Ohio State basketball power rankings: No. 4 Bruce Thornton


In the state of Ohio, a year begins like no other.

A year after a roster strengthened by players enjoying the extra year of eligibility granted to all players who have peaked at 15 members despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022-23 Buckeyes will become a team be faced with unprecedented fluctuations. With coach Chris Holtmann entering his sixth season, a combination of early departures for the NBA, college qualifying exhaustion and the appeal of the transfer portal have resulted in a roster of just two players who has played in at least three games for Ohio have as of last season.

That’s not to say there aren’t familiar faces in Columbus. They’re simply outnumbered by a five-man freshman class, the leaders in the Big Ten, and a three-man transfer class that together make up more than half the roster. These new faces, along with some veterans, will try to surpass their projected sixth place finish in the preseason media poll and find a path to Ohio State’s first Sweet 16 since the 2012-13 season.

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Before the Buckeyes start the year with a show against Chaminade on November 1 and the season opener against Robert Morris on November 6, The Dispatch will compile its annual preseason Individual Power Rankings. This ranking is an educated guess as to which players will have the most impact on the pitch throughout the season and which players will appear on the list.

The list continues today at #4 with Bruce Thornton, the security guard first year.

#4 – Bruce Thornton

position: Guard

authorization: First year (three left)

Height Weight: 6 ft 2 / 215 lbs

jersey number: 2

Main: sports industry


Thornton, who was a power forward when he was young, switched to point guard in the sixth grade and never looked back.

Thornton, a high-level winner in high school, starred at Alpharetta (Georgia) Milton, where he made three all-state selections and, as a junior, helped the Eagles win their third state championship and the quarterfinals of the Geico Nationals Tournament. Prior to the start of his junior season, Thornton had 27 Division I offers and visited Kentucky, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn and others, but focused on Ohio State due to the consistent approach of coaches Chris Holtmann and Jake Diebler.

He signed with the Buckeyes in November 2020 after announcing the final five, which also included Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Purdue. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thornton chose the Buckeyes despite never having set foot on campus at the time.

“When you win, they remember you,” he said of the commitment. “I’ve always had this mindset. It doesn’t matter how many points I have or whatever; If I win at the end of the day, they will remember my name.”

His senior season began with off-court tragedy that affected the Eagles, but he averaged 17.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists while earning Georgia Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year honors , as Milton reached the state quarterfinals. In four years at Milton, Thornton started all 120 games for a program that went 96-24 and became at least one regional champion every year. He scored more than 1,500 points.

Thornton arrived in Ohio State as a four-star prospect, according to 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals. He is the #47 national recruit in 247Sports’ composite database and his state’s top player.

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While at school, Thornton went through the testing process at P3 Peak Performance in Los Angeles, which evaluated the physical tools of more than 40% of current NBA players, and was identified as an elite prospect with NBA potential. He comes from the same high school as Shannon Scott, former Ohio State guard, a two-time All-Big Ten defensive back team who played from 2011-2015.

His two favorite players are Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, and his No. 2 jersey pays homage to Leonard. High school coach Allen Whitehart compared him to former Buckeye Aaron Craft. He enjoys playing roulette and three-card poker.

That summer, Thornton competed in the Kingdom Summer League, where he impressed Michigan State graduate Travis Trice. He has signed a NIL deal with The O Foundation, a collective formed by alumnus Ron Stokes to specifically support the men’s basketball program. During Ohio State’s exhibition trip to the Bahamas, Thornton scored 17 points and had nine assists as a team-best with three turnovers in wins over Puerto Rico and Egypt.

Thornton’s teammates voted him one of the team’s top two passers.

Thornton is actually the shortest player on the Ohio State roster, but ties fourth most. His father, Bruce Thornton Sr., was a cornerback who, after a career at the University of Georgia, where he was a senior team captain, spent four seasons in the NFL with Dallas and San Francisco before being taken over by the Cowboys in the fourth became round of the 2004 draft.

Outlook season 2022/23

Thornton is perhaps the most important member of this freshman class as he has the potential to be the anchor of the program for years to come. A hard-nosed, brave point guard, he believes he has the reins of offense in his hands from day one because he can make those around him better. He is the first freshman to start in the season opener since JaQuan Lyle in 2016, and it is expected to be just the first step in many of his impressive careers at Ohio State.

“He’s really talented,” said third-year Zed Key, his roommate for the Bahamas trip. “He can shoot the ball, he can get to the rim, his floater game is crazy and he plays defense. I’m definitely looking forward to playing with him.”

Last season, an employee mentioned that if Thornton didn’t perform the way they envisioned, they would quit their job. That’s how high internal confidence is in the Georgia-native, but that doesn’t mean the first few weeks of the season will be without stumbling blocks. During his appearances in the Kingdom Summer League, as well as the two games in Atlantis, Thornton often started games slowly before asserting himself as he became more comfortable with both the flow of the game and his teammates.

That could be the case as the season gets underway and Thornton learns to meet the demands of being the engine that helps power an offense being rebooted under assistant head coach Jake Diebler, who is in his first year as offensive coordinator becomes.

But when you talk about Thornton with anyone who’s played with him or coached him, you always seem to come to the same conclusion: He’s a tough, winning basketball player who makes everyone around him better.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a point guard as ready (like Bruce),” coach Chris Holtmann said at Big Ten media day. “You see it with wingguards, with smaller kids. He came from a great program. He is extremely well trained. He has really good habits at the moment. He’s used to winning so I think Bruce can help us straight away like any newcomer we’ve coached.”

Additional reading

Bruce Thornton: “Fans Will Love Him”: Meet Ohio State basketball recruit Bruce Thornton

Bruce Thornton: Ohio State freshman Bruce Thornton relishes the benefits of an exhibition trip to the Bahamas

Bruce Thornton: Is Class of ’22 Basketball Bruce Thornton Ohio State’s Next 5-Star Status?

Ohio State Horse Chestnuts: Five key games: Bruce Thornton’s two-way game shines in Ohio State’s win over Puerto Rico

Ohio State Horse Chestnuts: After a “rough” first week, Bruce Thornton, Ohio freshmen are adjusting to college life

Ohio State Horse Chestnuts: When practice begins, a looming question for any Ohio State player

Previous power rankings

#5 – Brice Sensabaugh

#6 – Gene Brown III

#7 – Sean McNeil

No. 8 – Tanner Holden

#9 – Roddy Gayle

#10 – Felix Okpara

No. 11 – Kalen Etzler

No. 12 – Bowen Hardman

#13 – Owen Spencer

No. 14 – Colby Bauman

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