By Jeff Owens/Photo by Jenny Dilworth
The Los Angeles Clippers, led by NBA All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, want to be a hard-nosed team that competes for championships.
The team believes former South Carolina star Sindarius Thornwell fits that mold.
LA acquired the rights to Thornwell Thursday after he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 48 pick of the NBA Draft. The Clippers, which finished fourth in the West but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, are thrilled to acquire the player who led South Caroline to its first Final Four and became the school's third all-time leading scorer in his four-year career.
"We wanted to add tough, competitive, hard-playing, high basketball-IQ players to compliment our team," Clippers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said on the team's website.
"Sindarius has shown the ability to play multiple positions, and when you look at what he did at South Carolina, taking them to the Final Four, their program had never achieved any success like they did. He is just a winner. In basketball terms, he is a baller. He loves the gym. He is relentless. He has a great work ethic."
The Clippers scouted Thornwell at the NBA Combine in Chicago and loved what they saw. They also acquired second-round pick (No. 39) Jawun Evans, a point guard, from Philadelphia.
"When we met with him in Chicago, he fit the Clipper culture, so we are going to do everything we can to put together a team that competes for championships every single year," Frank said of Thornwell.
The Clippers were so intrigued by Thornwell that they paid $2.5 million to the Bucks for the rights to the South Carolina star, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"We are really fortunate, because the way we got the pick tonight was because (team owner) Steve Ballmer paid for the pick," Frank said. "Not everyone has that good fortune. We are going to put together a roster that is competing for championships and can sustain excellence for a long time."
Gamecock head coach Frank Martin was happy to see his star player acquired by the Clippers.
"The LA Clippers led by Doc Rivers r about winning and they just go a WINNER in (Sindarius Thornwell)," Martin tweeted Thursday night.