Previewing the 2016-17 season player by player, continuing with Amir Coffey

This winter Amir Coffey will be the most highly touted recruit to play a game for the Gophers since Kris Humphries thirteen years ago. Coffey is today’s Focus Preview.

Statistically Speaking

Good

Coffey led his Hopkins team to a state championship as the scoring leader of a five double figure averaging group.  Amir averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and a couple steals a game.  His assist to turnover ratio as a 6-foot-7 guard(now listed at 6-foot-8 in college) was 2.7 to 1.  Amir shot a ridiculous 64.2 percent from the floor for the season taking just ten shots a night and was a 66 percent foul shooter.  Coffey led a state title team with five guys (and counting) with D1 offers, he led them in scoring, assists, rebounds, steals, and field goal percentage.

As a 16U kid playing up on the Howard Pulley 17U squad Amir was also impressive.  Remember, most of these games were played against guys a year older when Amir was a sophomore in high school (he didn’t play his junior year of high school nor his 17U season of AAU because of a knee injury), but Coffey was still the most consistent player from the start of the year to the end and he was playing with all D1 players: Sacar Anim (Marquette), Bjorn Broman (Winthrop), Joe Rosga (Denver), Alex Illikainen (Wisconsin), Josh Collins (North Dakota), Jarvis Johnson (Minnesota), Brock Bertram (Buffalo), and Sam Neumann (Montana State).

In 22 minutes on average Coffey gave the Panthers 9.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, three assists, and a steal a game.  And remember he was facing EYBL 17U competition as a sophomore in high school.  Amir also shot 46 percent from the floor taking seven shots a contest and made 36.4 percent of his treys (20 of 55 in 21 games).  Amir also had a 3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. 

Not so Good

Coffey’s fantastic senior season has few items to look at that were a negative.  We don’t have the game by game numbers to look at for trends but the season shooting percentage at the arc last year was just above 30 percent.  That’s not terrible but it’s less than a third made and both Amir and the Gophers want that number to improve.

Amir made 21 of 69 three-pointers for the season so he took just under three treys a contest and made about one a night.  Coffey didn’t spend a lot of time using the deep perimeter jumper as his focus was more open floor scores, slashing into an array of pull-ups, floaters, and touch shots on the move, and of course moving the ball as he is a fantastic passer. 

The one thing on the stats that I believe is incorrect is that he was given credit for only eight blocks last year.  I watched Hopkins about eight games and I can promise you that he had more than that in just the games I was at. 

Focus on 16-17

When people say Amir is versatile they mean every bit of it.  This is a guy that could not only play four positions for Minnesota, but Amir is a guy that can play those four positions well.  Coffey is an instant weapon for the program because he has the potential to do so many things for them. 

Passing.  This is maybe the best thing he does.  When you consider that both Amir and Michael Hurt are fantastic passers and intelligent players the Gophers found a significant upgrade in the IQ of their team.  Amir sees the floor so well and not only does he create shots for others with his vision on the attack, he simply makes the right reads from every spot on the court.  If anything he is considered too unselfish.

Handling.  Coffey is one of the better 6-foot-8 ball handlers you will ever see.  Amir is a guy that will push the ball up the floor often in transition and his team will be comfortable with him doing it.  Teams can’t guard Amir with a shorter player so he can bring the ball up the floor for his team easily against forwards when starting the halfcourt offense.

Finishing.  We’ve talked about the three point stroke.  It’s been solid throughout his career. Not great, not bad, just solid.  Where he excels is finishing at the rim because Coffey has incredible length that allows him to extend and finish away from the defenders.  He also makes a high percentage of his floaters, attacking touch shots, and his pull-ups and fall-a-ways. 

Rebounding.  This also comes into play with his finishing.  Coffey is a very good rebounder on both ends which allows him to get offensive put-backs (many in highlight fashion) and defensively his quick bounce, long length, and desire to collect, turn, and go make him an excellent extra rebounder.  Amir is going to be a guard or a wing so to have a guard or wing that rebounds like he does is a huge advantage.

Defense.  Amir’s length is a major issue for the opposition.  He can block perimeter jumpers with that length, he jumps passing lanes and gets balls most players can’t, and Coffey has quick hands so his steal total is high.  Also, Coffey does have to get more disciplined as a halfcourt off-ball defender but where he can make up for things is that length.  If Coffey gets beat he does have the foot speed and the length to make up ground and use that length to block or contest shots. 

Where will he play?  Everywhere.  I expect him to start as the “small forward” but in reality Amir is wing with Akeem Springs and they will just guard who matches up with who better.  And since Amir will often have the green light to collect boards or loose balls and fly it’s tough to put a label on him as far as position goes.

With Kevin Dorsey gone and Jarvis Johnson not medically eligible, that leaves Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, and Amir as the ball handlers.  Coffey will handle and teams will have to put a forward on him so he shouldn’t have much trouble playing the one. And, as we saw in the state tournament, Amir is really good with his back to the basket too so you can take advantage of his size in the post.  Not to mention when they go small you could use him as a four man playing with Mason, Dupree, and Springs, or you can put him in the backcourt and go with a massive line-up. 

16-17 Stat Line

I will guess Amir gives his team 9.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, three assists, and 1.4 steals a game playing about 28 minutes a night.  Where I struggle to predict is the percentages of what he will shoot.  I think you can book 65 percent free throw shooting and likely about 49 percent shooting from the field.  From the arc? Tough to know.  I think expectations for his three-point shooting should be tempered for now.  In all, I think Amir is going to have a great all around first year.


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