It’s gonna be one-and-done for Max Christie.
MSU coach Tom Izzo said “after taking some time the last few months to focus on preparation and evaluation,” Christie and his family decided to put all of their energy behind getting drafted this summer.
“I know this has been a lifelong dream for Max and I am excited for him as he takes the next step and continues the process and journey to becoming an NBA player,” Izzo said in a statement released Monday evening. “We appreciate all the hard work and dedication he gave to Michigan State Basketball this season and wish him nothing but the best.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the news.
Christie, a 6-foot-6 guard, emerged from his first college season as perhaps MSU’s best perimeter defender. He started in all but one of MSU’s 36 games last season, averaging 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds. But he seemed to tire in the latter stages of the season and shot just 38.2% overall and 31.7% from the 3-point line.
The freshman was one of 76 invitees for this week’s NBA draft combine in Chicago. The deadline for underclassmen to pull out of the draft pool is June 1. The draft is June 23.
Christie, 19, is not projected to be a first-round pick on many of the popular mock draft boards.
Two other MSU players who could have returned for one more season are also in the NBA draft pool. Seniors Gabe Brown and Marcus Bingham Jr., who could have taken advantage of the extra COVID-19 year, both decided to turn pro. Brown was invited to the G League camp this week in Chicago.
The last freshman during Izzo’s tenure to be drafted was Jaren Jackson Jr., the 2018 Big Ten Freshman of the Year who went fourth overall to the Memphis Grizzlies and has emerged as a pillar of that team’s foundation. Other freshmen to get picked under Izzo include Devonte Davis (2016), Erazem Lorbek (2005) and Zack Randolph (2001).
Contact Kirkland Crawford: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.