This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Los Angeles point guard (class of 2015) Max Hazzard likes Minnesota, wants to "do something different"

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: June 6, 2014 - 11:17 AM

The perpetual blue skies and shorts weather of Los Angeles have no hold on Max Hazzard.

In fact, the 2015 point guard said, a chance of pace would be nice.

"I kind of want to branch out and do something different," Hazzard said.

Minnesota certainly is that. The Gophers, anchored in the coldest major city in the U.S., started recruiting the three-star athlete just before the first Nike Elite Youth Basketball (EYBL) session began in late April. The staff hasn't offered yet, but is plenty interested.

Color the California native intrigued.

"I love Minnesota," Hazzard said during Minneapolis' EYBL session last month. "I heard the campus is great. I like it out here, and it's a bigtime basketball school, so I'm interested."

Currently, Hazzard's collection of offers is mostly made up of West Coast Schools. Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Pacific, Loyola Marymount. Hazzard also has an offer from Brown, and is being heavily recruited by Creighton and Alabama, he said.

Minnesota has complimented his defensive skills, he said, but have talked to him about finding more consistency in his jump shot. Hazzard said the trick is improving his scoring ability while also honing his skills as a distributor. On the AAU circuit, the guard plays off the ball but in high school -- and at 6 feet tall, presumably the next level -- Hazzard plays the point.

"I shoot a lot of mid-range and threes when I get going," he said. "So just trying to find that easy medium, where I'm scoring but also getting everybody involved. That's probably the hardest thing."

So far, he hasn't watched the Gophers play at all -- "They weren't recruiting me and I just thought that I would never go there," he said -- but plans to this fall. 

Head coach Richard Pitino has reached out to him a couple of times since April, Hazzard said, and he's kept in constant conversation with the Minnesota assistants. 

"It's been good," he said.

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