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Former Minnesota Gophers guard Cam Christie sticks to his NBA draft plan and says goodbye to college

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Former Gophers guard Cam Christie, an All-Big Ten freshman last season, will stay in the NBA draft and not return to college, a person familiar with his plans confirmed Wednesday.

Christie, who is considered an early- to mid-second-round pick, declared for the draft in April before entering the transfer portal before it closed on May 1.

The 6-6 guard had the option to return to the Gophers or play his sophomore year elsewhere, but Christie kept his name in the NBA Draft because the deadline to declare expired early on Wednesday.

The former four-star recruit from Rolling Meadows in Arlington Heights, Illinois, averaged 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and made 39% of his three-point shots for Minnesota last season.

Christie started 26 games for the Gophers, scored a season-high 23 points at Illinois and was the first Gophers player since 2017 to earn All-Big Ten Freshman honors.

Christie's official departure means the Gophers have lost three starters and seven players from their 19-win NIT team last season, including point guard Elijah Hawkins (Texas Tech) and big man Pharrel Payne (Texas A&M). Fourth-year Gophers coach Ben Johnson still has leading scorer Dawson Garcia and scoring guard Mike Mitchell Jr. back in the fold.

Christie's older brother, Max Jr., was drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2022 after his freshman year at Michigan State University.

Daniel Oturu was the last Gophers player drafted when he was selected in the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves and traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020.