April 10, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton has announced the signing of Al Thornton to a National Letter of Intent to begin playing for the Seminoles during the upcoming 2002-03 season. Hamilton, who was named the Seminoles’ head coach March 19, has begun to assemble a strong recruiting class in less than one month on the job.
“We are excited about a player with the abilities of Al Thornton coming to Florida State,” said Hamilton. “He is a player who will work hard every day and get better each time he steps on the court. Our fans will love watching this young man play in a Seminole uniform.”
Thornton, a 6-8 forward, averaged 27.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 3.0 blocked shots and 2.0 steals as a senior at Perry (Ga.) High School. He was named the Most Valuable Player at the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) All-Star game and the Georgia/Tennessee All-Star Game following his senior season in addition to earning Class AAA All-State honorable mention honors. He scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Georgia/Tennessee All-Star game. Thornton was also named the middle-Georgia Player of the Year by the Macon Telegraph.
“He was the best athlete on the floor,” said Bartlett (Tenn.) High School coach Hubie Smith, who coached the Tennessee all-start team against Georgia. “He is a very, very good athlete who made shots, got offensive rebounds and scored in transition. I thought he was a very athletic player.”
Thornton scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the GACA All-Star game March 31 while helping his South team to a 97-81 victory. He scored a career-high 53 points against West Laurens and scored 40 or more points in three other games his senior season.
Thornton has been invited to participate in this month’s Georgia/Florida All-Star game in Orlando. He selected Florida State over Cincinnati, who earned the No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament last month.
“Florida State is getting a player who has the potential to be tremendous on the collegiate level,” said Perry head coach Brett Hardy. “When Coach Hamilton and his staff begin to work with him, they are going to help him work on his skills and continue to grow as a player. They are lucky to be getting him because I think he was overlooked at the beginning of the year.”