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Joe, Kendal, Dre

2013 Wing Alvin Ellis Looks Like a Strong Fit With Minnesota

09/20/2012, 12:55pm CDT
By J.B. Bauer

Anyone would be impressed after a tour given by these young men

The Gophers staff has been hard at work and this weekend they'll host a few 2013 basketball recruits.  Today, we look at Chicagoland product Alvin Ellis.

Alvin Ellis

2013 Wing Alvin Ellis

This weekend Minnesota plans to host two Chicago-area recruits who have had the interest of Tubby Smith and his staff for some time.  Alex Foster and Alvin Ellis played together at De La Salle (IL) during the 2011-12 high school season and were teammates again during this spring and summer with the talented Meanstreets AAU program.  The Gophers will also host Kansas City-area big man Tory Miller this weekend.

In addition to Foster and Ellis, the Gophers have been involved with a number of others in basketball-rich Illinois.  In terms of knowledge and experience within the world of Illinois prep basketball, it's tough to compete with Roy & Harv Schmidt of Illinois Prep Bulls-eye.   These gentlemen offer plenty of information at their website, but were also kind enough to discuss certain players in further detail with me this week.

Today we focus on Alvin Ellis, a 6'4" wing who I believe looks like an excellent fit at Minnesota.  Tomorrow we'll discuss some of the other 2013 Illinois kids Minnesota is involved with.  Check back at GopherHole for that article.  As always, you can follow me on Twitter (@jbbauer612) for a heads up when my articles become available.   

"Ellis has already predicted that he will average over 30 points per game this season.  We would not bet against that-we think he is more than up to the task." -- llinois Prep Bulls-eye

Gavin Schilling and Alex Foster, both high school teammates of Ellis last year, have transferred to other schools.  I asked Roy & Harv for thoughts on what Ellis would be called upon to do in 2012-13 and how that might help him when he arrives on a college campus next summer.

With Ellis undoubtedly being De La Salle's go-to-guy this coming season, Illinois Prep Bulls-eye thinks he will probably be given the green light to shoot whenever he is open and will certainly be looked upon to increase his scoring output even more.  

"The greatest way this benefits him in terms of the next level is that he will become even more of a leader and acquire traits in that area that will certainly carry over to the next level." -- Illinois Prep Bulls-eye

Gopher fans can think back to Andre Hollins and his senior year at White Station (TN).  Joe Jackson was in the backcourt with Andre until graduating and moving onto Memphis (Jackson, a McDonald's All American, has averaged double-figures in college and is now a junior for the Tigers, who Minnesota could face in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis this November).  

Hollins was in a somewhat similar situation to the one Ellis faces and his experience that year was extremely valuable.  That said, while having a couple of high-profile teammates leave De La Salle may not sound all that good for Ellis, it could prove to be very helpful to his development. 

Roy & Harv describe Ellis as having a high motor that enables him to be an explosive player to the basket.  "Not only is he highly athletic, but he can consistently beat defenders to a spot and get by them in one-on-one situations," they commented.  "He has 3-point range as well as the ability to either spot up or hit shots off the dribble."  

While acknowledging that Ellis can be streaky in his shooting and overall play, Roy & Harv think it is just a question of fine-tuning and consistency and they would not be surprised to see Ellis develop into a more productive 3-point shooter by the time he hits campus.

Defensively, I might draw some parallels to Austin Hollins with respect to both his size and ability.  Illinois Prep Bulls-eye says Ellis does an outstanding job of playing the passing lanes and is versatile enough to defend either the 2 or 3.  

When the Nike EYBL came to Minneapolis in April, Ellis was out with an injury.  However, he played in all of the other regular season sessions for Meanstreets and produced the following statistics:

16.3 mpg, 7.1 ppg, 52.4% eFG% (29/64 for 45.3% 2FG and 10/20 for 50.0% 3FG), 2.2 rpg, 13 assists, 21 turnovers.

His turnover rate was a bit high in the EYBL and he could tighten up his handle a bit, but overall he put in a respectable performance.

Sometimes there are recruits brought in to visit the U that may cause you to scratch your head or shrug your shoulders.  This isn't one of them.  I believe that at this point in time, Alvin Ellis and Minnesota makes a lot of sense.  As Illinois Prep Bulls-eye put it, "he is a player who would be a great fit at Minnesota if he were to choose the Gophers because of the freedom that Tubby Smith allows for wings to operate within his offense."

J.B. Bauer
Twitter: @jbbauer612

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Tag(s): Gopher Basketball