The Coffey name is a familiar to Gopher fans. Richard Coffey dominate the paint around the Big Ten from 1987-90, twice earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and finishing his career with the third most rebounds in Gopher history, behind a couple guys by the name of Mychal Thompson and Kevin McHale. The elder Coffey was a senior on the Gopher's 1990 team that made a run to the Elite Eight before losing to Georgia Tech. I take this turn down memory lane just briefly before turning back to the point of today's article.
Amir Coffey is the son of the former Gopher Great and this afternoon he gave his verbal commitment to Richard Pitino to continue the legacy and play his career on the Williams Arena floor as well. Amir is one of the best high school seniors in the country and is the highest rated recruit to commit to Pitino over his few years at Minnesota.
Scout.com's Evan Daniels spoke with Coffey Sunday evening to understand why the top-rated guard decided to stay in Minnesota.
"The biggest reason was I was wanted to stay home and represent the city," Coffey told Scout. "After the visit I just felt like the bond that I had with the coaches and players, it just felt like I was supposed to be there."
At one point Coffey was a consensus top-25 caliber player, receiving the coveted four-stars and realistically pushing for a fifth. But an ACL tear early in his junior season forced Coffey off the court for several months and caused many of the blue-chip programs to slow down their recruitment of the young man. Minnesota, and others, did not slow down their recruitment and those efforts paid off today landing an immediate impact player.
In spite of the season off Coffey still holds four-stars and is a consensus top-50 player nationally. Offers and serious consideration was given to Texas, Marquette, Iowa State, Wisconsin and Michigan State (the latter two not considered as serious of a threat to the Gophers in this instance).
What does Coffey Bring
He brings the swagger of an elite, local recruit who decided to stay home and help build Gopher basketball into a Big Ten contender. This plays well to the local media and it is something that gets noticed by other local players. But what about on the court? Coffey brings the body, length and athleticism of a small forward with the shooting, passing ability and handles of a guard. This fits very well into what is being built here by Pitino and staff. Coffey gives him another ball-handler, a very good shooter in a 6-7 body that will be a size mismatch at SG or even at point if he were to get some minutes there.
This from his ESPN scouting report...
Coffey is a long, lean and smooth lefty that has excellent feel and skill not to mention an excellent basketball IQ. He has a nice handle and is a terrific passer with matching court vision especially in the open court where he throws lob passes on time and on target. He makes plays off the dribble in the half court he creates help with his ability to penetrate to drop off or kick out to an open teammate. Coffey can also knock the open three when his feet are set and he also can hit the pull up or floater with excellent touch and body control.
A very talented player who has a tremendous work ethic, all signs point to him being a difference maker in the Big Ten.
What about the Effects on the Roster and Recruiting
With this commitment the Gophers will have 1 remaining scholarship available. The staff is working hard to secure either a point guard or a power forward (or maybe both if they get the right guys and the numbers will get worked out later). Eric Curry is a PF from Memphis, currently living in Arkansas, who visited the same weekend with Coffey and is planning to announce his decision as well. Could we fill up the 2016 class this week?
Here is a look at how the roster is currently constructed.
|Available per Yr||1||1||2||7|
Next season's team is going to look very different than what we saw just last year. Over two season the roster will essentially turn completely over. Next year Amir is added to this year's group of talented freshmen and a couple of transfers will be able to participate. Should be a very interesting year. I have always felt as though a number of very nice pieces have been added to the roster over the last couple years and all that was missing was an elite talent to be the missing piece. Maybe this is it.
A top target from day one for Pitino and staff paid off...
When Pitino and his staff took over at Minnesota, Coffey, a 6-foot-6 versatile guard/wing prospect, was among his primary targets.
"When he first got the job within the first couple of weeks, he had me down to campus with my family and we had a good hour or hour and a half talk and they all stayed on me since with texting and calling," Coffey said.
But Gopher fans should be thrilled with today's news. The hard work of Pitino and Ben Johnson paid off with a great addition to the roster.