With cool, calm demeanor, Christie took Rolling Meadows to new heights
Nice guys can actually finish first.
In a season where he got banged around like a pinball at times, Rolling Meadows' Max Christie never lost his smile or his temper. The McDonald's All-American never scowled at an opponent or howled at an official after being physically manhandled without a call.
Christie was the consummate team player, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds this season, despite playing relatively out of position to where he will be a year from now at Michigan State.
Christie's scoring and leadership on and off the court was a major ingredient as the Mustangs were the only Class 4A team in the state to go unbeaten this season with a 15-0 mark. They won their first Mid-Suburban League title since 1991 and they completed the season ranked No. 3 in the statewide Class 4A AP poll.
Star power, leadership abilities and sportsmanship are characteristics that should be demanded of any captain. And Christie has shown more than that as the repeat captain of the Daily Herald's 2021 Northwest Suburbs All-Area Boys Basketball Team.
This is only the second time that there has been a repeat captain. In 2003 and 2004 both Jonny Reibel and Bryan Mead were name co-captains in consecutive years.
During Christie's tenure at Meadows, the Mustangs won nearly two-thirds of their games, compiling a 65-33 record.
"It has been steady growth and I have gotten better since my freshman year," Christie said. "To see the program change from my freshman year to now where we went from a nobody to conference champs it is a pretty good testament to how far the program has come."
It was a huge season this year for scoring marks for Christie this season. He became the all-time leader at Rolling Meadows early in the season. He broke the 2,000-point mark soon after and then became the all-time leader in MSL history with two games remaining.
Christie finished his career as the leading scorer in MSL history with exactly 2,100 points. The final 4 of those points came on free throws, where he set a school record this season by converting 91 percent.
"He couldn't care less (about records)," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "Rankings, awards, it's all a process for him and he enjoyed each step. What mattered most to him was the team. He never wavered in his unselfishness. He did whatever he had to do to win. If they doubled or tripled teamed him, Max found the right guys to get the ball to."
Although it was a goal of Christie's to become the all-time MSL scoring leader, it wasn't his main goal. He really wanted that championship.
"It definitely not easy," Christie said. "The conference is not a walk in the park. There were some very good teams in the conference this year, so it was great to win that one."
He was a marked man each time he stepped onto the court.
"It is part of the game and I understand that," Christie said "It is a real big contact sport. There is no reason to feed into that. I know how to take a hit. The point is to be able to keep your cool. It definitely prepared me for next year in the Big Ten. It is definitely a man's league. All the physicality of this year gave me a little bit of taste of what's going to happen."
Christie credits his mom and dad for his ability to keep his emotions on the court in check.
"They have instilled in me proper etiquette to play this game," Christie said. "They definitely talked to me about that, not to feed into that. How to show my emotions. It is a credit to them to keeping me sane."
And to turn out to be a real nice guy and a true winner.