Amir Coffey was a guest of the Gophers on Sunday for the Penn State game.
Amir Coffey, a sophomore wing from Hopkins, is considered the top in-state prospect in the Class of 2016. Coffey has helped lead the Royals to 28-1 record this season and a spot in the Class AAAA Tournament next week. Coffey joined his father, former Gopher Richard, as guests of the Gophers for the Penn State game on Sunday.
GopherHole.com caught up with Coffey after he scored 20 points to lead Hopkins to a 77-64 win over Eden Prairie Wednesday in the Section 6 title game to learn the latest on his recruitment and going back to the state tournament.
Gopher Hole: Obviously a big win for you guys to get back to the state tournament. You didn't make it to the state tournament last year. Does that make it even more special getting back there after last year?
Amir Coffey: Definitely. Last year, we actually expected to get to state and that didn't happen, so this year makes it even better. We were expected to be a great team and get to state, let alone win, so it is a great feeling
Gopher Hole: How pleased with how well you are playing. You are 28-1 and have won 23 straight games?
Amir Coffey: I think that we are playing pretty good. Our team, we just have to get stops on defense, The offense will come for us, so we just have to play hard, talk and get stops on defense, but so far, we are playing pretty good.
Gopher Hole: You have five starters who are averaging double figures and sixth man Noble Fahnbulleh is averaging over nine points. You don't really have to rely on one player. How important do you think that is, especially in the state tournament when anyone is capable of being 'the man"?
Amir Coffey: I think that is very important because you can't key in on one player. As you said, five starters in double figures, so you have to guard everybody and you can't just stop one player because we can all score, so that is very important and it is going to be tough for teams to stop us.
Gopher Hole: How about your own individual play? How pleased are you with how you finished the season. You had a season-best 27 against Armstrong in the section semifinals and led the team with 20 points against Eden Prairie.
Amir Coffey: Right now, I think that I am playing pretty good. Playing to my strengths and just trying to put the team on my back. We moved the ball well and just looking for the shots and being aggressive on offense.
Gopher Hole: Anything new on the recruitment front. Any new schools that you are hearing from?
Amir Coffey: North Carolina. (Tarheel head coach) Roy Williams and Kansas were here tonight. Michigan has been calling. Ohio State. Duke sent a letter. UConn is coming down and they said that they are going to offer, but they want to do it in person.
Gopher Hole: Did you know that Coach Williams was going to be here tonight?
Amir Coffey: I did. Coach Novak told me yesterday at practice. I didn't know Kansas. I just found out tonight.
Gopher Hole: I know that you try to not let that affect your game, but is it hard not to notice them in the stands?
Amir Coffey: I don't think that it is hard. I just don't try to do anything that I am not accustomed to doing. Play to my strengths and just play ball. Not worry about anything outside the lines.
Gopher Hole: How long have you been hearing from North Carolina?
Amir Coffey: Probably midseason. They were at the Cooper game.
Gopher Hole: Is this the first time that Coach Williams has been to one of your games?
Amir Coffey: There was an assistant coach at the Cooper game. This was the first time that Roy Williams actually came down himself.
Gopher Hole: How many offers are you up to right now?
Amir Coffey: Six. Minnesota, Creighton, Penn State, Iowa State, Indiana and Miami.
Gopher Hole: What about the Gophers? Anything new on them? Have you had a chance to go down there? (as noted above, Amir attended the Gopher game last night)
Amir Coffey: I haven't. I tried to get down to the Ohio State one, but we had a game. I have been busy with Hopkins basketball, but whenever I get a chance, I'll definitely be up there. I am probably going to start getting to games because the season is not going on too long. Try to just get in contact and come down there for a couple of games.
Gopher Hole: Have you had a chance to go to any of your sisters' games?
Amir Coffey: I have been to a few. They just recently came up here and played Minnesota. I went to that one and I went down to Chicago twice.
Gopher Hole: It sounds like you are going to play for Howard Pulley? How do you think playing on the EYBL circuit against some of the top players in the country is going to help you improve as a player?
Amir Coffey: I think that it will help a lot. Playing against the top talent, supposedly all the top players and top recruits are there, so playing against them will develop my game and that will be great.
Gopher Hole: It looks like you even got taller than the last time I say you?
Amir Coffey: I have.
Gopher Hole: What are you up to?
Amir Coffey: I think 6-7, actually and 180, 185.