive assignments for an incredibly effective South Carolina defense, guarding Nigel Williams-Goss, Luke Kennard, and Johnathan Motley among others in the NCAA Tournament to show off his defensive versatility.
Thornwell is a tough, hard-nosed defender who isn't going to back down from a challenge and will throw his body around to help his team get a stop. He uses his physical tools to cause havoc by creating 2.5 steals per 40 minutes and blocking 1.1 shots per 40 minutes, one of only five players 6'5 and under in the NCAA last season to post similar numbers. He also has a desire to crash the glass, pulling in 5.4 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes, comparable with some big men in this draft.
He is comfortable guarding both the perimeter and the paint, and has developed a high intensity level under Frank Martin. With his ability to guard multiple positions and switch every screen, Thornwell's defensive versatility will allow NBA teams to fit him into a variety of different lineups and is the building block for his NBA potential.
On the offensive end, Thornwell shot a career best 39% from beyond the arc as a senior, an impressive improvement when compared with his 34% career shooting percentage. He will need to be a catch and shoot threat to space the floor in the NBA and will have to prove he can get his shot off cleanly against NBA defenders. He release time isn't that quick, and he doesn't get a ton of lift on his jumper, which could cause some issues against closeouts from NBA defenders. There are still some mechanical issues regarding his jump shot and he will need to show that he can be a good shooter at game speed when shooting from NBA range, something he struggled with at the NBA Combine.

When run off the three point line, Thornwell has some strides to make to become more creative of an attacker off the dribble. His handle is undeveloped and he can struggle to create offense inside the arc. He is willing to attack closeouts off the dribble going to his right or left, taking one or two dribbles before he pulls up at the elbow for a jumper, but he converted just 25% of his 32 off the dribble jumpers according to Synergy Sports Technology.
He isn't overly quick operating downhill to get to the rim before the help defense converges, and doesn't always have the ball-handling skills necessary to break down the defense in traffic, which has limited his ability to create offense for his team in the halfcourt. On the plus side, he is calm and collected while driving and although he isn't an elite passer, he had a positive assist to turnover ratio of 1.13, which demonstrates a solid feel for the game which could lead to some improvement as a creator down the line as he gains more experience in that role.
It is unlikely Thornwell will ever become a high-volume, go-to offensive creator, but he has found other ways to score to complement his catch and shoot ability. He has a high motor in transition to fill lanes and beat the defense down the floor for easy buckets. In the half-court, he can use his strength to back down smaller defenders in the post, where he has displayed impressive footwork for a wing and he will fight for offensive rebounds, as he tracked down 2.9 per 40 minutes.
Thornwell will need to find ways to be more efficient in the paint as he has struggled to finish below the rim, converting just 53% of his attempts according to Synergy Sports Technology. He isn't able to explode quickly off the ground and he has had trouble finishing in traffic against length. That said, he is willing to use his body to initiate contact to create space or get to the free throw line, where he made 83% on 9.7 attempts per 40 minutes, the third highest number of attempts among all players in our top 100. Just as he does defensively, he is willing to do the little things needed to make winning plays for his team.
Thornwell's defensive versatility, spot up shooting ability and his on-court intangibles makes him an intriguing potential two-way prospect. Although his upside might be limited due to his age and relatively average athleticism, in the right situation he could become a key member of a rotation. He can fill coveted roles and has shown he is willing to accept them to help his team win, which should make him an attractive pick somewhere in the second round.

Sindarius Thornwell NBA Pre-Draft Workout and Interview

Matt McGann
Matt McGann
May 30, 2017, 05:17 pm
South Carolina wing Sindarius Thornwell works out and is interviewed in Chicago. Video produced by Matt McGann.

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NCAA Tournament NBA Draft Prospect Guide: Final Four

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mar 31, 2017, 03:29 pm
NBA scouts will be paying close attention to SEC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell, who is likely the MVP of the NCAA Tournament thus far. South Carolina does a great of putting Thornwell in position to score or facilitate with quick actions, be it in the post, coming off screens, with pindowns, in transition, or as a spot-up shooter. Thornwell's huge frame, outstanding feel for the game, much improved perimeter jumper, and tremendous hustle on both ends of the floor have made him incredibly productive all season, but especially in March thus far. His jumper has been falling as consistently as ever, he's been a terror in the open floor, he gets to the free throw line in bundles, and his outstanding rebounding prowess has given South Carolina the ability to utilize him as a deadly face-up 4-man option. Thornwell's average quickness renders him just a decent option in one on one situations, and he lacks a degree of explosiveness which makes him heavily reliant on drawing contact and getting to the free throw line to stay efficient in the half-court.

It will be interesting to see how Gonzaga decides to defend him, as their natural small forward option, Jordan Mathews, will likely be severely overmatched. The bigger, more athletic and highly physical Johnathan Williams is likely better suited to containing the bowling ball wing/combo forward, but that will make for some difficult cross-matches with South Carolina's big men, who showed that they need to be respected in the post.

NCAA Tournament NBA Draft Prospect Guide: Elite Eight Sunday

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mar 26, 2017, 10:03 am
Thornwell had another huge game on Friday in a resounding victory over Baylor, making plays all over the floor. He hit four of his ten 3-point attempts, and showed an outstanding feel for the game rebounding, coming up with steals, and finding opportunities to attack off the dribble in the half and full court. While he's not the quickest or most explosive player around, and isn't someone you want creating a great deal of offense going one on one from behind the 3-point line, he has excellent ball-handling skills and finds ways to create space with strength, aggressiveness, change of speeds and polished footwork. His unselfishness moving the ball ahead in transition, and making the simple play within the set offense really stood out. While his jump-shot is highly unconventional, with the excessive amount of side-spin he gets on it, he clearly has soft touch, and even found ways to make some pull-up jumpers. Thornwell will have to deal with a much bigger and longer defender in Devin Robinson, but may see some minutes guarding the highly explosive Kevaughn Allen, who is Florida's best athlete and most dynamic scorer.

NCAA Tournament NBA Draft Prospect Guide: Sweet 16 Friday

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mar 24, 2017, 02:18 pm
SEC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell willed South Carolina to an improbable upset of Duke in front of a friendly crowd in nearby Greenvile, behind a terrific 24 point, 6 rebound, 5 assist effort. The stakes rise even higher as he'll matchup with Baylor wing Ishmail Wainright in Madison Square Garden, in a game that will be watched closely by NBA scouts.
South Carolina likes to use Thornwell in a variety of ways, operating anywhere from point guard to power forward. His powerful first step and chiseled frame make him an ideal candidate for elbow catches, short-corner isos, and downhill catches off DHOs, all of which will come in very handy against Baylor's zone defense, which they employ frequently. Thornwell is not the quickest or most explosive athlete you'll find in the college ranks, relying heavily on his strength to help overpower weaker defenders and bulldoze his way to the lane and draw fouls. He relishes contact around the basket and is a handful for opposing guards or wings to deal with his powerful spin-moves and outstanding footwork. He's a career 43% 2-point shooter, a very poor rate, but makes up for that with his ability to get to the free throw line (8.3 times per-40), where he converts 83% of his attempts.
The biggest revelation this season has been Thornwell's jump-shot, which has become a far more consistent weapon compared to earlier in his career. He still doesn't rely on it very heavily (just 32% of his attempts come from beyond the arc), but he's hitting 40% of his 3s on the season, which is much higher than his career average (34%). His mechanics leave something to be desired, as he shoots quite a flat looking jumper, especially pulling up off the dribble, with a handsy release, that make you wonder about how effectively he'll be able to extend his range out to the NBA line.
Still, it's tough to ignore the sheer productivity Thornwell is amassing at the college level, and he is certainly a two-way player who brings great toughness to the defensive end (as well as a long 6'9 wingspan). In today's positionless NBA, scouts may wonder if he can potentially operate as a small-ball muti-positional forward in the Jae Crowder mold.
It will be interesting to study his matchup with Baylor small forward Ishmail Wainwright (who has a similar type of frame), as he won't be able to simply bully him like he did to Duke's guards, wings and forwards. Will he see any minutes matched up with power forward Johnathan Motley, a chiseled big man with a freakish wingspan?

NCAA Tournament NBA Draft Prospect TV Schedule: Sunday

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mar 19, 2017, 12:06 pm
Sindarius Thornwell is in the midst of an outstanding senior season, and is fresh off an impressive 29 point, 11 rebound, 3 steal outing against Marquette in the first round, including shooting 3/6 from beyond the arc. Thornwell has a lot to gain in a game like this, matching up against the likes of Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard, Matt Jones and possibly Jayson Tatum, where he'll have a huge strength advantage with his chiseled frame. Thornwell is a handful to defend at the college level attacking the basket in both the open floor and half-court, as he loves contact, draws fouls prolifically, and will finish powerfully around the rim with his length and strength, and it will be interesting to see how Coach K decides to defend him. He's just a career 34% 3-point shooter, but is knocking down 39% of his attempts as a senior, and forcing him to make jump-shots might be Duke's best option considering their lack of size along the interior.

Top NBA Prospects in the SEC, Part Eleven: Prospects #14-17

Derek Bodner
Derek Bodner
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Sep 29, 2014, 09:00 am

Jonathan Givony

The highest rated recruit to commit to South Carolina since Rolando Howell in 2000, Sindarius Thornwell's decision to “stay home” (he grew up an hour up the road) was a huge boon for Frank Martin's rebuilding effort.

Thornwell wanted to play a significant role as a freshman, and did so in a major way, as his 28% usage rate was the third highest among freshmen prospects last season. He saw minutes playing both on and off the ball for the Gamecocks, especially once starting point guard and then-leading scorer Tyrone Johnson was lost for the remainder of the season with an injury in January.

Thornwell has good size for a guard, measuring 6-5 1/2 in shoes, with a sturdy 214 pound frame, and a 6-9 wingspan at the Nike Skills Academy this summer. He is stronger than he is explosive, with a frame and style of play somewhat reminiscent of Dion Waiters with his ability to simply overpower defenders en route to the basket.

Thornwell scored at a decent clip as a freshman--18 points per-40, but was extremely inefficient, shooting just 39% from 2-point range, the third lowest rate among returning players in our Top-100 prospect rankings. Getting to the line 7-times per-40 minutes helped him salvage some scoring efficiency, but his 51% TS% certainly won't blow anyone away and is something scouts will want to see him improve upon as a sophomore.

While asked to see significant minutes as South Carolina's primary facilitator and clear-cut go-to guy, Thornwell is a relatively average ball-handler at this stage, being primarily a straight-line driver who relies heavily on his strength to help create offense. His first step is not extraordinary, as he often simply tries to bully his way through defenders, which makes it difficult for him to generate too many clean looks once inside the paint, as he usually has his man still connected to him at the hip.

Thornwell struggled to score efficiently inside the paint, converting a mediocre 42% of his attempts in the half-court in these situations last season. He doesn't appear to have great touch around the rim, often looking content just getting inside the paint and then throwing the ball up on the rim hoping for the best. Things aren't that much better in the open floor, as he hit just 45% of his field goal attempts in transition situations, a very low rate. Part of this is due to his decision making skills, but he's also not terribly explosive, which combined with his inability to blow-by defenders at a high rate might make it difficult for him to emerge as a high-level slasher at the NBA level unless he improves his ball-handling and finishing ability significantly.

Thornwell did an admirable job trying to execute South Carolina's offense playing out of position at the point guard spot, a role that led to some real growing pains, but will likely benefit his long term development. While he's obviously most comfortable looking to score, he made a concerted effort to execute the team's offense and get others involved. Not a natural playmaker by any stretch, most of his assists came off simple drive and dish plays or by making the extra pass in the flow of the offense, helping him post a respectable 4 assists per-40 minutes and 24% assist percentage.

Turnovers were somewhat of an issue as you might expect considering the transition Thornwell was forced to make as a freshman playing out of position in the competitive SEC. His 19.1% turnover percentage rated second worst among the 26 returning players classified as guards in our Top-100 prospect rankings.

As a shooter, Thornwell is somewhat of a mixed bag at this stage, showing clearly defined strengths and weaknesses. He is very solid with his feet set, showing good mechanics and a quick release. He made 39% of his attempts last season in catch and shoot situations, helping him knock down 37 of his 100 3-point attempts.

Pulling up off the dribble is where Thornwell tends to struggle, as he converted just 31% of his attempts in these situations. Shot-selection and decision making are the biggest culprits here, as Thornwell seems to overestimate his shot-making ability significantly, regularly settling for tough, contested pull-up jumpers in the mid-range area, sometimes just a foot or two inside the 3-point line. This is part of the reason his 2-point percentage was so low, and it will be interesting to see if his efficiency rises once he isn't forced to shoulder such heavy playmaking and scoring responsibilities.

Defensively, Thornwell has all the tools to emerge as a solid piece on this end of the floor eventually, with his excellent combination of size, length and strength. Unfortunately he's far from that at this stage, as his fundamentals are poor and he lacks the intensity level to compensate for that at the moment.

Thornwell gets lost defending off the ball frequently, and is regularly caught upright and out of a stance in one on one situations as well. He gets blown by off the dribble far too frequently, and doesn't do a great job of fighting through screens, looking a little bit lazy at times in this area. The huge amount of offensive responsibility Thornwell was forced to shoulder as a freshman certainly didn't bode well for his efforts on the defensive end, so it will be interesting to see how he evolves here as his career moves on.

He shows some very nice flashes from time to time, coming up with plenty of steals, blocks and deflections on the perimeter, showing good anticipation skills in the process.

Thornwell will play a significant role for South Carolina once again as a sophomore, but Frank Martin's team should be better as they return almost their entire rotation from last season. Making the NCAA Tournament would likely go a long way in showing scouts that he can translate his talent to winning situation, which makes this an important season coming up for him.

High School Class of 2013: Elite Prospect Scouting Reports, Part Two

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Sep 12, 2012, 10:03 am
Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: ESPN: #20, Scout: #21, Rivals: #40, 24/7: #33

-Has decent size at 6-4 ½ in shoes
-Strong 198 pound frame
-6-9 wingspan
-Tremendous scoring instincts
-Creates shots at will and gets to the free throw line a ton
-Uses his strength and first step to get by guys and finish at the rim
-Can make an open 3-pointer
-Can make plays on defense thanks to his length and instincts

-Not an exceptional athlete. Relies on his strength to create shots rather than elite explosiveness
-Tends to force the issue with careless turnovers and poor shot-selection
-Average shooter at this juncture. Shooting mechanics aren't great. Doesn't have much of an in-between game
-Needs to improve left hand
-Possesses average fundamentals on defense. Gambles excessively. Does not always put in the best effort
-Body language isn't great


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