South Carolina might be everyone’s favorite team left in the NCAA Tournament thanks to their stunning 88-81 upset victory over Duke in the second round. That win came courtesy of 24 points, six rebounds and five assists from guard Sindarius Thornwell. The ultimate win came back in 2012 when he committed to South Carolina, but it wasn’t all Frank Martin who convinced Thornwell to get to campus. Rather, it was North Carolina coach Roy Williams.
Here’s an excerpt from the Bleacher Report story about Thornwell and his rise from Lancaster, S.C.:
UNC coach Roy Williams was visiting [Nate] Britt at Oak Hill at the same time [Frank] Martin was in town to see Thornwell. As he was leaving, Williams popped into the room and interrupted the conversation.
“Young man,” Williams said as he shook Thornwell’s hand, “I don’t know where you’re going to school, but I can tell you this: There’s not going to be a finer human being to coach you than this man right here.”
Williams pointed at Martin and then walked away.
“It was an amazing moment,” Martin says. “He committed to us shortly after that.”
Thornwell really wanted to be a Tar Heel, but it might have worked out for the better that that didn’t happen. He got to destroy Duke after winning SEC Player of the Year honors and did something that UNC only did one out of threes times this year. The Gamecocks will face Baylor on Friday at 7:29 in the Sweet 16.