Cordes has tools to succeed on Tech court

HOUGHTON – Michigan Tech men’s basketball coach Kevin Luke has often said there are two pillars he looks at when evaluating a recruit.

First – and most obviously – can he play? There is no particular skill set Luke targets, he just wants to see evidence of Division II talent he can work with. Second though, and just as important in Luke’s mind, can the prospect handle the academic rigors that come with attending Tech?

Incoming small forward Luke Cordes sees it the same way.

Ever since he was a young kid, Cordes has wanted to be an engineer. The only decision left in his mind was civil or mechanical?

And ever since he developed a three-point shot to go with his athletic 6-foot-7 frame, Luke and assistant coach Josh Buettner have wanted Cordes to come lace up for the Huskies.

It was a match that was obvious on paper, and sealed by the fact that Cordes cousin Nate Kindt played for Tech from 2008 through 2012.

“He definitely influenced my decision,” Cordes said. “He has always had great things to say about Tech – about the coaching and the school itself – and I visited him a bunch to watch him play. … and since I was little I wanted to be an engineer. It’s just the perfect fit for me.”

From Luke’s point of view, Cordes athleticism and three-point range are a perfect fit for the Huskies as well.

At 6-foot-7, Cordes spent most of grade school playing around the rim, as he usually was the tallest player on the court. But when he reached Alpena High School, JV coach Bill Bright and varsity coach John Pintar convinced Cordes to start stretching his range away from the hoop.

By his junior year Cordes had developed into a dead-eye shooter, averaging 18 points per game to go along with eight rebound per contest.

“I started out as a post player when I was younger, but my coaches really got on me about developing my outside game,” Cordes said. “It added to my overall strength as a player and got me to the next level I think. I look at it as I can take smaller opponents down low, and bigger opponents out on the perimeter. It makes me tough to match up with.”

That three-point shot complements and enhances the natural athleticism Cordes already enjoys.

According to Luke: “(Cordes) can dunk any way you want. He will immediately be the most athletic kid on our roster.”

While Cordes is more modest when asked himself about his dunking prowess, he does admit to taking the ball to the hoop with the intent of finishing demonstratively.

“That has always been a fun thing for me, and I am kind of light on my feet,” Cordes said. “I always go up with the mentality to dunk, because it helps me finish through contact.”

As for next season, even though the Huskies have gone two straight years with out a true ‘three’ man, Cordes is leaning towards redshirting to help improve his strength.

Even if a spot in the rotation is open, Cordes may go the Alex Culy route and redshirt anyways to give himself five years to work on his engineering degree.

Nothing is set in stone though.

“I am kind of a wiry guy, so I’m looking to improve my strength and conditioning,” Cordes said. “But once I develop my strength and get used to the speed of the game, I think I can be an effective scorer at the college level.

“Of course, to compete for a championship is a dream of mine. So we will have to see.”