Rayno: Checking in with Gophers basketball recruit Wally Ellenson
- Blog Post by: Amelia Rayno
- January 9, 2012 - 1:01 PM
Gopher recruit Wally Ellenson’s Rice Lake (Wis.) High School team played in the Timberwolves Shootout at Target Center over the weekend, and Gophers coach Tubby Smith was in the building to watch the 6-5 wing. Ellenson, who had had a strong performance a night earlier against Chippewa Falls, struggled on Saturday but sounded upbeat about signing with the ‘U.' Ellenson admitted nerves affected him some in the loss, but he said he figures that’s something he’ll get over soon enough.
“He’s my coach now, so I’ll get more used to it,” Ellenson said of Smith, who also saw the senior play in his first game of the season. “He’s a great coach. I just really like his character; he’s a great guy.”
Ellenson, who said he’s closely watched the Gophers’ season so far, cited outside shooting as the team’s biggest woe. Ellenson is known for having a good outside shot, but couldn’t find his groove Saturday, missing his only shot behind the arc and going 4-for-14 from the field with several clanks on long two-pointers.
- Ellenson had nine points, 10 rebounds and four turnovers in the 86-71 loss to Duluth East on Saturday.
- One night earlier, in a late start, Ellenson had 38 points and 17 rebounds against struggling Chippewa Falls. Ellenson admitted he was a little fatigued on Saturday.
- The Rice Lake starting lineup has three Ellenson brothers in it: senior Wally, 6-7 junior Ellwood and 6-7 freshman Henry. Ellwood had eight points and five rebounds, while the youngest – who has also caught the Gophers' attention -- had 11 points and five rebounds. Wally Ellenson said both of his brothers have come with him on his trips to Minnesota and both “love [it] so far.”
- While Ellenson was the reason for the trip for Smith, the real star of the show was Duluth East’s Johnny Woodard, a senior forward that quite simply took over the game. It was the first game of the season for Woodard, who has been out all year with a shoulder injury (and wasn’t expected to return until February), but he didn’t show a bit of rust. Woodard finished with 33 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, scored from all over the floor, showed a sharp passing ability and aggressiveness in the paint. Woodard is currently unsigned.
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