The full court-press effort Gophers men's basketball coach Ben Johnson and his staff put forth for Illinois prep guard Cameron Christie paid off with his commitment Friday to the team's 2023 recruiting class.
The 6-6 Christie, the younger brother of former Michigan State standout and Los Angeles Lakers draft pick Max Christie, generated substantial buzz this summer.
He was offered by 12 high major programs, including Virgnia, nearby Illinois and his brother's former school Michigan State.
"Ben and his staff not only expressed their interest in Cam early on, but they targeted him a year ago," Illinois Wolves director Mike Mullins said. "They've shown their interest in him by having their whole staff watching him. So it's appreciated and noticed by not only Cameron but his family."
Christie will be only 17 as a college freshman next summer. He averaged 22 points for Rolling Meadows High in Illinois last season and played AAU on the Under Armour Circuit.
"He's not shy about having the ball in his hands in big moments," Mullins said. "He can make open shots. He can make tough shots. He also has the ability to get himself open. He's a three-level scorer. He makes plays from behind the line. He makes plays in the mid-range and can finish above the rim."
Christie, who made an official visit to the U and watched a game at Williams Arena in February, expressed his appreciation for how committed the Gophers were to him in the recruiting process.
"They showed, above all else, a lot of love and genuine belief in me," Christie told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday. "They were in the mix super early. And their entire staff was part of it."
The Gophers started their 2023 class with Colorado four-star senior Kadyn Betts earlier this summer, but he reclassified and will join the team in the fall. Christie's the first member of the U's 2023 recruiting class — and he's arguably the top senior in the state of Illinois.
"It's Cam and not even close. He has the highest upside and biggest ceiling," City/Suburban Report founder Joe Henricksen said. "It just goes to show what Ben and his staff are doing. It was impressive how early they got on Cam and the immediate impression they made on his family. They locked on him early and didn't veer off that path. He's the kind of piece you build a program with."