Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recruiting News: Cornell and Penn Pursue JuCo Big Man

Rivals.com is reporting that Cornell and Penn are both recruiting Mark Van Burck. As we previously posted here on The Cornell Basketball Blog, Van Burck is a 6'11" 280 pound sophomore center at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). Van Burck spent his freshman year at the University of Colorado before transferring and enrolling at SLCC for his sophomore season.

Van Burck was recruited by Cornell and Brown (under former head coach Glen Miller) when Van Burck attended Luther College High School in Saskatchewan, Canada. Van Burck, however, was lured to the limelight of the Big 12 and signed with Colorado instead. When Colorado's head coach Ricardo Patton was replaced by Jeff Bzdelik last year, Van Burck, as well as three others, involuntarily lost their scholarships. Van Burck is now searching for a new Division I home for the 2008-2009 season. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Van Burck averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots per game during his senior year of high school and appeared in the Nike All-Canadian Camp and on the U-17 Developmental National Team. With the Colorado Buffs he saw action in nine games, but was injured most of the season with a right foot stress fracture. He did get a taste of Big 12 life, seeing floor time against Missouri (twice), Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech (twice), Kansas State, and Nebraska. In addition to Cornell and Penn, NCAA Division 1 programs from the West Coast Conference (WCC) and Big West Conference have been inquiring into the 6’11” 280-pound center.

Cornell seems like a perfect fit for Van Burck for several reasons. First, Cornell University and the Cornell basketball program have a strong tradition of recruiting transfers. Cornell had four former transfers on the roster at the start of the 2007-2008 season, two of which hail from junior colleges. Cornell basketball also regularly recruits Canadians and Van Burck's small-town background from Saskatchewan seems like a natural fit with a community such as Ithaca. Finally, Cornell offers VanBurck an opportunity to play right away. With Jason Hartford graduating in May, Van Burck would be able to immediately share minutes with Jeff Foote at center for the Big Red.

Apparently Van Burck is leaning towards the Ivies. SLCC's assistant coach, Russell Beck told Rivals.com, "Marc really wants to get an Ivy League education. He is very big and mobile and is a decent passer out of the post." He is currently averaging 2.5 ppg at the JuCo level with SLCC.


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