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November 3, 2011

North County's Cliff Cornish to High Point

cliff-cornish-high-point.jpg It was difficult for Cliff Cornish to sort through all the interest he was receiving from various Division I college basketball programs.

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward from North County was recruited by Boston University, Central Connecticut State, Kent State, La Salle, Morgan State and Stony Brook, among others. But one program – High Point – quickly stood out from all the rest.

“They saw him … at every tournament we played in, from West Virginia to Vegas to L.A.,” said Fred McCathorine, Cornish’s coach with the Crusader Nation basketball program. “They got to see him play a lot of games – six in West Virginia, eight in Vegas and nine in L.A. They got to see a lot of Cliff Cornish play.”

Cornish couldn’t help but notice the intensity of the Panthers staff’s pursuit. After making two trips – an unofficial and an official visit – to the North Carolina school, Cornish’s mind was made up. He committed to High Point late last week.

“I’m still happy with my decision,” Cornish said. “I knew I was going there as soon as I [visited]. It just felt right as soon as I stepped on campus after talking with the coaches and players.”

Cornish spent the first two years of his high school career at Cardinal Gibbons. When the Baltimore Catholic League school closed after the 2008-09 school year, Cornish transferred to St. Paul’s, where he said he averaged “probably 14 points and nine rebounds” as a junior. But the 45-minute commute from Cornish’s Anne Arundel County home to St. Paul’s became too much, and he decided to finish high school at nearby North County.

It was Cornish’s play with Crusader Nation, however, that put him on the radar of so many mid-major schools. McCathorine said most college coaches had similar praise for Cornish’s game.

“One was how well he runs for us and how strong he is,” McCathorine said. “And how well he passed the ball. On the interior, he passes very, very well for a big man. Cliff gets up and down the floor. He might be a 3 actually.”

Cornish said he “never heard of” High Point before the Panthers coaches started recruiting him. He immediately did his research on the program and the university, and liked what he saw. After his first visit, Cornish was pretty much sold.

“As soon as I went there, I wanted to stay,” Cornish said. “It’s just immaculate. There’s no trash. It’s like a gated community, just like on television. … Everybody is just nice to you. Just a lot of stuff to do on campus.”

Cornish, who’s considering a major in sociology, said he bonded quickly with Panthers assistant coach Ahmad Dorsett, a former Mount St. Mary’s and Bowie State assistant. Dorsett isn’t the only High Point member with Maryland ties. Former Dunbar star and Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro guard Devante Wallace is a freshman there, as is guard Tre Duncan, a Severn grad who spent last year at Princeton Day Academy.

“I was surprised to find out there are guys from” Maryland, Cornish said.

McCathorine thinks Cornish could factor in to High Point’s rotation as a freshman. He’s versatile enough to play the 3 or the 4, he’s comfortable playing out on the wing – High Point’s offensive style is similar to Crusader Nation’s – and he’s a good mid-range shooter. Cornish said he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to see action next fall.

“It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Cornish said. “I want to bring a championship there.”

Handout photo of Cliff Cornish courtesy of Crusader Nation.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:20 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local recruiting


To God Be The Glory, we are so proud to have 1 of our own go for his goal. This young man stands out from the rest all because he is a leader. The way he plays is the way he act. I have so much respect for him, how can you be so young and give so much of yourself to other's, I tell you how nobody but JESUS, keep putting God first and everyone who speak your name will be bless. I love you Little Cliff and made God keep blessing, watch out here come's CLIFFTON HIGH POINT!

I still remember the day I walked into Ridgeway Elem during a basketball tournament I was running for all star rec intramural teams in AA County. We were just starting up a AAU team for the Severn Seminoles and needed a big man to compliment our guards and there was Clifton. A big happy go lucky kid that was new to basketball. I called our head coach, Darryl Adams to tell him about Clifton. That was the easy part. Convincing his parents, who at the time knew nothing about the game of basketball, that playing AAU for us would open many doors for Clifton in the future was the tough part. After many years with Coach "D" and then moving on to the Crusaders, Cardinal Gibbons, St Paul's and North County, our little boy is all grown up and ready for D1. I speak for all of your teammates in saying we are so happy for you . You make me so proud.

Congratulations little Cuz.......Since you will be close to your Cuz at Wake Forest, I look forward to keeping up with you the next four years. It's been a long time since the two of you were playing one on one at Uncle Richard's house in Florida. Who would have imagined that both of you would be Division 1 signees. Congratulations again.

Good luck Clifton I hope you succeed in everything you do ya

Good luck Clifton , knew you could do it (: you came a long way !

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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