Sindarius Thornwell had a tremendous senior season for South Carolina, but it took until the NCAA Tournament for his name to be recognized on a national scale.
In the course of the past four games in 10 days, Thornwell showed the nation what folks in South Carolina and the SEC already know about him. And as a result, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander pegged the Gamecocks senior as the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament ahead of the Final Four.
“South Carolina’s outrageously good senior is leading the NCAA Tournament in scoring among all who played in at least two games (25.7 ppg) and is more singularly responsible for his team’s placement in the Final Four than any other player,” Norlander wrote.
Thornwell had 103 points in four games to lead the Gamecocks into the Final Four. South Carolina plays Gonzaga at 6:09 p.m. ET Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. Thornwell was the key piece for the Gamecocks all season, being named the SEC player of the year. But, as Norlander also noted, players around Thornwell stepped up through the tournament.
PJ Dozier and Maik Kotsar had big games against Florida, while Chris Silva was huge against Duke.
Still, there is no denying where everything starts for the Gamecocks and it’s with the East Regional MVP.
“Thornwell, who has been a really good college player the past two years, has evolved into a great one. A GREAT ONE,” Norlander wrote. “He’s the second-best defender left in this tournament (Oregon’s Jordan Bell is No. 1) and still is responsible for doing so much on offense. South Carolina now has three all-time legends in school history: Devan Downey, Alex English and Thornwell. He is good enough to get his team a national title. The prospect of that still seems far-fetched for some to believe, but so did South Carolina even getting to the Sweet 16.”