Gophers recruit Cameron Christie got off to a hot start to his senior season in November with an MVP performance leading his high school to a tournament championship in Illinois.
The 6-foot-6 Rolling Meadows (Ill.) guard signed with Gophers coach Ben Johnson's highly touted 2023 class last month. Arguably the No. 1 player in his class in Illinois, Christie has quickly shown how he's taking his game to another level.
Averaging nearly 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists in his first four games, Christie posted a 24-point, six-rebound, seven-assist effort in Rolling Meadows' win vs. Glenbrook South in the Chuck Mitchell tournament title game Sunday.
"I feel confident," Christie told the Star Tribune earlier. "It feels great to know all the hard work I'm putting in is paying off."
Rolling Meadows, ranked No. 7 in the state of Illinois by the Chicago Sun Times, could be competing for a championship this season with Christie leading the way.
Several recruiting sites still list Christie at 6-5 and 160 pounds, but he's a legit 6-6 and 185 right now. And he hopes to add 10-15 pounds of muscle by the time he plays in college.
"It's been super helpful on the court with my confidence," Christie said about gaining 25 pounds from last year. "I can get in the paint and feel stronger finishing. It's been big with my athleticism. I can rebound better and dunk more. It's been really fun to see the growth."
Christie will be 17 years old when he joins the Gophers, but he's already taller than his older brother, Max, a former Michigan State guard and current Los Angeles Lakers rookie. And he could still be growing.
"I'm just trying to make sure I'm constantly in the weight room and getting stronger," Christie said. "I'm also working on my leadership. This is my senior year of high school. I'm the leader of our high school team. I've just been trying to be more vocal."
Christie committed to the Gophers before Riverside Hillcrest (Calif.) five-star 7-footer Dennis Evans III joined the 2023 class. Christie met the U's future big man during Evans' official visit in September.
"I've never played with a 7-footer like Dennis," Christie said. "We think we can make a solid impact [as freshmen] to help the team win games. I'm super excited to get out there and improve the program."
Johnson with help from Gophers assistant Jason Kemp, Christie's lead recruiter, beat out several major conference schools for Christie, who had offers from Michigan State and Illinois. What he lacked in physical maturity, Christie made up for with a smooth jumper and great feel for the game — just an all-around gifted offensive playmaker.
"He's one of the most versatile guards I've had the opportunity to recruit in a long time," Johnson said on signing day. "Cam's a special talent. You want to talk about Dennis who is very deserving of where he's ranked. Cam in my opinion is a top-50 level talent."