Can the Gophers start a pipeline with Sunrise Christian Academy?
Richard Pitino hired former Sunrise Christian coach Kyle Lindsted to be one of his new assistants this offseason. Bakary Konate and Dupree McBrayer previously joined the Gophers after finishing their prep career at Sunrise.
Pitino hopes to add another product of the Kansas school with four-star Sunrise Christian 2019 guard Austin Crowley, who recently scheduled an official visit with the Gophers for Aug. 30.
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound West Point, Miss. native narrowed down his list of finalists to three schools recently, including Mississippi and Vanderbilt.
“He has a super high ceiling because I think he’s still growing,” Sunrise Christian coach Luke Barnwell said this week. “I saw him for the first time in July after I hadn’t seen him in a while. I think he grew an inch. His upside is through the roof. He’s really long and really athletic. He can play multiple positions, including on and off the ball.”
Barnwell sees some similarity between Crowley and McBrayer, who he coached for one season at SCA in 2015. McBrayer, a 6-5, 190-pound senior, has averaged 8.9 points, 2.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds in three seasons with the Gophers.
“Austin is more athletic and fast-twitch and makes plays at the rim,” Barnwell said. “Dupree was more crafty and sneaky. Austin is probably more score first. Dupree was always a high-level passer and puts the ball where it needs to be. But they are very similar: thin and long. Austin is bigger than Dupree was as a senior. He’s already 190 and 195. But Dupree has had a good career, so it’s cool to see this is what (Crowley) could do.”
If Crowley continues to grow, his game might even be more comparable to Gophers junior guard Amir Coffey, one of the tallest guards in the Big Ten at 6-8. Coffey’s athletic and could play three positions on the floor this year for Pitino. That versatility is what the Gophers love most about Crowley.
“I think he might grow another inch or two,” Barnwell said. “He might be one of those guys in college who is 6-7 and is versatile and can play multiple positions. Athletically and length-wise, he fits where the game is headed. And he’s got some skills to go with it. He’s scratching the surface of what I think he should be. He had a good July.”
In July, the Gophers followed Crowley’s Woodz Elite AAU team in the Nike Peach Jam and offered him a scholarship after Pitino watched him play the first night in Augusta. He’s been in contact with Pitino and Lindsted constantly the entire live recruiting period this summer.
Crowley, who ranks as one of the top three seniors from Mississippi, announced that he will take three official visits, including Vanderbilt on Aug. 23 and Mississippi on Sept. 7. He’s expected make a decision on his college future the following week.
“I think they’re going to take the three he’s got and take a week to think about it,” Barnwell said. “He’s got (the official visits) all in a row at the end of August and the first week of September. We’ll know after that. He’ll sign early and get that out of the way and have a good season for us.”
-- Howard Pulley and Breck senior forward David Roddy received a scholarship offer from Nebraska on Tuesday. That makes the second Big Ten offer for the 6-6, 245-pound Roddy, who also has Northwestern. Will the Gophers show more interest in him soon? Regardless, Roddy could end up playing against them at the Barn one day in the near future.