NEW YORK — South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell is commanding so much attention these days that Baylor players say they have watched three or more hours of video exclusively of the Gamecocks star guard.
Baylor coach Scott Drew wanted to pump the brakes on that number, though.
“They exaggerate so much,” Drew said. “It was only two and a half.”
Whatever the number is, the Bears are focused on knowing what Thornwell, a South Carolina senior guard, does and how well he does it. Baylor and South Carolina are preparing for a Sweet 16 game in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:29 p.m. ET Friday at Madison Square Garden. TV coverage: TBS.
“Coach has broken down every made shot that he has had and we have all watched at least about three hours of film on just Sindarius,” Baylor’s Ishmail Wainright said.
It’s not an uncommon thing for the Bears to do. Wainright said. Baylor studied many hours of film on other players, “even to the last man on the bench,” in preparation for playing the Gamecocks.
But it is understandable that Thornwell is the center of opponents’ attention. The SEC player of the year, Thornwell scored 53 points in two NCAA Tournament games as the Gamecocks averaged more than 90 points and rolled through the opening weekend.
“He’s a great player,” Baylor’s Manu Lecomte said. “He’s a tough player. He’s a great rebounder as well, so we are going to have to box out even when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. … He’s their most dangerous man on the court, so we’re going to have to do a great job defending him.”
Thornwell averages more than 21 points and 7.5 rebounds this season, tearing through the SEC and now into postseason play. The Bears say it will take a team effort to defend Thornwell. Memories of playing against him during his freshman season are re-enforced by his phenomenal senior season.
“You’re not going to stop a guy like that,” Drew said. “What you do is you just try to make everything as difficult as possible and hope that he doesn’t have 44 points.”