Marcus Thornton has set to step on the court for the Georgia basketball team, but already he's exhibiting a quality that's bound to help as he navigates through his freshman campaign - maturity.
It's showing up in more ways than one.
Not only does Thornton exude a sense of quiet confidence and dignity when speaking to reporters, but he's using a similar that approach when it comes to familiarizing himself with the college game.
"I think that (mature approach) definitely comes from my family, my upbringing, my high school coach. I always stay around mature people trying to understand how you present yourself," Thornton said. "It definitely helps a lot keeping everything in perspective and go after whatever you do in life with mature enough approach where you look at everything from all sides, learn from your mistakes and try to get better every single day."
Like most freshmen, Thornton's spending much of his time with his head in Mark Fox's complicated playbook learning the Bulldogs' triangle-based scheme.
But as he's approached that task, Thornton has done with a focus and determination that belies his youth, something that's quite apparent when the former Westlake standout talks about the start of his collegiate career.
"At first it was a little struggle just because the scheme is pretty tough to understand," said Thornton. "But after the first couple of weeks I've started to understand things and figure out there are so many options. I'm just trying to get a sense of everything now. It's starting to come along."
So far, Fox likes what he's seen from the 6-foot-7 youngster, not only with his effort on the practice floor, but also his approach to learning the system as quickly as he can.
"Like most of the guys (freshmen), he's had a mountain of information dumped on his desk, but he's organized it and trying to memorize it," Fox said. "He's processing it, but overall he's done well. He's still thinking while he plays, but that's OK. I think he's done a nice job."
By now Thornton's story is a familiar one to Bulldog fans.
After originally signing with Clemson, Thornton was let out of his scholarship when the Tigers fired former coach Oliver Purnell.
What followed was a fierce recruiting battle for Thornton between Georgia, Alabama and Georgia Tech before Thornton announced he was going to be a Bulldog during a ceremony as his high school last spring.
"It's definitely nice to be settled but it's still another transition," Thornton said. "We're getting ready to play. We're getting ready for this first game, so we've got to keep working and grinding."
Georgia opens its season Nov. 12 against Mississippi Valley State, but first the Bulldogs will give their fans a sneak peak on Thursday when Augusta State comes to Stegeman Coliseum for a 7 p.m. exhibition game.
It's there that Bulldog fans can see Thornton on the court for the first time after a high school career which saw him average 25 points as a senior en route to earning the title "Mr. Basketball" in Georgia by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club.
Although he played some on the perimeter in high school, the 6-6, 225-pound Thornton will work out of the 3-spot with the Bulldogs.
"That's pretty much where I've been full-time since I've gotten here, although if I have to contribute at the 4 I will," said Thornton, who was ranked the country's 26th-best power forward by Rivals.com. "I did some perimeter stuff in high school, but I don't have a lot of full-time experience on the wing, so there's a transition too, but I've put in a lot of work over the past summer and off-season to get ready."
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