The Undefeated highlights South Carolina’s underrated Sindarius Thornwell
By Hayes Rule
March Madness has a tendency to spotlight a previous unknown. This year is no different. In a story titled “South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell is the breakout star of the NCAA tournament,” Jerry Bembry of The Undefeated highlights the star of South Carolina’s basketball team, senior Sindarius Thornwell.
The Gamecocks entered the NCAA Tournament as a №7 seed and have made a miraculous run to the Final Four. This particular profile piece sheds light on Thornwell, a player who has performed extremely well all year but hasn’t gained much national recognition.
The story was written after South Carolina beat Duke in the second round, so it’s even more relevant now after the Gamecocks’ run has gone even deeper. I found the article while surfing on The Undefeated, a section of ESPN’s website that focuses on African-American athletes.
I found this piece of journalism especially interesting, primarily, because of the story. The human element is intriguing — an athlete who has played well all year but has never received recognition, and now that he’s on the big stage, people are noticing him.
On top of that, it’s interesting because he’s a senior — and most great college players don’t play until their senior year — and had some personal issues earlier in the season. Also, the lead paints an appropriate picture for how big of an upset it was for South Carolina to defeat Duke in the tournament:
As Sindarius Thornwell stood near midcourt fulfilling his postgame media obligations, he kept glancing from the TV reporter in front of him to the sea of garnet and black filling the lower bowl of the Bon Secours Wellness Arena directly across from the South Carolina bench.
Bembry utilizes his observation — seeing Thornwell glancing elsewhere to enjoy and take in the moment — to open his piece and grab the attention of the audience.
His final graph is also an effective way to end. Early in the piece, he noted that Thornwell almost scored 50 points in a high school game, but because he scored only 47, he was upset.
His coach went up to him at the end of the game after not wanting to run up the score and said, “One day you’re not going to be concerned about scoring 50 points against Chester.”
Now that South Carolina is making a run, Bembry ended the article with the following quote:
After Sunday’s win, Priester, Thornwell’s high school coach, called the person he describes as the best player he’s ever had.
“You’re going to the Sweet 16,” Priester told him. “Beats the heck out of scoring 50 against Chester, doesn’t it?”