Jordan Cornish’s detoured route to college basketball ended Tuesday afternoon, part of a saga which saw the Brother Martin guard fall in love with a school before watching the head coach leave for another program.
Cuonzo Martin’s move from the University of Tennessee to California shifted Cornish’s loyalty — and commitment — away from the Volunteers, which dated to last spring.
Now, thanks to a release from his national letter of intent, he’s heading to UNLV.
Cornish, a 6-foot-5 standout, made the announcement at Back 2 Basics Basketball Academy in Elmwood, choosing UNLV over Wake Forest and Nebraska.
“I took all three visits with an open mind,” Cornish said. “I got home Sunday night and me and my family took two days. We made a decision last night at dinner.”
That gave the family enough time to don UNLV gear underneath their clothes at his afternoon news conference.
Cornish said the coaching staff made him like he was at “home,” which coupled with the chance to join one of the better recruiting classes in the nation, became a welcomed change.
Not that it was easy to switch allegiances.
“Tennessee was where my heart was, but when coach Martin left. ... everything happens for a reason,” he said. “And God closes doors to open better ones. Now, I just have to take this as the best opportunity and do what I have to do at UNLV.”
At Brother Martin, Cornish helped the Crusaders reach the Class 5A playoffs, where they lost in the first round to Mandeville.
Among others, Cornish said he sought advice on his second round of recruiting interest from former LSU star Randy Livingston and Marcell Scott, a 1993 Kennedy High graduate who played at Jacksonville State and is founder of Back 2 Basics Basketball Academy. Scott is also helping Cornish transform his game.
“In high school, at 6-5, you’re big, but in college, 6-5 is a guard,” Scott said. “So that’s what I try to show Jordan in the workout.
“You’ve got to be the point guard, the shooting guard, the three (forward). Your perimeter skills have to be up to point.
“His body is ready for the college game.”