Amir Coffey got his professional career off to a damn good start during the “league play” portion of NBA Summer League (they’re starting playoffs now) over the last two weeks. He is 2nd for the Clippers in scoring (14.8 PPG), 4th in rebounding (5.8 RPG), and 4th in assists (3 APG).

In other words, he’s exactly what I thought he’d be; a good young talent who will need a year or two in the G-League. If he can get more consistent with his shot and prove he has NBA handles, he’ll be in an NBA rotation in no time. So far, he’s done exactly what he came in to do. Earn a 2-way contract.

Something changed in Amir Coffey toward the end of last season, with the Gophers. I wonder if that’s when he decided he was going to go pro and if that’s what suddenly motivated him to take the giant leaps in his game, that we had been waiting for during most of his first 3 seasons playing at The Barn.

This is pure speculation and curiosity, just like the rest of this blog is going to be. I haven’t talked to any “sources” who might know more of the thinking that went into Coffey’s decision. This is all speculation. However, that’s partly on Coffey. We aren’t due any type of explanation as to why he left the Gophers early but let’s be honest; he left when he knew he probably wouldn’t be drafted. That’s weird.

I followed the Amir Coffey decision closely and his intentions became clearer and clearer as the process dragged on. The Hopkins native wasn’t going to return to the University of Minnesota unless he was going to be tied to the campus and forced into it. Early on in the process, we started to find out that Coffey’s decision wouldn’t be based on his outlook as a 1st-round pick. In fact, it soon became evident that Amir would be jumping into the NBA, just as long as one team was going to offer him a 2-way contract. He didn’t need to be drafted at all. Not in the first round or in the second. If someone had room on their G-League team for him, he was on board… like I said, not normal when you have a year left of eligibility.

Now, I’m not hating on Coffey, (but go ahead and @ me anyway). I’m just glad Amir stayed in Minnesota to play for the Gophers when nobody else does. He’s a pioneer in the current generation of Minnesota athletes, in that regard. I don’t know what’s going on in his brain. I’ve never talked to the guy so I can’t even guess. Also, it can be argued that growing up in the G-League and making your name as a pro ASAP can benefit your future more than playing out your Senior year of College as a Big Ten star, on a possible sweet-16 team. The two games are very different and every year of youth matters in the NBA.

Before Summer League play started, Coffey even said that his decision to leave was easy and that he had no regrets, even though he wasn’t drafted.

(Excerpt from interview with Marcus Fuller – Star Tribune):

“I felt like it was an easy one,” Coffey said from Los Angeles. “After all the work I put in, and how much better I got after the season going through all those workouts, I felt confident in what I was doing.

“I felt confident in my game, and I was getting good feedback from a lot of teams. I talked to my [family] and agent and felt it was a good time to stay in.”

I just wish someone would ask him the obvious questions that everyone is thinking…. that’s what I would like.

– Leaving early when you knew being drafted was likely out of the question is out of the ordinary when you have a year of eligibility left… why take that risk?

Again, it just seems weird that he was itching so badly to get off campus. Without a real explanation, I guess we are just left to speculate while Coffey hangs out in the G-League for a year and the Gophers are a dominant Big Ten wing away from being legitimate Sweet 16 contenders for the upcoming season.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan