Three basketball recruits signed their National Letters of Intent to the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, the start of the fall signing period, the school announced.
Nationally touted Hopkins combo guard Amir Coffey, Arkansas forward Eric Curry and Rochester wing Michael Hurt will make up Minnesota's 2016 class and will arrive on campus next summer.
The class is coach Richard Pitino’s highest ranked since taking the job in 2013, landing at 17th nationally by 247sports.com and 20th by Scout.com. Pitino’s 2015 class was ranked 50th by 247sports.com and unranked by Scout.
“The signing of these three student-athletes represents another step in the growth of our program,” Pitino said in a release. “In Amir and Michael, we have the two best prospects in our state staying home to help us in our pursuit to win a championship, while Eric’s signing shows that we have as much to offer as any program in the country. We look forward to having them represent our University both on and off the court.”
Coffey, the son of former Gopher and Timberwolves big man Richard Coffey, can play and defend three positions – point guard, shooting guard and small forward – and has developed a reputation for his keen court vision and passing ability. He is ranked 33rd nationally by ESPN despite missing most of last season with an ACL injury.
“Amir is a tremendous player and addition to our team,” said Pitino. “He can contribute in a number of ways – offensively, he is a good scorer while also being able to create for others. Beyond his skills on the court, he grew up a Gopher and comes from an outstanding family.”
Curry is a long and athletic stretch power forward who can rebound, post up and run the floor. The 6-8 prospect, who is also one of Coffey’s good friends, averaged 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds for Southwest Christian High School (Ark.) last year.
“Eric Curry is a perfect fit for the type of player we are looking for in our program,” Pitino said. “He has experience playing in an up-tempo, pressing style similar to ours and is long and athletic. He will help us in many ways next season.”
The 6-6 Hurt, meanwhile, adds depth at the small forward position and helps Pitino’s campaign to compel the state’s best talent to stay home.
The Gophers have not signed a recruiting class with at least two Minnesotans since 2009, when Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe and Royce White all gave the Gophers the nod.
“Michael is another kid who will fit right into our system,” Pitino said. “He can shoot and has excellent length and athleticism, along with a great work ethic and feel for the game. Being from Minnesota as well, he is excited to represent this state for our team.”
Minnesota does not have any scholarships remaining for the 2016 class.