Preps Talk

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

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USA TODAY

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

EMERSON, Ga. -- Rolling Meadows rising sophomore guard Max Christie is having a strong spring and summer on the grassroots circuit as he's emerged as one of the area's newest breakout stars.
 
At 6-foot-5 with an ability to play both on and off the ball, Christie is a versatile perimeter player who can be either a big point guard or a smooth wing. Even though he's only finished one year of high school, Christie already has earned some major college scholarship offers as Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Loyola, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin have all been involved. Playing up an age group with the Illinois Wolves U16 team, Christie is starting to generate a lot of buzz among college coaches and national scouts.
 
"I think I've played well. I've been growing. I have a huge target on my back. So I'm just confident and humble and playing my game," Christie said. "College coaches are coming in everywhere, but I'm just playing my game and not worrying about them. I'm just having fun."
 
Christie is coming off of a positive freshman season at Rolling Meadows in which he had some big games as a freshman while playing on varsity. Although Christie is still very skinny and trying to add strength, he has started to adjust to opponents trying to play physical against him. As he starts to get older, Christie is adjusting to how certain opponents will handle him.
 
"On the court, it's physical. So I have to get used to that. I have encouraging teammates so that's good for me. But everybody is double-teaming me and face-guarding me, so I just have to use screens and everything," Christie said.
 
"I've been in the weight room working. The strength is there. I'm always using it against other teams. I just have to get used to it. I feel like [the physicality] is not as much of a factor as I get stronger."
 
Christie will be one of the marked men in the area this season as he'll draw a lot of attention at Rolling Meadows. He has the potential to be an all-area player. With multiple high-major scholarship offers and national recruiting profiles, Christie is just trying to maintain his focus on staying a versatile player. Playing both on and off the ball, Christie is trying to improve the consistency on his perimeter jumper while also trying to grow his basketball IQ.
 
"Both of them are fine. Off the ball, I like to set screens and get teammates open. I like to get open. On the ball, I like to create, passes, all that stuff," Christie said. "So I'm just trying to make plays, get my teammates open, set better screens."
 
"Leadership is something I need to work on, so it's something I need to accept for this season. So, since I've built this reputation, I'm trying to be more of a leader and encourage. Just being a better teammate."
 
Christie averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a freshman at Rolling Meadows, as he has the ability to put up monster numbers as a sophomore. Underclass players don't typically compete for awards in the Chicagoland area, but Christie is a potentially special talent at the high school level as he attempts to ascend into a national-level recruit. 

46 Days to Kickoff: Downers Grove North

46 Days to Kickoff: Downers Grove North

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Downers Grove North

Head coach: Joe Horeni

Assistant coaches: Keith Litchenberg, Bill Kleckner, Terry Kent, Chad Isaacason, Josh Croci, Todd Cassens, Chris Guerreri, Mike Franzese, Kyle Briscoe, Greg Purnell, Pat Fleming and Max Gilbert

How they fared in 2018: 4-5 (2-4 West Suburban Silver Conference) Downers North failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Buffalo Grove

Sept. 6 vs Addison Trail

Sept. 13 vs York

Sept. 20 @ Proviso West

Sept. 27 @ Hinsdale Central

Oct. 4 vs Glenbard West

Oct. 11 @ OPRF

Oct. 18 vs Lyons Township

Oct. 25 @ Downers Grove South

Biggest storyline: The Trojans missed a winning season (and possibly a playoff berth) in a heartbreaking loss to York in last year’s season finale. Can the motivated Trojans get over the top this season and into the IHSA state playoff field?
 

Names to watch this season: QB Drew Cassens (Sr.) and S Mark Dennison (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Trojans welcome back 13 returning starters (six offense, seven defense) this season, but they will be a bit inexperienced on the defensive line this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: Downers Grove North came within a few plays of making the IHSA state football playoffs last season, which included close losses to OPRF (21-14) and York (14-7). The Trojans, guided by head coach Joe Horeni, welcome back several key names from the 2018 season including senior QB Drew Cassens. A big key for the Trojans this season will be getting off to a good start before hitting a very tough middle portion of the regular season schedule. 

47 Days to Kickoff: Chicago Christian

47 Days to Kickoff: Chicago Christian

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Chicago Christian

Head coach: Nick Cook

Assistant coaches: Dan Chiarito, Tom O'Connor, Sean O'Connor, Zach Kuipers and Corey Bulthuis

How they fared in 2018: 7-4 (2-3 Metro Suburban Red Conference). Chicago Christian made the Class 2A state playoff field, defeated Collins, then lost to Eastland Pearl City in second round action..

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Noble-Hansberry
Sept. 6 @ Rockford Christian
Sept. 14 @ Guerin Prep
Sept. 20 @ Aurora Central Catholic
Sept. 27 vs Ridgewood
Oct. 4 @ St. Edward
Oct. 11 vs Christ The King
Oct. 18 vs Elmwood Park
Oct. 25 @ Westmont

Biggest storyline: Chicago Christian boasted a three-win improvement from 2017 to 2018, resulting in a playoff berth. Can the Knights get back into the IHSA playoffs and go a little deeper this time around?

Names to watch this season: QB/DB Danny Bulthuis, WR/LB Brian Anderson, TE/LB Ty Sperling and RB/DB Ryley Bulthuis

Biggest holes to fill: The Knights welcome back a nice core of players on both sides of the football from last seasons state playoff team. Overall numbers and depth, though, can always be better.

EDGY's Early Take: Chicago Christian made some serious noise last year, making the state playoff field for the first time since 2008. Head coach Nick Cook has the program headed in the right direction. If the Knights can catch a break or two, including avoiding the injury bug, look for this team to challenge for the Metro Suburban Red conference title race and into the postseason.