Vol commit dubbed a 'pure shooter'

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Great shooters are rare but Tennessee apparently found one with its first commitment of the 2014 signing class, Jordan Cornish of Brother Martin High in New Orleans.

"I was fortunate to coach some college ball 20 years ago, and his shot rivals any I've ever seen," Brother Martin head coach Christopher Biehl told InsideTennessee. "He's just a pure shooter."

Cornish averaged 14.9 points and 3.9 assists per game as a junior last season on a team that featured four college signees. As the only returning starter, his scoring should increase considerably as a senior in 2013-14.

"That scoring total is misleading," Biehl said. "He's a kid that easily could score 28 or 30 on any given night.

"He comes off a screen extremely well. He can shoot in transition and he can shoot with his feet underneath him. He can catch and shoot. You guys are getting an incredible kid who has yet to blossom into the player he's going to be. He's just a heck of a scorer."

Cornish says his top performance during the 2012-13 high school season was 28 points against St. Augustine but that he scored 41 in an AAU game last summer.

"I'm a big guard that can get others involved, get to the rim and knock down 3-point shots," he said.

He's a big guard, all right. At 6-feet-5 and 185 pounds, Cornish has the strength to attack the basket, as well as the touch to knock down jump shots.

"Jordan is a 16-year-old kid in a man's body," Biehl said. "People forget how young he is. He's a happy-go-lucky kid but a warrior on the basketball court."

Apparently so. Despite playing mostly guard, he averaged 10.7 rebounds per game last season.

"When you first see Jordan, people assume he's a power forward," Biehl said. "We play him at the 2 position (shooting guard) to best prepare him for Tennessee but the truth of the matter is that Jordan probably will play some point guard for us, as well. He handles the ball extremely well for a young man his size."

Cornish says Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin expects to use him at small forward, shooting guard and point guard.

"He sees me playing all three," Cornish said. "He thinks I can play all over the floor to create mismatches. "

That's fine with Cornish, who relishes the challenge of filling multiple roles.

"If I have to play point guard I can do it," he said. "I love getting other people involved. I can guard a smaller guard and also a small forward. Most small forwards are too slow to guard me but I can guard them on the other end with no problem."

Cornish's versatility and scoring prowess is prompting some opponents to use gadget defenses to try and contain him.

"We saw some triangle-and-two this year, and I assume we'll see some box-and-one next year," Biehl said. "We have a pretty good point guard but Jordan will be responsible for bringing the ball up the floor some so he can create his own shot. With Jordan's versatility, he's got very, very few weaknesses in his game."

Cornish showed up on the Vol radar shortly after Cuonzo Martin took the Vol reins two years ago. The prospect attended the Vol-LSU football game at Knoxville in 2011, then attended Tennessee's elite skills camp last summer. To say he came away impressed would be a gross understatement.

"I loved it," he recalled. "I met Jordan McRae and Brandon Lopez. Me and Brandon text each other a lot. We're really close."

Cornish recently narrowed his college options to Tennessee, Oklahoma, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, UTEP, Houston, and Virginia Commonwealth. Ultimately, the Vols won out.

"I like Coach Martin's style of play and the toughness he expects, plus the tradition of the school," Cornish explained.

The home-state LSU Tigers have not offered a scholarship. If they eventually do he says it won't sway his decision to be a Vol.

"I'm loyal," he said. "My family teaches loyalty, and I'm loyal to Tennessee."

That's significant, especially if Jordan Cornish proves to be the scoring machine his high school coach projects him to be at the college level.

"I've been a high school coach for 16 years and coached some pretty good ball players," Biehl said. "Some have played high D-1 basketball but I've never run across a young man with the ability to score the way he can score."

FOX Sports NEXT basketball recruiting analyst Evan Daniels offers similar thoughts.

"He's a guard who can really score it," Daniels said. "He looks to be a pretty good shooter from long range and he's got a nice floater. He's definitely a scorer."

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