This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Ellenson: "I definitely just wanted to play."

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: January 4, 2013 - 2:23 PM

 

 

Gophers wing Wally Ellenson was well aware of the cons when he fought for giving up his redshirt and playing this season.

After all, the freshman had already missed 11 games – all but two games of the non-conference schedule – with a broken left hand. He would be tossed into the ring just as the Gophers started the tough and gritty Big Ten schedule. And he would effectively lose his full four years of eligibility, which he could have had if he sat out this season.

No matter. In getting off to an exciting start, the Gophers had proven they could be something this season and Ellenson just wanted to be involved.

“I definitely just wanted to play,” he said. “I want to play the game. I have bigger goals and dreams, like I want to go to the NBA and I just didn’t want to be in college for five years.”

He talked with coach Tubby Smith, who ultimately agreed to let the freshman play even though he couldn’t guarantee how many minutes the wing would get with such a deep squad this season. In Minnesota’s game against South Dakota State, Ellenson made his debut, playing four minutes and getting his first point on a free throw. In the second half of the Lafayette blowout, the Wisconsin native played 15 minutes, getting a dunk and a hitting a three-pointer.

But against Michigan State in the league opener, Ellenson didn’t play at all. The freshman isn’t worried, though.

“I feel like I can get those minutes, I can earn them,” he said. “But it’s really up to coach and my shot. I’m going to hit my shot and its just keep working on it every day in practice.”

Smith seemed prepared to redshirt Ellenson at the beginning of the year, and he did make that decision with the team’s other freshman, Charles Buggs. But it makes sense that the coach would take Ellenson’s opinion into such heavy consideration with the freshman’s brother, Henry, at the top of the Gophers’ wish list for 2015.

Ellenson might be getting a baptism by fire in league play, but so far he’s not concerned, and is simply enjoying being a part of this team.

“I guess it will be good, because all I’ll know will be Big Ten, so I’ll just play up to that competition and feel that out,” he said. “It’s so fun. The guys are great. The locker room is just a great experience. Everyone is happy, excited, we know we have a great team, we’re going to have a great season and we just want to see how far we can go.”

Other notes:

  • Gophers’ Sunday opponent, Northwestern hasn’t been on the best steak lately – their best player, Drew Crawford is out for the season with a dislocated elbow. And last night, the Wildcats started out their Big Ten season by getting absolutely dominated on their home court by Michigan. But Rodney Williams knows not to overlook Northwestern, whose Princeton-style offense gives the Gophers a different look than they’ve seen thus far, and their 1-3-1 defensive zone has given Minnesota plenty of problems in the past. “You’ve got to come prepared every time,” Williams said. “You’ve got to watch a lot of film on them. Their offense is, it’s a different offense, man. They’ll back-door you all day. And that 1-3-1 is real tough to score on. We’ve got a good game plan and hopefully we can come out and execute on Sunday.”
  • Mo Walker, who had been dealing with a sore shoulder for a week or so, is mostly back to normal, Smith said on Friday. “He’s been in contact, so I haven’t had any … problems,” Smith said. “He’s been getting treatment, so I think he’s feeling a lot better.”
  • Smith indicated that the shorter bench we saw against Michigan State in the second half could be typical going forward, with the starters playing more. “We’re going to try to stick with those guys and they’re probably going to log those types of minutes,” he said.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 17 2nd Qtr 11:45
Dallas 7
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 59 2nd Half 5:56
Georgetown 57
FIU 46 2nd Half 3:42
USC Upstate 63
Long Island 31 2nd Half 13:45
Stony Brook 48
San Diego 31 2nd Half
Xavier 39
Illinois 23 1st Half 11:37
Indiana State 8
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 2nd Half 0:17
Washington 80
Wichita State 36 2nd Half 0:35
Fla Gulf Coast 55
Wisconsin 22 2nd Half 14:21
(1) South Carolina 39
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler

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