The moment that Clemson fans have feared since Oliver Purnell's departure has finally happened.

Atlanta recruit Marcus Thornton has dropped Clemson, along with Michigan and Kentucky, from consideration in his search for a school. The four finalists in the quest to sign Thornton are Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Georgia Tech.

Clemson granted Thornton a release from his letter of intent to the school shortly after Purnell took the job at Depaul.

This was terrible timing, as the star forward was fresh off a season that saw him named Georgia's Mr. Basketball, in which he tallied 24 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Predictably, major programs from the southeast and elsewhere jumped on the late blooming Thornton, and, though he said he was still considering Clemson, it seemed like there was little chance for the Tigers to reclaim the player who was once their lone recruit in the class of 2010.

This will leave Clemson with a thin frontcourt. Coach Brad Brownell will have to rely on one experienced senior (Jerai Grant) and two unpolished sophomores (Devin Booker and Milton Jennings) to hold down the post for the Tigers.

Clemson fans can now only hold onto the fading hopes of bringing in transfer Murphy Holloway to bolster their depleted front line. And even then, Holloway may not be able to set foot on the court until the 2011-2012 season.