Many Northeast Michigan athletes hope to gain scholarships to apply their athletic abilities in a university format or simply to help fund their college education.
Alpena High School senior Luke Cordes no longer has to worry about which college he'll attend: He signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play basketball at Michigan Tech in Houghton.
Signing came as a big relief to the tall, polite young man. who will be one of the Wildcats' offense anchors this season.
"It's definitely a relief and a huge weight off my shoulders. Now I can just play hard and enjoy my senior season," he said.
According to Alpena coach John Pintar, Alpena basketball has a history of sending players to Tech.
"Luke is the third player in 15 years to play for Tech. The first was Matt Cameron in 1998 and the second was Nathan Kindt," Pintar said.
Kindt also has a much closer connection to Cordes that increased the meaningfulness of going to Tech: Kindt is Cordes' cousin.
"Because Nathan played for Tech, it kind of gives me an in with the coaches, the school and the town," he said.
Cordes had a huge year last season for Alpena. He made the All-Big North Conference first team and was a Class A All-State nominee. He led the Wildcats in points per game at 16 and added 7.7 rebounds a game.
Cordes picked Tech as his school of choice for several reasons, not all of which were athletics based.
"I wanted to pick a school that matched my athletic and educational needs. I want to be an engineer and Tech just seemed like the perfect choice to help me pursue that goal," he said.
Once Cordes visited the campus, he felt something click about the school and the town.
"I got along with the coaches immediately and I really fit in well. I loved the atmosphere of the city and the school and I knew right away that it was where I wanted to play," he said.
Cordes will play as a small forward, a role which will see him moving into a ball handling role, a position he feels comfortable filling at the university level.
He chose to red shirt as he joins the Huskies, as he feels he helps fill in a height void that was lacking after Tech finished 16-12 last season.
"Most of their small forwards are shorter than me, at 6-3. Me being 6-9 is a huge advantage and it adds depth to their play," he said.
The Wildcats finished 13-10 last season after losing to conference rival Petoskey 70-31 in a district final. Cordes scored eight points for Alpena in the game.