Baltimore native and four-star basketball recruit Ike Cornish couldn’t wait another two months until his birthday to announce a verbal commitment to play basketball at the University of Maryland starting in 2021.
Cornish, 16, initially said that he would announce his commitment on his 17th birthday (Aug. 21), but he couldn’t wait to tell everyone that he already knew where he wanted to play. He said it was a weight off his shoulders to be able to do that because he didn’t want to keep that secret after he knew what his decision would be.
He announced his decision June 10:
“When I had a virtual visit with Maryland, they checked all the boxes,” Cornish said on Glenn Clark Radio June 11. “Maryland was always in the back of my mind. It was a good fit for me. I just had to make sure everything else was good. I know I was supposed to wait until Aug. 21, but there is no reason to wait if you’re sitting around knowing what you really want to do.”
Cornish, a 6-foot-6 guard who played his first two years (2017-2019) at Dulaney High School in Timonium, Md., moved to South Carolina to play at Legacy Early College for his junior year.
Cornish said Maryland wasn’t initially one of his priorities because he wasn’t heavily recruited by the university until recently. When he left for Legacy, he didn’t think he would come back to the area for college.
“I never thought about coming back home because I actually just left. It was more like, ‘That’s [my] hometown, but I just left so I kind of want to get away,’” Cornish said. “But Maryland was just too good of a school and too good of a situation for me to pass that up.”
Cornish met Maryland assistant coach Bino Ranson when Ranson was watching one of his brother’s games. Cornish’s older brother, Josh, was playing at Calvert Hall at the time. (Now a college player, Josh recently transferred from Utah State to Bowie State.)
Ranson, who was recruiting Mount Saint Joseph’s Darryl Morsell at the time, talked to Cornish and told him that he was paying attention to him, too. Recently, Ranson sent Cornish a picture of the pair when they met, and Cornish looked back at how far he had come since meeting Ranson in eighth grade.
“… It was just crazy to look back on it,” Cornish said. “He came up to me and talked to me and he was saying ‘I’m coming for you next,’” said Cornish, who added that Ranson watched practices and games at Dulaney and always showed him support.
Ranson never stopped following Cornish’s progress, and he was ready when Maryland ramped up its recruiting efforts of late. Ranson led the recruitment of Cornish, who said that the two had conversations not only about basketball but also about the different aspects of life at Maryland. He said that they talked about real-life situations, which helped him get an idea of what it is like to live in College Park, Md., and how the classroom environment plays into daily life.
“It really helped me realize the situation that I had, and I didn’t want to pass that up,” he said.
Cornish’s June 10 announcement came as a small surprise after he posted his top six schools a few weeks earlier. He said that appreciates the support and encouragement he is getting from everyone, even from fans of the five schools he turned down to go to Maryland.
“The fan base here is crazy. Like everyone here is very accepting of you and if you’re already from here, it’s even bigger. I felt like I had a family that I never really met before. … Everyone was supportive. Everyone was on my side, even the schools I didn’t go to and their fan bases. … They were proud of me.”
Cornish is Maryland’s second recruit for the Class of 2021, joining power forward Julian Reese, another local kid who plays at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. After the 2020-21 season, rising senior Morsell will be gone and rising junior guard Aaron Wiggins may explore his options. Cornish will likely play some of the minutes left by one or both of the Maryland guards.
“When I’m on the court, I will be playing hard every minute in the game,” Cornish said. “There is going to be no breaks, and I’m an aggressive scorer so be ready for me to be in attack mode in every game and every second.”
Though Cornish won’t be coming to College Park until 2021, he is looking forward to the campus experience and meeting new people.
“When I’m on campus, I’m a nice guy so if you ever want to say hi, say what’s up,” Cornish said. “I won’t bite.”
For more from Cornish, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ike Cornish