Richard Pitino landed the highest rated prospect of his head coaching career on Monday, as Amir Coffey, Scout’s No. 41 overall prospect, committed to Minnesota. Coffey informed Scout of his decision.
“I’m going to Minnesota,” he said in an exclusive interview late Sunday evening.
“The biggest reason was I wanted to stay home and represent the city,” Coffey told Scout. “After the visit I just felt like the bond that I had with the coaches and players, it just felt like I was supposed to be there.”
When Pitino and his staff took over at Minnesota, Coffey, a 6-foot-6 versatile guard/wing prospect, was among his primary targets.
“When he first got the job within the first couple of weeks, he had me down to campus with my family and we had a good hour or hour and a half talk and they all stayed on me since with texting and calling,” Coffey said.
“It’s great,” he said of his relationship with Pitino. “We talk all the time and get on the phone and talk. It’s grown ever since he started recruiting me and we have a great relationship.”
Minnesota is the only school Coffey officially visited. Coffey took that trip at the beginning of September. He was scheduled to visit Texas this past weekend, but canceled the trip and took an unofficial visit to Minnesota's campus. To go with the Longhorns, he also considered Alabama, Florida and Miami.
Coffey is a legacy recruit for Minnesota, as his father, Richard Coffey, played for the Gophers from 1986 to 1990, before a brief stint in the NBA. But the younger Coffey said, his father’s career at Minnesota never factored into his decision-making.
“Even my dad said he never pushed me to go to Minnesota,” Coffey said. “He wanted me to pick the best place for myself and the best opportunity. It felt right and it was Minnesota, but that wasn’t really a factor.”
How does Coffey see himself fitting into Pitino’s system?
“They run a pretty fast paced offense,” he said. “They run ball screens and a lot of five in, five out motion. The ball is always moving and he wants to play me as a combo guard as a one and a two. Really just go off of the defense.”
Coffey is Minnesota’s second verbal pledge in 2016. He joins three-star forward Michael Hurt to make up their current recruiting class, which now ranks No. 25 in the 2016 team rankings.
Minnesota assistant coach Ben Johnson was the lead man in the Coffey recruitment.