DURHAM, N.C. – Rising senior Tyler Thornton was named one of 10 finalists for the Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year Wednesday. The award celebrates one female and one male collegiate student-athlete who have demonstrated excellent performance on the field and in the classroom, sportsmanship and commitment to community.
“Being named a finalist for this award means a lot to me and my family,” said Thornton. “One of the reasons we chose Duke is the excellence that is required on and off the court. This year I was put in a position to make a difference in some young people’s lives and really enjoyed that opportunity and the time I was able to spend with them.”
Thornton, a member of the inaugural NABC Good Works team, was a key contributor for Duke in 2012-13 averaging 3.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. His steady play off the bench helped the Blue Devils to a 30-6 record and an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance. Widely recognized as a terrific defender and strong leader, he has also made an outstanding impact in the community.
In addition to participating in the Read with the Blue Devils program and the Duke Children's Hospital, Thornton also began working the SONS (Students Of New Success) program at CC Spaulding Elementary School this fall. This unique program, which was created to both educate and mentor at-risk males, is integrated into the educational curricula for third through fifth grades. The program also provides students with historic cultural lessons, tutoring and test preparation as well as a safe place for them to share and receive guidance for their struggles at home and in the community. Through the program, Thornton has developed strong relationships with the students and become a positive male role model as well as someone they look up to, rely on, and confide in.
For more information on Thornton's involvement in the program check out this blog post from Duke Blue Planet - Ty's New Friends - http://blog.dukeblueplanet.com/2013/01/tys-new-friends/.
Joining Thornton as finalists for the SI College Athlete of the Year are Liz Brenner (volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field, University of Oregon), Kimberlyn Duncan (track and field, LSU), Brittney Griner (basketball, Baylor University), Loren Shealy (field hockey, University of North Carolina), Taylor Thornton (lacrosse, Northwestern University), Trey Burke (basketball, University of Michigan), Kyle Dake (wrestling, Cornell University), Khaled Holmes (football, USC) and Drew LeBlanc (ice hockey, St. Cloud State University)
The finalists, chosen by SI editors, include six seniors, two sophomores and two juniors who competed during the 2012-2013 academic year. The celebrated student-athletes represent ten different sports and include a four-sport athlete, multiple NCAA champions and record holders and the 2013 No. 1 WNBA draft pick (Brittney Griner, Baylor).
The College Athlete of the Year winners will be featured in the May 27 issue of Sports Illustrated, which hits newsstands on Wednesday, May 22. Profiles on the winners, including videos will also be featured on SI.com on May 22. Beginning on May 8, fans can vote online for their favorite athletes.
SI.com College Athlete of the Year Release - http://insidesportsillustrated.com/2013/05/08/si-names-college-athlete-of-the-year-finalists-winners-to-be-announced-may-22/