Rolling Meadows' Christie has unrivaled work ethic
He's one of the best high school basketball players in the country.
But Rolling Meadows junior Max Christie is also a fan of the game. And, like many basketball fans, he's in mourning right now.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the sports world, canceling everything from the NBA to the NCAA tournament to the IHSA boys state basketball tournament.
"It's sad to see all the teams and all the seniors that were playing well have their seasons end so quickly and unfortunately," said Christie, whose season ended long before the IHSA canceled the final two weeks of the boys state tournament last week.
"Things like the McDonald's all-American game have been canceled, too, and the Jordan Brand Classic. I feel so bad. All these high school players have worked so hard and they deserved to play in those tournament games and showcase games. I can't imagine what they're feeling."
Christie had his own disappointment to deal with earlier in the tournament, when he and the Mustangs got upset in the first round by Maine West.
Christie, a 6-foot-6 guard who is rated one of the top juniors in the country and is also the captain of the Daily Herald's Northwest Suburbs' All-Area Boys Basketball team, had much higher hopes.
"I wouldn't say we had a disappointing season because we won 20 games for the first time in 30 years of our program. We just had a disappointing end," said Christie, who was a first-team Class 4A All-State selection by The Associate Press. "We had so much more to give. We just didn't do what we needed to do at the end."
Christie, who has a bit of cabin fever sitting at home waiting for COVID-19 fears to subside, is already thinking about how the Mustangs can have a better ending next year.
"Max wants nothing more than to see his team be successful," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "His work ethic and commitment to get better is unrivaled."
Christie also has recruiting and the resumption of the AAU circuit on his mind.
For as much as Christie has done already in his high school career, such as his 42-point game in an epic double-overtime win over Buffalo Grove this season and a career-high 51-point game last year against Elk Grove, he has so much more to do.
"That Buffalo Grove game was probably the highest intensity game I've ever played in and one of the best games I've ever had. But I want to keep improving my overall game as much as possible," said Christie, who averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds per game and had 3 triple-doubles this season en route to being named the Mid-Suburban East Co-Player of the Year.
He is already the No. 2 all-time leading scorer in Rolling Meadows history.
"I want to be in peak condition, so I'm really working on my diet and I'm working out hard," he said. "I want to do whatever I can to get myself ready for college and to help us win next year."
Christie has offers from pretty much every powerhouse Division I program and just took his first official visit, to Michigan State, a couple of weeks ago.
"I went to their Senior Night against Ohio State and it was a fun visit," Christie said. "They really delivered."
Christie says he would like to deliver his college decision sooner rather than later. But since he can't go on any official visits right now because of COVID-19, he's in a bit of limbo.
And since he can't get into the gym at school, and has had all of his AAU practices and tournaments canceled for now, he's going back to the basics to keep busy and stay on his game.
"I've got a strength trainer who has a private facility, so I can go there to stay in shape, but basketball-wise, I've got to figure out a way to work out," Christie said. "We've got a hoop outside in the driveway that I can use. It's not the best environment, but I grew up on it.
"It's a crazy time, and so much is put on hold right now. But I'll make it all work."