Might as well put a cape on David Thornton and call him Superman.
There couldn’t be a more deserving nickname for a sixth grader who soars above the rest of the competition. At 5’11” he can dunk on a regulation 10-foot rim.
His youth aau coach Arzelle Lewis gave him the nickname because as David puts it, “I can fly.”
That became apparent when he recently went for a dunk in a game.
But watching him you notice he’s got a whole set of tools too. His feet are constantly moving, he’s always in the right place to grab a rebound and he either alters or blocks every shot when an opponent tries his luck in the lane.
“My post play is what separates me,” says the quiet 12-year-old. “I’m big but I’ve got all the right tools. People always say it must be easy because I’m tall but it’s not that easy.”
David makes it look easy though.
He first started with football then shifted his focus as he got taller. It’s the football toughness that translates to the court. He likes to hit so that enables him to be strong on the hard court. In less than two years of competitive basketball David’s caught quite a few eyes. Teams already alter their game plans around him. Forget about posting him up or driving in the paint.
It’s not too hard to figure out where all these skills came from. It’s in David’s DNA. He’s got three older brothers all of which play college athletics. Dazzmond (6’7”) currently plays forward for James Madison University after beginning his collegiate career at Texas Tech. Demetrius, at 6’5”, plays at Cochise Community College in Arizona. Closer to home is DaVaughn, who plays tight end for Colorado’s football team and stands 6’4”. And before all of them was David Thornton Sr., an athlete in his own right at Oklahoma State at the linebacker position.
So there’s no doubt the younger David is destined for greatness.
“Athletically he’s better than his brothers when they were his age,” says David Sr. “He’s also going to be the tallest. At his age he’s got a lot of work to do still but even right now he can dominate inside.”
Big things are coming and his teammates recognize it.
They take about 5 minutes to decide what David’s best play has been thus far. When they finally decide all of them try to replicate it. Point guard Jamison Jendrusch demonstrates a drive to the baseline and with an up-and-under layup.
“We know when we get the ball to David we can rely on him catching it and making a play,” Jendrusch says. “He’s the tallest guy out there and the best.”
Dauntel Williamson added, “We all start hitting shots from the outside so they can’t double and triple team him. They have to respect our game and then David gets the easy looks.”
Or at least he makes them look easy. That’s what Superman does.