As many people that have been following the basketball recruiting rankings expected, Ohio State 2022 commit and combo guard Bruce Thornton has officially earned his fifth star in the 2022 class. Thornton has been setting the AAU circuit and summer basketball on fire and has been skyrocketing up the individual class rankings.
Thornton is now the first five-star recruit Ohio State has landed since D’Angelo Russell in 2014 and the first during Chris Holtmann’s tenure, according to 247 sports. DJ Carton was a five-star for a period of time but ultimately finished his high school career as a four-star.
Thornton is coming into the program next season with high expectations. With the Buckeyes losing Jimmy Sotos and Jamari Wheeler after next season, it will be up to Thornton and Meechie Johnson to run the show in the backcourt and with the way Meechie Johnson has looked so far and the hype behind Thornton, that has all the ingredients for an exciting duo.
Since Thornton will come into the program next season and we can look a bit ahead, let’s take a look at how he stacks up against other recent Buckeye five-star guards. These rankings are all according to 247 sports and date back to 2000 when they started their yearly player and team rankings.
D’Angelo Russell – 2014
Russell is the most recent five-star guard to come through Ohio State and suffice to say, his only year on campus was not a disappointment. Russell came into Ohio State from Montverde Academy in Monteverde, Florida and was the No. 16 overall recruit in the country. He was known for his all-around game and his knack for getting to the hoop and creating opportunities for himself and others on offense.
When he got to Ohio State, he didn’t miss a beat, averaging 19.3 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and 5.0 assists per game. He also was an above average shooter during his freshman campaign, knocking down over 41% of his three-point attempts.
Russell is the most recent five-star guard and player in general to come to Columbus, so he is the best marker when it comes to expectations for Thornton. Granted Russell turned into the No. 2 draft pick and it would not be fair to Thornton to set the bar there.
William Buford – 2008
Buford came into Ohio State with likely higher and loftier expectations as anyone ever has had heading to Columbus. He was the 2007 Mr. Basketball in Ohio from Libbey High School in Toledo, Ohio.
Buford was one of the top high school players in the nation, ranking in as the No.13 overall player in the country and the No. 3 shooting guard in the class.
Buford had somewhat of an inconsistent career at Ohio State, but was a solid producer and scorer for the Buckeyes for the most part. He played from the minute he stepped on campus and averaged 13.7 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game. He played in 145 games, which is fourth all-time behind David Lighty, Aaron Craft and Sam Thompson. He scored 1,990 career points.
Daequan Cook – 2006
Part of the most coveted recruiting class in Ohio State history, Daequan Cook came as one of the highest ranked recruits in program history and to this day still is. He comes in at fourth all-time, behind Greg Oden, BJ Mullens and Jared Sullinger.
Cook came in as the No. 14 ranked recruit and played one year at Ohio State, helping Mike Conley Jr and Oden lead the Buckeyes to the national championship game against Florida. Cook left after a year somewhat surprisingly and did not have much of an NBA career.
He averaged 9.8 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game, both below what was expected of him. He only played 16 minutes combined in the national semifinal and the national final and scored four total points.
Mike Conley Jr. – 2006
Mike Conley Jr. is one of the most recognized names in Ohio State basketball history, because of the expectations of him coming into his freshman season, the accomplishments of his freshman season and because of his accomplishments post Columbus in the NBA.
Conley was the No. 22 overall recruit in the country and is the No. 9 recruit to enter the Ohio State program since 2000.
In his one year at Ohio State, Conley averaged 11.3 points per game, 6.5 assists per game and 3.7 rebounds per game. He left Ohio State after his freshman campaign and was drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft to the Memphis Grizzlies.
One of the common denominators of the four five-star guards is three of them were one and dones in college. The only one that stayed past one season was William Buford, who stayed for four seasons.
Another thing learned from these guys is that Ohio State fans should be excited to get Thornton on Columbus. The expectations will be high but the way he has played recently, he will accept that challenge head on.