The Minnesota Gophers and head coach Lindsay Whalen might have found the best cure for the case of the Mondays in college basketball. A high level in-state recruit announcing she wants to stay home and represent the maroon and gold could turn around even the worst of Mondays. Maggie Czinano (Jr-All Star 2021), the 5’11 guard from Watertown-Mayer, announced today on her twitter that she plans to attend the University of Minnesota and Gopher fans should be utterly thrilled with this announcement. This is a big get for the program for multiple reasons. Let’s take a look at some of them.
As I have said previously, the Gophers staff and fans were hoping the commitment and play of Sara Scalia was not going to be a one-time thing. With Gophers missing out on class of 2020 hometown kids, getting a key local player from the state in class of 2021 shows that 2020 might be the outlier for in-state recruits. That makes a statement to Gopher fans and other in-state kids that the University of Minnesota is not only building up those bridges and blazing those trails in-state but that players also believe in the vision that Whalen and the staff have the program moving towards.
A Heck of a Talent:
This commit is not just some local kid. Maggie is an extremely talented player. Having recently watched her, I was blown away with the skillset that she possesses. She is a tall and lengthy guard who is just under 6’0, if not already 6’0 and can handle the ball. She shows a great ability to attack off the bounce into the paint. She either can go all the way in for a layup and finish with contact or she shows an impressive stop and pop where she elevates for a midrange jumper. She has impressive bounce to her and really elevates on her jump shot and releases it at the top of her jump making it extremely difficult to contest. Then she can unleash a deadly smooth 3-point jump shot. She can connect on a set 3-pointer but also showed the ability to create her own shot off the dribble into a 3-point shot. No matter how she gets the shot, it looks silky smooth and usually finds the bottom of the net. She also is a capable rebounder who can crash the glass from the wing position. Her previously mentioned handles means she could handle the ball either in the half court or fast break for the Gophers.
If Maggie’s last name looks familiar to Big Ten Women’s basketball fans, there is a good reason for that. She is the little sister to current Iowa Center Monica Czinano. Maggie wanting to trail her own path is something not always in seen with relatives in Women’s College Basketball. They will have one year where they will matchup as Monica’s senior year, Maggie will be a freshman for the maroon and gold. A sister, sister storyline should add an interesting intrigue to the rivalry matchup.
While Maggie plays for the Royals of Watertown-Mayer during high school season, during her AAU season she plays for the Minnesota Fury. Per the Fury’s twitter account Maggie has broken the ice and is the first Fury kid to commit to the hometown Gopher program. That is blazing a trail that could lead to more kids that could want to follow that lead and be like Maggie. It gives the Gophers another resource they can build a history with and build up a pipeline of talented kids. Leads to the question, who will be the next one to join her?
Versatile Position Options:
Although Maggie is listed as a guard, her skillset and height could lead to her being used all over the court for the Gophers. Her first year she may be the guard depth behind Sara Scalia and 2020 commit Caroline Strande. However she could also find her way to the wing for the Gophers. Her rebounding and length could lead her to play with those guards instead of replacing them. If she reaches 6’1 or 6’2, she could have a stretch forward career similar to former Elk River graduate and current Northwestern Senior Abi Scheid. With her versatility, Maggie should have no trouble finding minutes on the floor.
Overall this is a good night and a great recruiting success for the Minnesota Gophers. Congrats to Maggie, the Czinano family and Coach Whalen and her staff! It should be a lot of fun to see her playing at The Barn soon!