MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — University of Minnesota men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino made his first big splash recruiting in the fall of 2014, when DeLaSalle star Jarvis Johnson signed with the Gophers.
The Gophers got their biggest local recruit in about a decade on Monday, as Hopkins star guard Amir Coffey announced he will accept a scholarship to Minnesota and play for the Gophers next year. Coffey is the top rated player in Minnesota’s high school senior class and is a consensus top-50 player nationally.
He is the son of Richard Coffey, who was a star forward for the Gophers from 1986-90.
Amir Coffey was poised to have a big junior season after leading the Royals to the state semifinals as a sophomore. But he tore an ACL in just the third game of his junior year. He’ll be back this year for Hopkins and is the favorite to win Mr. Basketball next March.
Coffey is the second Minnesotan to commit to Pitino in the last year. Michael Hurt, a guard from Rochester John Marshall, committed to the Gophers in the fall of 2014. Coffey is the top rated recruit to stay home since Royce White did in 2009 and would be the top local player to see game action for the Gophers since Kris Humphries. White never played with the Gophers after going through legal issues away from basketball and eventually left Minnesota to play at Iowa State for one season.
Coffey and Hurt can both make it official later this fall by signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Minnesota during the early signing period. There is already another Minnesota native on the Gophers team in addition to Johnson. Edina native Reggie Lynch transferred to Minnesota in the offseason, but must sit out this year due to transfer rules.
Coffey had scholarship offers from Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, Baylor, Iowa State, Marquette, Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue, Penn State and Iowa among many other schools.
Coffey said it was primarily the relationship he developed with Gophers coach Richard Pitino and his staff, combined with his desire to, quote, “be one of the first to stay home.”
And Amir said those factors, along with his father’s experience, made the biggest impact on his decision.