Kaleb Thornton transferring to Akron


Sean Reed

Kent State senior forward Chris Payton (4) guarding NIU senior guard Kaleb Thornton (3) as Thorton looks for an opening to pass the ball. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

By Ethan Gonzales, Sports Editor

DeKALB – NIU senior guard Kaleb Thornton announced Monday on his Instagram that he has committed to the University of Akron.

Thornton spent the last three years at NIU with career averages of 7.8 PPG (points per game), 2.8 RPG (rebounds per game), and 2.8 APG (assists per game). Thornton posted career-highs in points and assists during the 2022-2023 season with 8.8 PPG and 5.3 APG. His APG stat was a team-high for the Huskies this past season.

Thornton saw increased playing time during the 2022-2023 season due to junior guard Keshawn Williams’ season-ending injury.

Thornton opted to continue his playing career at Akron – a team that finished third in the Mid-American Conference standings with a 13-5 conference record in the 2022-2023 season. Akron fell to Kent State University in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament on March 10.

Thornton is set to bolster an Akron lineup that is losing the reigning MAC scoring champion and All-MAC first team honoree senior guard Xavier Castaneda. Junior forward Enrique Freeman, another All-MAC first team honoree, will be returning to the Zips’ lineup for the 2023-2024 season.

Thornton leaves NIU after leading the Huskies to their first MAC Tournament berth since the 2019-2020 season. The Huskies finished the year with a 9-9 conference record and a 13-19 overall record, a four-win improvement from the 2021-2022 season.