The “Land of 10,000 Lakes” had three highly touted in-state recruits that committed to other schools early in Richard Pitino’s tenure as men’s basketball coach at the University of Minnesota, which is a failure that can be traced back to former coach Tubby Smith. On Monday Pitino got a huge commitment for the 2016 recruiting class, and kept a significant in-state prospect from going elsewhere, with Amir Coffey’s announcement that he will be a Gopher.
Coffey is a four-star recruit out of Hopkins, and the top senior in Minnesota, with scholarship offers elsewhere in the Big Ten from Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Wisconsin. Baylor, Alabama, Florida and Texas were also heavily recruiting Coffey. ESPN.com ranks Coffey as the 33rd-best player in the 2016 class.
The Gophers’ chances to get Coffey were bolstered by news he had cancelled an official visit with Texas last week. His father, Richard, played for Minnesota under Clem Haskins from 1986-1990 and the younger Coffey said it is a “big deal” to go to the same school his dad did.
Coffey is the highest-rated recruit to commit to Minnesota since Royce White in 2009, and he would be the highest-rated recruit to play for Minnesota since Kris Humphries in 2003-04. White never played for the Gophers before transferring to Iowa State, and 2015-16 will be Humphries’ 12th season in the NBA.
Coffey stands 6’7″ and he told the media on Monday he expects to be a combo guard in Pitino’s theoretically up-tempo system. He will wear No. 13 for the Gophers, as evidenced here:
— Matt Jessen-Howard (@mjessenhoward) September 21, 2015
The next significant recruit on the Gophers’ radar is three-star forward Eric Curry, who is slated to announce his decision on Wednesday. Curry visited the Gophers at the same time Coffey did early this month, which included attending the football team’s season opener against TCU.