Rolling Meadows’ Max Christie discusses ‘complex’ senior season
The Michigan State-bound guard, who is a consensus top-20 talent in the country and the top-ranked prospect in Illinois, hasn’t been seen in almost a year.
There is no question that standout players in Illinois over the years have been put on a basketball pedestal, especially the early-hyped ones who live up to the billing and have all eyes on them as a senior.
Max Christie is about to start his senior season at Rolling Meadows. The Michigan State-bound guard, who is a consensus top 20 talent in the country and the top-ranked prospect in Illinois, hasn’t been seen in almost a year.
We caught up with the uber-talented Christie on a range of topics. This interview was conducted before the Illinois Department of Public Health’s announcement that there would be a basketball season.
In one word, can you summarize or describe your senior year up to this point?
You would be in the middle of your senior season right now under normal circumstances. What part of high school basketball have you been missing the most?
CHRISTIE:I think the atmosphere at most of our games. When we play an in-conference rival or even a showcase or tournament game, the energy from fans to spectators is always a fun thing to be a part of. Also, simply just playing basketball with my teammates on a Friday night is something that is always fun and something I look forward to.
Whether it’s with the game of basketball or life itself, is there something you believe you’ve learned during the difficult times of the past year? Is there a positive you can find or take away from all of this?
CHRISTIE:I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from this past year would be the importance of being grateful and humble. It’s been evident this past year that things can be taken away from us in an instant. Whether it’s major public figures like Kobe Bryant or Chadwick Boseman passing away, to our uncertain high school season, we should cherish every moment we have with our families and friends and everything that is special to us.
You could have left the state, gone on to play for a high-profile prep school. What kept you in Illinois and what went into that decision to stay?
CHRISTIE:I feel like there wasn’t a big reason for me to leave where I was at. Although playing is important, I also felt that it was important to look at this “down time” as an off-season for me. Working hard multiple times a day both on the court, in the weight room, and in life. Also, the Rolling Meadows community and school has provided me with lots of support and guidance and I felt that it didn’t make sense to leave such a great place.
Where have you been mentally with where things have been regarding high school basketball, the back and forth and the not knowing if there would be a season or not?
CHRISTIE:Honestly, a bit drained. I’m not sure if I should expect to be playing in the upcoming weeks or simply just trying to keep up with the uncertainty. Whichever way things go, I know this process and year was a bit of a mental challenge for all of us.
You are headed to a tradition-rich, college basketball powerhouse and to play for a Hall of Fame coach next year. How odd is it to see Michigan State unranked and in the bottom half of the Big Ten this season?
CHRISTIE: Although MSU may not be at their best right now, every team goes through growing pains. It’s all a process for them to become a better team. Under Coach Izzo’s staff and with the players they have, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that they will bring it together and be a dominant force in the country.
Specifically, what have you been doing to stay sharp and to improve your game?
CHRISTIE:I’ve been making sure I’m staying in shape by staying in the gym and weight room as much as possible. Although it is an uncertain time, it doesn’t mean I can’t still find ways to improve my game and body.
With more down time than usual at this time of the year, what’s something new that you have filled your time with doing or something you’re just doing more of?
CHRISTIE:I have recently picked up the game of Chess. I’ve seen a lot of people play it and not only does it seem fun, but it also sharpens the mind in thinking ahead and planning which is an essential skill for life as a whole.
Aside from watching your future college team, what player or team do you enjoy watching the most in the game today?
CHRISTIE: The Brooklyn Nets. Not only is my favorite player, KD, on the team, but they have both Kyrie and James Harden which is an interesting trip to watch.
Go ahead and boast a little. What would high school basketball fans and opposing coaches and teams be seeing from Max Christie this season that they haven’t seen before?
CHRISTIE: They will see a much stronger, athletic and more confident player. Someone who has been adding skills and tools to their game and will certainly try to make the most out of any game we play in the future.