In the months leading up to the 2021-’22 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Max Christie of the Michigan State Spartans, who came in tied for No. 22 in the rankings. The Spartans are hoping to rebound this year after last year’s eighth place finish in the Big Ten, the team’s worst since 1992-93 when Jud Heathcote was still the head coach. Incoming freshman Max Christie will likely be a key contributor to that result, should it happen.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - Tied-No. 22 Max Christie:
- Eligibility: Freshman
- Career Totals: N/A
- 2020-’21 Averages: N/A
- Positional Role: Shooting Guard
Michigan State had a down year last year, just squeaking into the NCAA Tournament by the skin of their teeth season. Gone is leading scorer Aaron Henry, along with a number of other role players as well. If the Spartans hope to rebound from last year’s poor showing and be back in solid footing for a NCAA Tournament bid, Max Christie will likely end up a player who helps the team land there. While a freshman, Christie should at a minimum earn valuable minutes coming off the bench to help the team after arriving on campus as a five star and No. 1 shooting guard prospect in the 2021 class per the 247Sports composite.
First and foremost, there is a reason why Christie was rated at the No. 1 shooting guard in the 2021 class. For a incoming freshman in college, he has incredible form to his shot and can hit it from just about anywhere on the offensive end of the court. The Spartans have had some elite shooters over the decade, from Shawn Respert and Scott Skiles to Bryn Forbes and Joshua Langford, but Christie’s jump shot and ability to score looks poised to have the potential to make a mark of his own.
The 6-foot-6 and 190 pound Illinois native has more than just his jump shot going for him on offense, however. His comfort with his weak hand is advanced for a player of his age, having shown a finishing ability in high school and AAU ball to use his weak side to dribble and finish at the rim. He also has a host of shots he can complete when he gets into midrange and under the basket as well that should prove helpful in padding his scoring column.
-Areas for Improvement
Christie is obviously going to first off have to get used to the pace of the college game. While a talented five-star prospect, he is still a freshman coming into the league. He will need to work on his mental game to ensure he can finish his plays and keep setting himself up to make that jump shot.
Christie is also a question mark on the defensive end. His high school team played zone defense, and anyone who knows literally anything about Tom Izzo at Michigan State knows that there is no zone defense in East Lansing. Can he keep his feet moving when he is moved out to man-on-man defense at the perimeter against some of the top guards in the conference? What about moving around screens or helping his teammates out on them the way an Izzo defense is designed to do? There are a lot of aspects here to learn and grow into for a freshman, even a talented one.
I cannot personally give any prediction on whether I think Christie will make the starting rotation by the season’s end. He may find a way into the role, but he also may be a valuable player coming off the bench. No matter which it is, expect to see Christie make a difference for the Spartans despite his youth this season. He is likely to find a way to score on the opposing defense despite his age.