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Michigan State's Max Christie signs with agent, will stay in NBA Draft


Max Christie’s tenure at Michigan State appears to have ended after just one season.

The 6-foot-6 guard from Arlington Heights, Illinois, has signed with an agent and will remain in the NBA Draft. Christie is scheduled to participate this week at the NBA Combine in Chicago.

“After taking some time the last few months to focus on preparation and evaluation, Max and his family have decided that he will be signing with an agent and remaining in the 2022 NBA Draft,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “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. We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication he gave to Michigan State Basketball this season and wish him nothing but the best.”

Christie came to Michigan State as a five-star recruit and started all 35 games he played as a freshman, finishing the 2021-22 season averaging 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 31.7% from 3-point range.

Christie’s freshman season began with plenty of promise, and early on, he delivered, scoring in double figures in two of the first four games then ripping off four straight games with 11 or more points, netting 17 against Oakland, 11 in a win at Northwestern, a career-high 21 against Nebraska and 16 in a win at Minnesota.

Inconsistency took over from there as Christie continued to log heavy minutes — he averaged 30.8 minutes a game — and often guarded the opponents’ best player. In five postseason games, Christie was up and down, scoring 16 in a win over Maryland before failing to reach double figures in the final four games. In the NCAA Tournament, Christie scored two in a win over Davidson and netted nine against Duke.

Even with the lack of consistency, Christie is still an intriguing prospect for NBA teams as an athletic wing who can shoot and defend. Most projections have Christie going sometime in the second round, but going late in the first round remains a possibility. If Christie did go in the first round, he’d be Michigan State’s first to go in the first round since Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges were taken in the first round in 2018.

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The deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the draft is June 1 with the draft taking place June 23.

With Christie gone, Michigan State now has a significant hole on the wing and the roster overall, which now stands at just 10 scholarship players. With no other moves — Michigan State has been quiet this offseason in the transfer portal — the Spartans likely will turn to heavy minutes for Jaden Akins and Pierre Brooks, two of Christie’s classmates. Akins took big strides as the season progressed and was expected to have a bigger role, but Brooks’ time was more limited, meaning he’ll have to make a big jump.

What’s more likely is Izzo and his staff will have to make another push in the portal after pursuing former Oakland wing Micah Parrish, but losing out as he opted for San Diego State.

mcharbondeau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau