COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Pro Am will have another current NBA player on the floor on Thursday – and he's a fan favorite around Columbia.
Sindarius Thornwell, one of the newest Los Angeles Clippers, will lace up his sneakers one more time in Columbia and play in the SC Pro Am on Thursday at Heathwood Hall. Thornwell returns to the Palmetto State after an impressive run in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Now, the former USC guard will continue to build on his game with a brief run on Thursday.
"When he was going through the pre-draft workouts, I remember having a conversation," Rich recalled. "He called from the airport in Los Angeles. He had just worked out for the L.A. Lakers. He and PJ Dozier were sitting in the airport and he called and said, 'Hey, when is the Pro Am?' and I'm thinking, 'Pro Am? Man, you're in the middle of pre-draft workouts trying to get drafted. You don't need to be thinking about the program.'
"And you know what he said? He said, 'Man, the Pro Am is always important to me and will always be important to me because I was the first high school player to play in it and also I just enjoy playing in front of our hometown and home state folks.'"
Thornwell, one of the catalysts in the Gamecocks' Final Four run this past season, will become the second current NBA player to compete in the SC Pro Am. On Tuesday, Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton took the court and posted 36 points. Being able to have two NBA players in the SC Pro Am is exactly what Rich hoped for.
According to Rich, Thornwell is slated to play in the 7:15 p.m. game at Heathwood Hall. While the Pro Am has seen good crowds for their games, Rich is expecting a larger turnout with the Clippers guard on the floor.
"I think the crowd will be a pretty big crowd and I think that crowd will sense around not only wanting to see Sindarius play, but I think it'll just be an opportunity to show their appreciation for him one more time. That's what I think it really amounts to."
Admission for the SC Pro Am games are free. The first game of the night will start at 6 p.m.