For the second-straight year, former William & Mary men’s basketball All-American Marcus Thornton will take part in the NBA Summer League with the Boston Celtics. A second-round pick of the Celtics in 2015, Thornton played last season in Australia with the Sydney Kings and in the NBA Development League with the Maine Red Claws.
The Celtics are set to compete in both the Utah Jazz Summer League, July 4-7, and the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, July 9-18. Boston plays three games in the Utah Summer League, opening with the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. ET on the Fourth of July. They meet the host Utah Jazz on Tuesday, July 5, at 7 p.m. ET, before closing out the trip to Salt Lake City against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, July 7, at 7 p.m. ET. The first two games will be played at the Vivint Smart Home Arena with the final contest against the Spurs set for the Jon M. Huntsman Center. All three games in Utah will be televised on NBA TV.
In the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the Celtics play a trio of games before the playoffs. Boston opens with the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, July 9, at 6 p.m. ET inside the Cox Pavilion. The Celtics meet the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, July 10, at 10:30 p.m. ET inside the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV. Boston’s final preliminary round game comes against the Dallas Mavericks in Cox Pavilion on Tuesday, July 12, at 6 p.m. ET. The Samsung NBA Summer League Playoffs are set to begin on Wednesday, July 13 and run though the championship onMonday, July 18. Each team is guaranteed to play at least five games in Las Vegas.
ESPN will present all 67 games from Las Vegas across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU and WatchESPN. Coverage of Samsung NBA Summer League will tip off on ESPN on July 8. In total, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will broadcast 25 games, including all four quarterfinal games, both semifinal games and the Championship Game on Monday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET at the Thomas & Mack Center. Fans can also log on to ESPN3, where all 67 games will be live-streamed. NBA TV will also present a full slate of Samsung NBA Summer League action, televising a total of 30 games. The network’s coverage will begin on July 8 with an opening-day tripleheader.
Thornton started his first professional season in the top league in Australia with the Sydney Kings. He averaged 12.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and two assists per game in 28 games with the Kings. Thornton poured in a season-high 29 points on 13-of-23 shooting with five rebounds against Melbourne United on Nov. 1.
Following the Australian season, he returned to the U.S., and signed with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. In 12 games in the NBA D-League, Thornton helped Maine to an 8-4 record, averaging 13.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He shot 45.7 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from 3-point range. Thornton saved his best game of the year for the D-League playoffs, tallying 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 4-of-6 from 3-pointer range against the Canton Charge on April 5.
Last year, Thornton appeared in all eight games of both the Utah and Vegas Summer Leagues, helping the Celtics to a 5-3 record. At the Vegas Summer League, he averaged 6.8 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists per game in 11.8 minutes of action. He shot 38.5 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 85.7 percent from the free throw line. The Celtics went 3-0 during preliminary round play in Vegas and earned the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, but fell to San Antonio in the quarterfinals. Thornton enjoyed his best Summer League game with 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including both his 3-point attempts, and 9-of-9 from the free throw line in 20 minutes during a 101-69 win over the Miami Heat.
W&M’s all-time leading scorer, Thornton was a the 45th pick overall in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Celtics. He was the ninth Tribe player to be selected in the NBA Draft and the highest since 1961. Thornton became the first Tribe player to be named the CAA Player of the Year after averaging 20 points per game as a senior in 2014-15. He was also selected as anAssociated Press All-American after leading the Tribe to its second straight 20-win season in 2015 and the CAA Regular Season Champoinship.
Thornton established school marks for points (2,178), 3-pointers made (325), games played (127), minutes played (4,328), minutes per game (34.1) and 3-pointers per game (2.55). He was a three-time First Team NABC All-District pick and a three-time All-CAA choice. During his senior season, Thornton was named a finalist for the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year award and the Jerry West Division I Shooting Guard of the Year, presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. During the team’s 2015 awards banquet, it was announced the Thornton’s No. 3 jersey will be retired at a ceremony sometime in the future.