By Jeff Goodman
With Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith gone, the question becomes: Who will take over the point guard duties in Durham?
Incoming freshman Austin Rivers will have the ball in his hands plenty, but he’s a scorer and is better served as a two-guard.
Both Smith and Kyle Singler, shortly after a workout with the Boston Celtics, told me that they both expect Tyler Thornton to run the Duke team next season.
"He’s solid,” Smith said. "He’s a tough, tough kid. I told Quinn (Cook) that he’s not going to go in and take Tyler’s spot.”
Cook is a McDonald’s All-American and a consensus Top 50 recruit who will come in this season and try and earn the point guard's spot.
But Singler is going with Thornton, who he called a “great defender” and agreed with Smith that Thornton brings a toughness to the team.
"That might be his biggest strength,” Singler said.
"He’s not going to make many mistakes,” Smith added. "He’s real smart.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Thornton came out of Gonzaga High in Washington, D.C., as a guy who didn’t crack most recruiting analysts’ Top 100.
A year ago, he averaged a shade under 10 minutes per game and 1.6 points and 1.0 assists per game, but he did see valuable minutes after Irving suffered a major toe injury in December.