January 31, 2006 - by
Thornton Emerging As A Seminole Leader

Jan. 31, 2006

Florida State basketball has been on the upswing in recent years, and a huge reason is forward Al Thornton.

He was the first recruit of the Leonard Hamilton era. It is obvious why Hamilton expressed such interest in Thornton as he has become one of the go-to-guys on this Seminole squad. He has shown improvement each and every year and looks to continue the trend.

“I knew I was one of the leaders coming into this season,” Thornton said. “In the off season, one of the many things I worked on was getting in better condition to play longer minutes. I also worked on my range. I’m going to be up top a lot and I’m going to need to knock down some shots.”

The junior forward from Perry, Ga. chose Florida State over several other schools including Kentucky, Cincinnati and Georgia.

“It was kind of close to home,” Thornton said. “I had some friends from my hometown that I knew that went here. I talked to them about it and they said it was a pretty good school to go to. Plus coach Hamilton, he is a very honest person with me. I was one of his first signees and once I talked to him and heard he was getting the job here, I thought it was the best fit for me.”

Thornton is enjoying his success at Florida State, but when he was younger, he probably didn’t see himself playing basketball at all.

“I didn’t really like playing basketball when I was growing up. I was more of a football player,” Thornton said.

Thornton describes himself as a very quiet, shy guy. Some of his favorite things to do when he is off the court
a re some of the same everyday activities as most college students such as playing PlayStation, going to the mall
and hanging out with friends. However, he also uses his time to enjoy other, more meaningful experiences.

“Spending time with my family is the most important thing,” Thornton explained.

Players everywhere in all sports have what they call a `good luck charm’ or involve themselves in some kind of
ritual before playing. Thornton, on the other hand, is not very superstitious, but he does s ort of stick to a pre-game

“I pray, take a shower and I might watch some highlights of Michael Jordan just to get me in a basketball mood, but other than that nothing else really,” Thornton said.

Throughout his career at Florida State, Thornton has done nothing but impress.

The junior has shown his teammates, coaches and fans what he is capable of and what he is all about. So far this year,
Thornton is averaging 16.9 points along with 7.8 rebounds per game. The junior is shooting a ridiculous 58.5 percent from the field and an astounding 53.3 percent from beyond the arc.

He has formed into an outstanding basketball player and has the potential to become a great one. Al Thornton is an
amazing leader, a remarkable shooter and is quickly becoming one of the elite players not only in the ACC, but in the nation.

With his leadership, the solid veterans and the incredible young talent, this Seminole team just might have the right ingredients to have FSU fans cheering about something in March.

By Ben Murphy
FSU Sports Information
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