ATHENS -- Atlanta native Marcus Thornton, whose senior season at Westlake High School recently earned him the title of "Mr. Basketball" in his home state, signed a financial aid agreement to attend Georgia and play next year for the Bulldogs, head coach Mark Fox announced Wednesday.
Thornton, at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, became one of the nation's top high school power forwards during a senior year in which he averaged 23.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and four blocks per game. He originally signed last November with Clemson University but was granted a release from his letter-of-intent by the school in April.
Westlake went 30-3 during its most recent season and reached the GHSA Class AAAAA state championship game. It marked the Lions' third Final Four berth during Thornton's career there. After the 2010 season, the honors for Thornton began rolling in: "Mr. Basketball" by both the Atlanta Tipoff Club and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and a nod to the Parade Magazine All-America fourth team
"We are delighted that Marcus has decided to join our program," Fox said. "He is a terrific basketball player, a great student and an outstanding young man. He's a winner in every way. He has a great family who now will be able to watch him play. Marcus was well coached in high school and is ready for the next step in his basketball career.
"It means a great deal to have Mr. Basketball coming to the University of Georgia for that next step. It's also very exciting to us that Marcus wants to be a part of what we're building Georgia."
Thornton is ranked as the No. 121 overall prospect nationally, the 26th-best at the power forward position, by Rivals.com. Another online recruiting service, Scout.com, lists him as the nation's No. 34 power forward prospect.
Thornton becomes the fourth signee of the Bulldogs' 2010 recruiting class, the third from the spring signing period that ends today. He joins 6-8 forward Cady Lalanne of Orlando, Fla.; 6-9 forward Donte Williams of Ellenwood; and 6-2 guard Sherrard Brantley of Dublin.