Rochester Century will have a new man in the middle.
Luke Kottom, the star center from Schaeffer Academy's boys basketball team, will transfer to Century. Kottom's father, Ted, confirmed the news with the Post Bulletin on Tuesday.
“I am very excited to join the Century basketball team,” Luke Kottom told the Post Bulletin. “I hear they have a great coach and a great group of hard-working guys. I am eager to begin practicing with the team and hopefully can bring them some size down low. I enjoy doing the dirty work and getting my teammates open shots.”
Kottom – a 6-foot-7 big man – averaged a team-high 15 points 11 rebounds and two blocks per game for the Lions last season. The junior is already getting some looks to play at the next level, and he’ll fill a big void on a Century roster that was going to have to replace a super talented senior class.
But the decision came at a cost.
Kottom and his family had grown incredibly fond of Schaeffer Academy. Lions’ head coach Tom Bance is one of the most genuine coaches around, and Schaeffer won a school-record 22 games in 2019-20.
“It’s been a great experience,” Ted Kottom said. “We have a daughter that graduated from there. It’s a great place. It was a great place for Luke to learn basketball and develop. Coach Bance was instrumental in developing Luke and giving him opportunities. He was a great encourager, and he’s a Christian man and that’s always important to us. We always had so much trust in him. We’re so fortunate to have had that experience.”
“But this is a family decision,” Ted Kottom continued. “Luke is definitely excited to play at Century and hopefully contribute.”
Luke Kottom had teamed up with guards Isaiah Lahr and Nick Sanger to form a three-headed attack for Schaeffer. Lahr ran the show at point guard. Sanger was a do-everything wing. Kottom patrolled the paint. They opened the season 12-1 before finishing with 22 total victories in 2019-20. Four of Schaeffer's six losses came by less than six points. The Lions made it all the way to the Mayo Civic Center before falling 40-38 to Grand Meadow, thanks to a last-second shot by Colt Landers, in the Section 1A quarterfinals.
“I am definitely going to miss playing at Schaeffer,” Luke Kottom said. “Coach Bance was a significant part of my basketball journey and taught me a lot about the game. He believed in me and that helped my confidence on the court. I am going to miss my teammates. They are an incredible group of guys. Last year, we had a small team, but we worked really hard in the offseason and regular season and accomplished something Schaeffer had never done.”
But now, Kottom is in line for a big jump. He’ll trade in playing in the Southeast Conference for the Big 9. He’ll move from Class A to Class AAAA. Century lost Jack Fisher, Mark Leonard, Stephen Olander and Canon Tweed to graduation. That quartet led the Panthers in scoring last year and were selected to the Post Bulletin’s All-Area team. Century won 19 games in 2019-20, but it'll have a whole new look in 2020-21.
Kottom will need to get a waiver in order to play right away.
“I’m looking to expand my game into more of a stretch 4/5,” Luke Kottom said. “I am working hard on my outside game along with learning how to attack the basket more. I am also hoping to get stronger and faster through Century’s weight program so I can control the block and grab boards. I am ready and excited to fit in anywhere that Century wants me to play.”
Kottom thoroughly enjoyed his time with Schaeffer Academy. It’s where his love for basketball was fostered and developed. Now, he’ll face a new challenge.
“It was a really tough decision, and it was something we didn’t take lightly,” Ted Kottom said. “We’re so thankful to Schaeffer for everything that they gave us. Again, this was a family decision. We’re looking forward to Century."