October 25, 2011

Venezuelan forward commits to Rebels

Ole Miss added another strong piece to its 2012 recruiting class Tuesday when it landed a verbal commitment from 6-foot-9 Venezuelan forward Anthony Cortesia.

Cortesia took an official visit to Ole Miss last weekend. He chose the Rebels over Providence and Wake Forest. The three-star standout joins Memphis four-star guard Martavious Newby.

Cortesia currently carries some 205 pounds on his frame. Sources close to the Ole Miss program believe he can add some 15 pounds and eventually replace forward Terrence Henry, who is set to begin his senior season at Ole Miss on Nov. 11 when the Rebels entertain Louisiana-Monroe.

Cortesia is preparing for his first season at Montverde (Fla.) Academy. His new coach, Kevin Boyle, is in his first season at Montverde after a stellar coaching career at St. Patrick (N.J.), one in which he coached current NBA players Sam Dalenbert, Al Harrington and Kyrie Irving as well as college standouts Shaheen Holloway (Seton Hall), Corey Fisher (Villanova), Dexter Strickland (North Carolina), Michael Gilchrest (Kentucky) and Derrick Gordon (Western Kentucky).

"(Cortesia) has very good size for his style of play," Boyle said. "He's an outstanding 3-point shooter. He has a good feel for the game and good overall skills. What he has to learn is to really get after it on defense. He's learning to do that. …He has an opportunity to be a very good player at (the collegiate) level. If he follows the path he's on, he has a chance to play in the league one day."

Cortesia remained somewhat under the recruiting radar when he returned to Venezuela to play last summer rather than play on the U.S. amateur summer circuit. Cortesia played at Lee (Maine) Academy as a junior and caught the eye of ESPN Recruiting's Adam Finkelstein.

"His size and fluidity immediately caught my attention, but once he started raining 25-footers with a silky smooth stroke I felt a little like Don Nelson must have the first time he laid eyes on Dirk Nowitzki," Finkelstein wrote. "The fact that Cortesia then went on to handle the ball in the open floor, make dribble pull-ups, show phenomenal footwork and pass off the dribble was simply icing on the cake. By the time the workout was finished I came away convinced that I had just seen one of the best kept secrets in the country.

"That isn't to say that Cortesia doesn't have work to do because he certainly does. He needs to add a significant amount of muscle to his frame, play stronger with the ball, establish a position for himself defensively and adjust to the speed and physicality of the American game.Having said all that, they don't make many 6-9 kids who can come close to matching his skill set, length and innate feel for the game."

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