COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sindarius Thornwell is three games into his return from suspension and South Carolina has returned to its winning ways in the process.
It has been so far, so good for the Gamecocks basketball team and their senior standout, who has seamlessly slid back into the lineup like he never missed time at all.
“It’s not really an adjustment because he has been practicing,” senior guard Duane Notice said. “When he wasn’t playing, he was still practicing.”
Thornwell was suspended for six games for an undisclosed violation of athletic department policy. The Gamecocks opened the season 7-0 with him, but went 3-3 without him. Now, they are back to form and have won all three games to open SEC play for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
South Carolina hosts host Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night (ESPNU) at Colonial Life Arena.
“It’s nice to have him back out there because you can see the chemistry,” Notice said. “I love playing with him. I’ve been playing with him for four years. The team loves having him around because he’s a great vocal leader and a leader by example. It obviously shows.”
The 6-foot-5 senior was averaging 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game when he was suspended on Dec. 4 and he has had no problem finding the hoop or the glass since coach Frank Martin announced Thornwell was reinstated.
Thornwell is coming off a 22-point outing in South Carolina’s 70-60 win against Tennessee on Wednesday. He is averaging 19 points per game since he came back, picking up right where he left off.
“You can tell he has been waiting to come back and he’s been hungry and he’s been playing well,” Notice said. “He’s gonna keep it up and we are going to keep preparing to play with him.”