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Minnesota Basketball: What Does the Coffey Commitment Mean for the Golden Gophers?

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On multiple levels, the Amir Coffey commitment is a resounding win for Coach Pitino, his staff, and the Golden Gopher program that needed some good news

GopherNation covered the basics of the Amir Coffey commitment here. He provided a nice, fact-based summary of the promising addition to the 2016-2017 Golden Gopher roster. Well, as I'm wont to do around these parts, I'm going to give you a totally opinionated summary of what this means to a program in dire need of some good news. Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride...

Pitino's Biggest Commit

The Amir Coffey commitment is good news on multiple levels. Of course there is the fact that he is a consensus four-star recruit and the highest ranked commit to the Gopher program since Rodney Williams in 2008. He's an extremely talented player with multiple skills and has been cited as having an extremely high basketball IQ. Most recruiting services spoke incredibly highly of Coffey. So, for starters, Amir is a talented player and talent is always one of the essential cornerstones of any college basketball roster.

However, the fact that Amir yields from the Twin Cities area is also an essential aspect of this commitment. Coach Pitino is beginning to show his ability to accumulate the local talent, starting with Jarvis Johnson in the 2015 class (sadly, Johnson will not get to don the Gopher maroon and gold on the court but he will be able to get a degree from the U of M if he so chooses) and continuing with the commitments of Michael Hurt of Rochester (a very good player in his own right) and Coffey, the two highest rated recruits in the state in the 2016 class. We have seen in the last several years how much basketball talent Minnesota, and specifically the Twin Cities, has produced. Just from 2010 on, the Cities has produced numerous successful college players including Jordair Jett, Joe Coleman, Ross Travis, Tyus Jones, Reid Travis, and Rashard Vaughn. If Pitino can continue to tap into the the local pipeline of talent and establish his recruiting presence here permanently, the roster should never be short on talent. Obtaining Coffey's services is a excellent foundation to continue to build off of as far as local recruiting is concerned.

Pretty Moving Pictures

Furthermore, Amir Coffey was a young man the coaching staff specifically targeted from the very beginning of the their tenure in Dinkytown. They understood he was an elite talent who fit perfectly in their guard-oriented system and weren't deterred by a torn ACL Amir suffered his junior season. The staff's ability to identify a fit and follow through in bringing him to Minnesota is further evidence that they are making strides on the recruiting front. Though the likes of Samorie Ponds and others have deferred to other programs, the fact that the coaching staff landed a recruit they sought so highly is a promising sign for future success.

Coffey is projected to be a "combo guard" of sorts. Throughout his recruitment, Amir and his father (former Gopher Richard Coffey) emphasized their desire to see Amir get time at the point guard position. While this may not fully come to fruition, watching a 6' 7" athlete run the point and lead the press in Pitino's system is a pretty enticing thought. Playing Coffey with the likes of Kevin Dorsey at point guard and a lengthy Dupree McBrayer at shooting guard probably makes Coach Pitino yearn for November 2016. All three are athletic, quick, and fully capable of implementing the press. The back court of the future looks very bright for the Golden Gophers.

Full Amir Coffey Coverage

Honestly, I'm extremely excited about this commitment. I know a lot of folks are pretty down on the prospects of this year and the team's performance, which is fair considering the massive amount of uncertainty up and down the roster. But Amir Coffey committing to his hometown team demonstrates that an upward trend is possible for the future of Minnesota basketball. If the team continues to develop in a positive direction and the athleticism throughout the roster begins to translate to a successful implementation of the up-tempo, pressing offense Coach Pitino prefers, the could be plenty of excitement to be seen at the Barn in the not so distant future.

It also doesn't hurt that Coffey is already working on obtaining some much needed reinforcements for the front court:

Not a negative word to say about the news Gopher fans received on Monday. Coffey is a talented player, a local kid who could set an example for future local prospects, and an excellent fit to the desired style of play of the coaching staff. I know the program hasn't had a lot of good news lately but this certainly could portend a trend towards being competitive in the Big Ten once again.