When Sindarius Thornwell was at USC, part of his summer routine was competing in the South Carolina Pro-Am, a summer league of mostly college players getting together for games at Heathwood Hall.
Thursday night, Thornwell was back at Heathwood Hall not only as the reigning SEC Player of the Year of a Final Four team, but as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Thornwell took some time to talk about his transition to the NBA which started as a second-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the Clippers. Thornwell said his contract has not been signed but he says once he returns to the West Coast, he will put pen to paper.
He has been through summer league with his debut game against the Lakers ending with a game-high 26 points for Thornwell. He recently went through the formal press conference and he says holding up his Clippers jersey with the other newcomers was an experience he won't forget. Now the challenge is to begin building for what he hopes is a long career in the NBA.
"Dream come true, humble experience," Thornwell said.
"I want to have a career in the NBA and that's my goal."
Thornwell did admit that being an NBA rookie is not unlike being a college freshman who is at the beckon call of the veterans.
"You gotta do stuff," Thornwell said.
"'Hey rook, go do this. Hey,rook'. It's like that was me last year. But, you have to start all the way over, Every step is always something new. You've got to start over."
Torrey Craig is just beginning his NBA career even though he graduated from USC-Upstate in 2014. The Great Falls High School graduate started his career overseas by playing for teams in Australian and New Zealand. Craig recently signed a two-way deal with the Denver Nuggets which he hopes will lead to a roster spot somewhere in the Nuggets system.
"It's like a dream come true," Craig said.
"Something I've been working towards my whole life. I was able to show what I could do in the summer league. So, I just tried to take advantage of the opportunity and make the most of it."
The SC Pro-Am League will continue Saturday with two games at 6:00 pm and 7:15 pm. The championship game is set for Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at Heathwood Hall. Admission is free.