Duke

Point guard Derryck Thornton leaving Duke

Derryck Thornton talks about surviving Yale

VIDEO: The Duke Blue Devils hold a 23-point lead at halftime but Yale comes roaring back in the second half.
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VIDEO: The Duke Blue Devils hold a 23-point lead at halftime but Yale comes roaring back in the second half.

Rising sophomore Derryck Thornton is transferring from Duke, the school announced Sunday. Thornton was a five-star recruit who graduated from high school in three years to become a member of Duke’s 2015 recruiting class.

Thornton played in all 36 games and started 20 contests for the Blue Devils this season. He averaged 7.1 points and 2.6 assists in 26 minutes per game. However, he did not start any of Duke’s ACC or NCAA tournament games despite being the only true point guard on the roster.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said several times throughout the year that the Blue Devils didn’t have one main point guard, opting instead to let any of the guards, including freshman Brandon Ingram, initiate the offense. Sophomore Grayson Allen led the team in assists.

A native of Chatsworth, Calif., Thornton said in the release he wants to play closer to home. Given Duke’s loaded backcourt for next season – Allen, freshman Luke Kennard and junior Matt Jones return and five-star point guard Frank Jackson and five-star wing Jayson Tatum will join the team – Thornton’s playing time likely would have diminished.

“I want to thank my teammates and coaches for their support this year,” Thornton said. “The relationships I have with them will always be special to me.”

“We wish Derryck the best and appreciate his contributions to our team this season,” Krzyzewski said in the statement. “We support his decision and want only what is best for him in the future.”

When reached for comment, Thornton’s father, Derryck “Tank” Thornton, refused to answer questions. Thornton will have three years of eligibility left after sitting out the 2016-17 season.

With Thornton’s departure, Duke has one open scholarship for next season, and the Blue Devils are actively pursuing five-star center Marques Bolden.

Laura Keeley: 919-829-4556, @laurakeeley

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