Rolling Meadows senior guard Cam Christie sat behind the Gophers bench during a visit last season imagining himself blossoming in coach Ben Johnson's system.
The high-scoring 6-6 Illinois native took his time this summer to learn more about how other programs could utilize him, too. No other school made him feel as wanted and needed as Johnson's Gophers.
"I did my research," Christie said. "I watched a bunch of games. I watched their playing style. At the end of the day, Minnesota stood out the most."
In a Q&A recently, the newest U recruit talked about Johnson's vision for the program, what he'll bring to the Gophers in 2023-24, his family's influence and more.
Q: What stood out most about the Gophers during the recruiting process?
A: Just the way they utilized their players, and the way Coach Johnson was able to portray his vision for me at the school. I think [Minnesota] could be something special.
Q: How much did you notice the Gophers having their entire staff attending your games?
A: They could have sent one assistant coach to may games, but every single one of their assistants and Coach Johnson watched a lot of my games. I would say at least half. Even when I was hurt and didn't play a weekend, he still brought every single member of his staff to watch my team play. I definitely felt the love and felt like I was the top priority for them.
Q: What did you take away from watching Johnson's first season with the Gophers?
A: I think for his first year last year he did a good job with how he was able to compete and make every single game close. It's not like they were getting blown out by 20. They only played with six people and made the games close. They won a lot of them. They should continue to trend upwards. I believe in Coach Johnson and his ability to make them better every year. By the time I get there they should be an established team in the Big Ten. I can help bring them up even more.
Q: What position do you see yourself playing in college?
A: I'm a versatile guard. I think I can play the wing spot. I think Coach Johnson has also conveyed that he would also like me to play point guard as well. Just my ability to play point guard, the wing, and be a scorer I think I like the way he had that planned out for me. I just think I should be able to have a strong role my first year, but we'll see what happens. I think as long as I keep work hard I think I should have a positive impact on the team.
Q: How would you describe your game to Gophers fans?
A: I think I'm a pretty good scorer, but not only that. I can facilitate for my teammates and get them open. Sometimes if the shots not falling I don't want to be a one-trick pony. I want to impact the game in multiple ways. Whether that be defense, rebounding, all that stuff. I'm a kid who plays really hard and is willing to do anything to get their team a W.
Q: Your brother, Max, was a standout freshman at Michigan State and got drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. What was it like growing up in a basketball family?
A: It was very helpful having my dad teach my brother and I to shoot. I think it's worked out so far for Max. So I'm hoping if I can keep on that same path I'll get there, too. It was interesting. We would be in the gym all the time. My mom and dad would always find us gyms. They would get us workouts and trainers. We were doing something basketball related every day when we were young.
Q: How will you get yourself prepared for the Big Ten after next year?
A: I've been in the weight room a lot. I know the Big Ten is a very physical conference. I've just tried to grow my strength and just gain more confidence in my body. Just eating right and staying focused. Just going to make sure my body is prepared for the physical brand of basketball that happens in the Big Ten.