CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — To make the jump from high school to the Atlantic Coast Conference, true freshman Jay Heath turned to the only teammate who’s played on three Division I teams in the past five years.Derryck Thornton, Boston College’s graduate transfer guard, leads the Eagles in minutes, points and assists per game after spending time at Duke and USC. He and Heath make up the Eagles’ (9-7, 3-2 ACC) starting backcourt and have scored 35% of BC’s total points this year.“(Thornton’s) actually teaching me a lot,” Heath said after a Jan. 6 practice. “He’s been playing for four years, so I could learn a lot from him. I’m just taking as much as possible.”When the Eagles come to the Carrier Dome on Jan. 15, Heath and Thornton will be tasked with breaking Syracuse’s zone defense with their shooting behind the arc. Heath shoots 39% from deep, while Thornton’s clip is 25%.Thornton decided to spend his final year of eligibility at Boston College shortly after his season at USC ended. According to the Boston Herald, Thornton appreciated BC head coach Jim Christian’s honesty and genuine nature and chose the Eagles over Gonzaga.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think it gives them a chance to mature,” Christian said, “When things don’t go your way and you try to find a new place, you know, you kind of get a new lease on life. And you got to make the most of it. So, he’s trying to do that.”Heath said Thornton has been helping him and other younger members of the team mentally adjust to playing ACC basketball by sharing his experiences from playing for USC’s Andy Enfield and, before that, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.Thornton’s not just a veteran locker room presence. At BC, he’s playing the best basketball of his collegiate career, averaging 13.3 points per game. In his first game this season, he scored a career-high 23 points against Wake Forest and recorded 22 points versus South Florida four days later. At his prior two stops, he’d never topped 19.Heath, who played at Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.) High School and became ESPN’s No. 2 player in the district, is mirroring Thornton’s night-to-night performances. As both a point guard and shooting guard — which Christian compares to playing starting running back and backup quarterback — Heath (12.1 points per game) has consistently scored in double figures and has the best 3-point percentage on the team. Heath said Thornton’s helped him develop poise and patience.“With those two, they both play so hard, they both move the ball very well,” BC forward Steffon Mitchell said. “They’re both great defenders. So, I think we all mesh together because we have that common goal.”But for the past two games, Thornton has been sidelined with an ankle injury. In his absence, Heath led BC’s upset against then-No. 18 Virginia with 17 points but struggled against unranked Georgia Tech.Mike Laprey, a BC communications official, told Syracuse.com Thornton is questionable to play against the Orange. When healthy, Thornton, Heath and Mitchell lead a BC defense that’s recorded the third-most steals per game in the conference (9.06). With an offense that scores the second-least points per game in the ACC, defense has become “our formula for success,” Christian said.“We just have to make sure we do it throughout 20 games, which is not easy. … So you know, I think we know when we play well, what we do, how we play and how unselfish we play and how hard we play on defense and all that stuff. So, we figured that out. we’re going to do it.” Comments Published on January 14, 2020 at 10:14 pm Contact Will: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+
"Meet Derryck Thornton and Jay Heath, the graduate transfer and true freshman leading Boston College"