Dandron: Five-star guard Max Christie commits to MSU, and now, fans can get excited

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Rocket Watts/Photo: Michigan State Athletic Communications

Joe Dandron, Station Manager

EAST LANSING — Emoni Bates, the transcendent Ypsilanti Prep Aim High student, and homegrown talent out of Ypsilanti Lincoln High, who is also the No.1 overall recruit for the class of 2022, verbally committed to Michigan State last week.

But now it’s time for fans to get a little more excited.

Almost in a “Where are you gonna go?” decision, the No. 1 shooting guard in the class of 2021 and five-star Max Christie of Rolling Meadows High School in Illinois committed to MSU yesterday. 

He’s 6-foot-6 and his playing style resembles both Bradley Beal and Bryn Forbes; he’s all silk with his jumper. Christie  chose MSU over Duke, Michigan and a handful of other Power Five programs.

Now, the buzz is starting. MSU is getting back to the recruiting power they can be; Izzo beat Coach K again for Christie and knows it. The 16-year-old string bean has plenty of room to pack on muscle and grow into the exceptional player that he looks like he can become. 

“When you think of Michigan State, it’s just a prestigious program. I feel like they win a lot,” Christie said in a video on Fox Sports with Andy Katz. “They know what they’re doing over there. I felt like it was a place I was needed and a place that I wanted to go.”

He joins Pierre Brooks II, of Detroit, as another combo guard-type in the 2021 class. That gifted duo, combined with the possible return of Rocket Watts, could be formidable with the strong depth of MSU’s roster

What Christie brings to the table

Christie is thin, I mean I am too, but he’s listed at 6-foot-6 and a buck-seventy To play competently at the Big Ten level, he needs to add some weight; however, if you have seen highlights of the high school playing days of other pure shooters like Christie, ones that can not only pull up for three but get their shot anywhere from 15-feet and out, it won’t be a problem.

Marcus Bingham Jr. plays a position where weight is a necessity, but on the perimeter? Christie can use his smooth jumper, whether it be catch and shoot or off the dribble, to get his. He’s got good lift, a high release and a strong base for his shot. He has all the intangibles that all good shooters have.

If Christie is able to bring his release up a little faster—which he should be able to do with qualified shooting coaches at the collegiate level— he could become a top-tier NBA prospect rather quickly. He’s got length, touch and shooting – all coveted attributes at any level of skilled basketball.  

He has length, which will help turn him into a plus defender at the collegiate level as well. You just have to hope the shooting translates if you’re Izzo and the rest of the staff at MSU. With Emoni Bates reclassifying to MSU for the 2021-22 season and Christie’s commitment, the idea of getting Izzo that all-elusive second title just gained a whole lot more traction.

Dandron: Emoni Bates is transcendent, but will he ever suit up for the Spartans?

The potential roster

The addition of Christie provides some flexibility within the Spartan’s roster. You’d think Gabe Brown stays four years, ditto with Bingham Jr. I’d also venture to bet that Malik Hall and Joey Hauser will be on the roster during the 2021-22 season. 

If that happens, AJ Hoggard – this is assuming that Rocket Watts leaves for the NBA – Brooks II, Bates, Hauser, Christie, Brown, Aaron Henry and Bingham Jr. will serve as the main rotation pieces for Tom Izzo. That has the makings of a very talented roster.

Once you mix in the hustle and size of Madi Sissoki and Julius Marble, you’ve got one hell of a lineup that has the experience, talent and the ability to defend any team in the country, while also having the capability of unleashing an offensive onslaught against anyone.

That’s a classic Izzo lineup for another Final Four run. You saw it in 2019 in Minneapolis – the injection of Brown and Henry into the lineup during the NCAA tournament that year sparked a run that helped the Spartans take down Duke’s best team to date. 

It might be a pipe dream, but for now, MSU fans at least have some good news to lean on.