Creighton lands top international hoops prospect Rati Andronikashvili

Top international basketball prospect Rati Andronikashvili has committed to Creighton, he told ESPN on Thursday.

"I knew Creighton way before they called me," Andronikashvili told ESPN. "I've always liked how they play. Their basketball program is amazing. They know me better than anyone, and they really understand me as a player. [Assistant] coach [Alan] Huss was at a lot of my games. Coach [Greg McDermott] has seen me at my best and at my worst. Being with a coach who really knows your game inside and out and how to improve your strengths and weaknesses is what I was looking for.

"They've been calling me every day, not just about basketball, but also asking about my family. That means they really care."

The Tbilisi, Georgia-born Andronikashvili, 19, is considered one of the top European prospects in the 2020 class committing to the college route. He has represented his national team in every age group (under-16, U18, U20) and even played rotation minutes in February for the senior national team in the FIBA qualifying window, which is rare for someone his age.

He scored 15 points in 29 minutes in a pair of wins over Switzerland and Serbia, the latter of which had several former NBA players in its lineup.

"Playing with the national team was an incredible experience," Andronikashvili told ESPN. "Competing with those guys, most of whom are NBA and Euroleague players, will really help my transition. I won't be a typical freshman because I've played with older players and got real minutes."

Andronikashvili was identified at an early age, playing up at the U16 European Championship B Division as a 15-year old in 2016. He returned to the same event with his age group the following year and helped Georgia win promotion to the A Division by finishing in third place, while being named to the All-Tournament team. He represented Georgia at both the U18 and U20 European Championship B Divisions in each of the following two summers, averaging 17.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals at the U18s in 2019.

He's played over 50 games in FIBA competition already, giving him ample experience to tap into as he heads to the college ranks. He was also invited to the NBA Basketball Without Borders Europe Camp in Tel Aviv in 2018.

Standing 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Andronikashvili can play either guard spot. He's a highly creative, instinctual player with excellent ball-handling ability who plays at different speeds naturally and is adept at operating out of pick and roll.

Creighton has a major void to fill in the backcourt after losing first-team All-Big East guard Ty-Shon Alexander to the NBA draft, as well as Davion Mintz, who transferred to Kentucky.

"My role will be whatever the coach will tell me to do," Andronikashvili said. "That's how I've always looked at it. My goal is to practice and play as hard as I can. Whatever I need to help the team, on offense or defense, in order to earn minutes."

Andronikashvili is the second international commitment McDermott has signed in the 2020 recruiting class, joining Lithuanian forward Modestas Kancleris.

"Their playing style is so fast and so dynamic," Andronikashvili said. "They like to shoot a lot of 3s. Coach Mac gives his players freedom and trusts them to make the best decisions. Sometimes I get flashy and make passes that other coaches won't like. I love to run and pass the ball to open shooters so I will be a good fit.

"The point guards they have, Marcus Zegarowski, is really good. Their guards improve every year. I hope to do the same, and become a better player there, especially improving my physicality and outside shooting."