Less than a half-hour after Amir Coffey made public his decision to play basketball for the Gophers on Monday, the skilled guard already was casting the attention elsewhere.
Looking straight into the mass of media swarmed around him at Hopkins High School, Coffey grinned.
“I’m hoping Eric Curry joins the Gopher family,” the senior said.
Coffey, and the rest of the intrigued basketball community, won’t have to wait long to find out.
Curry, a 6-7 forward from Arkansas who happens to be a good friend of Coffey’s, is planning to announce his college decision Wednesday. The three-star prospect will be choosing from Minnesota, Iowa State, Arkansas and others, but Coffey is more than a little biased.
The two prep stars met over a year ago, when they stayed next to each other at the Nike Elite 100 camp in St. Louis.
“We just always saw each other that whole week and just became good friends,” Coffey said. “Since then, we’ve been texting every week.”
The Gophers — long pursuing Coffey — also began recruiting Curry last summer. Curry, the kind of athletic stretch power forward suited to Gophers coach Richard Pitino’s system, has a long wing span, scoring ability and a knack for rebounding — the latter a major Gophers weakness. His skill set meshes well with Coffey’s.
“Amir was always interested in finding a big guy that was pretty decent to kind of team up with,” said Coffey’s father, Richard, a former Gophers center.
Richard Coffey said Curry has a similar temperament to Amir: somewhat quiet, avoiding attention. But when the pair gets together, they become chatterboxes and jokesters. After texting back and forth all summer, Curry and Coffey set their official visit at Minnesota together and were on the football field before the season opener vs. TCU on Sept. 3.
“When they saw each other, they were thrilled,” Richard Coffey said. “It was never a forced conversation between them, they just got together and they laughed and it was almost like they were old buddies — laughing and joking the entire time.”
Curry also took official visits to Arkansas and SMU this month, so his decision has a bit more suspense to it; Coffey only visited Minnesota. But the Gophers — their newest recruit included — are making a strong final push.
On Monday, Amir Coffey said he wasn’t holding back. “I’m calling him right after this,” he said.