Pearl: Thor could be ‘something special’

J.T. Thor has made it official.

The 6-foot-9, 195-pound forward, signed his National Letter of Intent with Auburn, head coach Bruce Pearl announced in a Monday morning press release.

“I have been a JT Thor fan for three years,” Pearl said. “We first laid eyes on him when he was at Huntington Prep and were so impressed with his skill level and basketball IQ. It just felt like if he ever filled out a little bit, he could be something special.”

Thor, a consensus four-star forward heralded as the 47th-best player in the 2020 class by ESPN and the third-best from the state of Georgia, earned all-state honors averaging 14.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for Norcross High School.

The lefty forward, whose prospect ratings trail only five-star guard Sharife Cooper in Auburn’s incoming class, was a much needed addition for the Tigers to reload in the frontcourt. The pair have developed a relationship, working out together in Georgia.

“We used to play two-on-two, three-on-threes,” Thor said of Cooper in an interview with Evan Daniels of 247Sports. “Every time we’re on the same team, we feel like we’re unstoppable. Every time he throws me a lob, I set him a screen, pick-and-pop. I feel like me and him jell together and we can make a lot of noise next year.”

Thor isn’t your typical forward. It’s early for comparisons, yes, but he does possess a similar type of upside and potential that Chuma Okeke brought in terms of versatility.

The Norcross product is long, athletic and possesses traits normally seen in guards. He is more than capable of being a playmaker in the offense, has above average ball handling skills for his size and can stretch the floor so opposing big men will have to step out and guard on the perimeter.

“Because of Chuma Okeke leaving early to go to the NBA, Danjel Purifoy and Anfernee McLemore graduating, we had a tremendous opportunity for a versatile, face-up, big guard like JT Thor,” Pearl added. “He can cover 1 through 4, score inside and out and is a prospect that my strength coach and my assistant coaches are going to love working with because he has tremendous upside.”

The Tigers have one scholarship spot remaining for the 2020 class.

“Bruce Pearl and the class that’s coming in jelled well with me. I feel like we can have a really good season next year,” Thor told Daniels. “He’s a player’s coach, first of all, and he’s a winner. He had players before me that played like me, so I feel like I can fit in well to his system and we can make it work.”