Guess who’s back?
Cooper Cornemann will once again play basketball in his home town.
The former first team all-state point guard for the Yankton High School boys’ basketball team will suit up for his hometown college: Mount Marty University.
Cornemann spent the first semester at South Dakota State University where he was on the men’s basketball team (he played one minute of one game), but has transferred to Mount Marty, the school officially announced Thursday.
Why did he change his mind?
“Mainly, I just missed playing a lot,” Cornemann said Thursday.
“It was nice to be able to practice and everything (at SDSU), but I wasn’t getting to play and compete.”
There’s also the family aspect. Cornemann’s sister, Kami, is on the Mount Marty women’s basketball roster, and his parents can now easily watch him play — they were in attendance for Wednesday night’s home game.
“My dad will make jokes about me being in his basement again, but trust me, I think he’s happy,” Cornemann joked.
So too are the Lancers, who recruited Cornemann while he was playing for the Bucks.
“When I was in high school, we had a good relationship, and when I committed to SDSU, they told me if I ever changed my mind, I could always come to Mount Marty,” Cornemann said.
Ultimately, Cornemann chose a walk-on offer from SDSU — where two of his sisters played basketball — and a walk-on offer from South Dakota, and the opportunity from Mount Marty.
The Lancers, though, made it clear that the door was always open should he change his mind and seek a new home.
“We recruited him really hard out of high school, and we felt that if he didn’t take one of his walk-on opportunities, we could be a spot where he could land,” head coach Todd Lorensen said Thursday.
The Lancers just didn’t anticipate that to happen after one semester, Lorensen added.
The question now is, when will Cornemann make his Lancer debut?
According to Lorensen, Mount Marty is awaiting a decision from the NAIA Eligibility Center — MMU, he added, submitted a request of urgency for a decision.
The Lancers play Dordt on Saturday afternoon in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Following Wednesday night’s loss to Northwestern, Mount Marty stands at 7-9 overall this season and 4-7 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
The mid-season addition of Cornemann should immediately help the Lancers, who rank ninth in the conference in scoring (74.38), 10th in field goal percentage (.432), 10th in three-point shooting (.326) and 10th in assists per game (11.69).
“He’s a guy who can score the ball at all three levels,” Lorensen said. “He is very deceptive and changes speed at a high level, and has enough strength and athleticism to be creative around the rim.”
One quality in particular, though, separates Cornemann.
“The thing that makes him the most dynamic offensively is that he’s a tremendous passer,” Lorensen said. “He has those natural instincts that are really difficult to coach or teach. He sees things and is able to complete passes that really catch your attention.”
Not only is he eager to play, Cornemann said he is eager to play in front of the Mount Marty fans.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “I really like Yankton and I love playing in front of the people here.”
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