Cliff Cornish is no LeBron James and High Point, N.C., will certainly never be confused with South Beach. But Cornish, a former North County forward, does see one key similarity between his decision to transfer to Morgan State and the greatest basketball player in the world signing with Cleveland.
“It feels pretty good [signing with Morgan], especially because of the LeBron comparisons – not skill wise, but in coming back home,” Cornish said Monday. “My friends and family are all happy to see me come close to home.”
The 6-foot-9, 257-pound Cornish signed with the Bears last week. He’ll be a redshirt sophomore this season.
Cornish, who averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds as a senior at North County during the 2011-12 season, said Morgan was one of the first schools to offer him in high school. He also considered Boston University, Central Connecticut State, Kent State, La Salle and Stony Brook before picking High Point.
After redshirting as a freshman, Cornish averaged 1.9 points and 1.6 rebounds this past year, appearing in 27 games and making three starts. Cornish, who averaged 8.6 minutes as a redshirt freshman, said his decision to transfer was not about playing time, but rather about “family reasons” and “being close to home.”
Cornish said the High Point coaches understood completely.
“The coaches at High Point contacted coaches about me, about my decision,” Cornish said. “That really shows that they were part of my family, just to help me out. They could’ve just said, ‘Get out of my school, you’re not getting a release.’ But they were very helpful.”
Once Morgan State expressed interest, Cornish’s decision was simple. He toured the campus with Bears junior forward Cedric Blossom, a Columbia native and former AAU teammate of his with Crusader Nation. Cornish also worked to build relationships with Morgan coach Todd Bozeman and assistant coach Keith Goodie.
Two-and-a-half weeks after deciding to leave High Point, Cornish was officially a Bear.
“Man, it feels great," Cornish said. "It’s about six hours from Baltimore to High Point. My family didn’t get to see me play a lot. Now most likely they’ll be at every game, especially at home. … I just felt it was a good fit for me and my family to finish my college career there.”
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