The Gophers officially extended their first offer to a 2016 recruit on Saturday in Amir Coffey, a 6-5 wing from Hopkins. Coffey already has maroon and gold in his veins – his father is Richard Coffey, who played at the University of Minnesota from 1986 to 1990. The younger Coffey has wowed recently, picking up offers from Creighton, Minnesota and Indiana in the last few days – while at the Summer Classic in Bloomington -- but his AAU season will now be taking a pause. On Sunday, Coffey fractured the tibia in his right leg after coming down awkwardly in a game. It is a grade 1 fracture on a scale of 1-5. His mother, Sheba Coffey, said the doctor instructed him to rest his leg for six weeks.
Hurting yourself in the middle of the AAU season – how are you going to entertain yourself? A lot of TV I guess.
So you’ll be like a regular teenager. How does it feel for you to be the first 2016 offer the Gophers have extended? When I talked to them a couple of months before they said they weren’t going to offer me until I got a little bit older because I’m so young, so when they did I was actually surprised … so I was just surprised and pretty happy that they offered me, and just stunned at first.
When did they first get in touch with you? A few weeks to a month after [new coach Richard] Pitino got there.
So were you thinking they might not offer you until next year or later? I was thinking sort of next year because they offered [DeLaSalle's] Jarvis [Johnson] and he’s going to be a junior. So I was thinking in the next two years – but I honestly didn’t know.
What did they say when they did offer? They actually offered me while I was playing so they called my father and he didn’t really tell me what they said – but he said they offered me.
You must be pleased with how you've performed in AAU circuit and your ability to play with older kids and kind of show your stuff. I feel like I’ve been playing good, my team has been doing good – especially all the colleges watching, and all the offers. So I feel like I’ve been doing something right. I’m happy that Minnesota and Creighton just offered and it’s just a blessing to have that.
And did Indiana just offer you? Indiana just offered me today, actually.
OK, so list your offers right now. It’s Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa St., Creighton and Penn State.
Are you hearing from anyone else? I’m getting letters from like Wisconsin, Baylor, Miami, Notre Dame, California, Northwestern, Purdue, North Carolina.
Obviously you never want to get hurt, but it must be a bummer to have that happen just as you were playing so well and things are ramping up. How frustrating was that? It actually was – I was a little disappointed when it happened, especially around this time. We were just about to go to Vegas for the Super 64 on Tuesday. I was a little disappointed, but everything happens for a reason, I’m just going to go through it and come back better … It was a 1 out of 5, 5 being the worst, so that’s good.
How did it happen? I went up for a dunk and I didn’t know if anybody was behind me or not but I came down awkwardly and I just fell. I couldn’t get up, so I just sat there and my leg didn’t feel right. So we went to the doctor and they just told me it was a fracture.
Sorry to hear about that. When did your other offers come? Iowa State and Penn State were more of my eighth grade summer. It was after the Best Buy Classic in Minnesota and Iowa State offered me and then a month or two after, Penn State offered. And then just recently, Indiana offered today and Creighton was this weekend, so was Minnesota.
Playing for your homestate school – is that something you’ve put some thought into? Yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot, Especially because my dad went there, I’ve put a lot of thought into it. It’s definitely a factor.
Is he pushing for you to go to Minnesota? We haven’t really talked about it much. Since he went to Minnesota, he definitely loves the school, he thinks it’s a great school. He said he’ll support me anywhere I go but we haven’t really talked about where I’m going yet. But I’m sure he’s happy for me.
Did you grow up a Gophers fan? I actually did because, you know, it’s really the only D1 college in Minnesota, so I went to a lot of games, football games, I was on campus a lot and just got comfortable there.
And have you been to a lot of basketball games at the Barn lately? Yeah, I actually went to quite a few (last year). Me and a friend would go or he would come with us, but I went to quite a few.
A lot has changed with Pitino and his staff coming in – what are your impressions of the staff and his new style? When we first went up there, Pitino said he was going to try to play a more fast-paced game and I like playing fast and running the ball. I met a couple of the coaches – I haven’t met them all yet, but so far I like them all and they are all good people. I just see myself getting comfortable with them.
What else are you looking for in your eventual landing spot? Just a good education, a good basketball program, to be comfortable there on campus and have a good relationship with the coaches, that’s about it.
Have you considered taking any unofficials anywhere? Me and my dad talked about it – we haven’t really scheduled anything but I’m sure after I’m up and about again, we’re probably going to contact Minnesota and see what we can do.
What parts of your game had you really been focusing on this summer before getting hurt? I’d probably say my dribbling. When I work out, I’m just trying to work on everything – my strengths and my weaknesses.