Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pitino, Louisville Interested In Elev8's Christiansen

Kasper Christiansen wouldn't say he was star-struck. He didn't fend off any wild jitters when he saw Rick Pitino sitting courtside at Grandview Prep in Boca Raton, Fla. last night.

 Well-versed on Pitino and Louisville, Christiansen said the idea of playing at such a high-caliber program gives him monstrous motivation.

Christiansen, a 6-foot-10 Class of 2017 forward at Elev8 Prep, is  now being recruited by Louisville, Maryland, and Florida.

Valpo and Baylor have also shown considerable interest in the Denmark-bred big. 

 "If Louisville ends up offering me, I'd be honored," said Christiansen, who expects to become more adept around the rim while packing muscle onto his spindly 190-pound frame.

"That would be special. Rick Pitino, he's just a basketball legend. The whole history of Louisville is great. The University of Maryland is a great option for me to. They told me to get bigger. They want me stronger and now that's what I have to work on so I can play at that level."

Christiansen visited the University of Florida unofficially at the beginning of the month, impressed with the campus, the Gainesville area and the Gators' new coaching staff. While there is no current timetable, Christiansen indicated he'd like to decide on a school after the 2015-16 campaign or next fall.

Acclimatizing to a true big man role at Elev8, Christiansen is leaning less on his outside shot and focusing more on explosive, authoritative finishes.

"Coach Cody (Toppert) and coach Chad (Meyers) have told me to be aggressive and dunk everything I can. I promise in a month or so, I'll be dunking as much as I can. The coaches have helped me a lot with driving the ball. I wasn't able to drive to the basket that much when I first came here."

Regulating his diet, becoming stronger with the ball in the paint, and becoming quicker and more agile has helped raise Christiansen's Division-I stock.

While he's had a fight on his hands with Toppert and Meyers, Christiansen has an equal challenge with Florida-based master professional  trainer Tony Falce.

 Falce's unique and tactical training has enabled Miami Heat big man Chris "Birdman" Andersen to sustain top-shelf shape at age 37.

While developing a toolbox of refined big man moves and cultivating a post presence are his primary goals, Christiansen still values his feathery touch.

"Of course, I want to develop a perfect jump shot," Christiansen said. "I got a pretty good one right now. I really want my opponent to fear when I shoot."

Louisville, Florida, and Maryland seem to have the most appeal to Christiansen.

If Louisville were to offer him a scholarship tomorrow, would he commit?

"Not right away, I'd would have to sit down and discuss it with my coach back home in Denmark," Christiansen said. "I like to consider him my manager, as you would say."

Pitino and assistant coach Mike Balado, also in attendance last night, seem sold on the potential within Christiansen. Nowhere near a finished product, the next 12 months will be pivotal in determining Christiansen's high-major stock.