Page 3 of 3 Previous

Continued: Gophers' Elliott Eliason: Trying to erase the doubts

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 25, 2014 - 6:57 AM

Before any of them could drive, they’d head out there with a pair of four-wheelers and a golf cart — Bargen and Sandstrom often sticking the constantly competitive Eliason with the latter, just to watch him putt along behind and fume. They would hang out on the back roads and camp along the Gold Rush Byway, sharing the land with an outpouring of wildlife.

“There is deer, mountain lions, bobcats, some elk, antelopes all over — and Bigfoot, but we haven’t seen him since Elliott left,” Sandstrom snickers.

Since Eliason left, the town has witnessed other changes. Gophers T-shirts and sweatshirts have cropped up like new fashion. It’s a safe bet that Wild’s, the local bar on Main Street, will have the Gophers on TV anytime they play. The Eliasons get regular calls at their house from the older folks around town, wondering what time and channel the game is on.

“It’s wild,” Eliason says. “It’s just this random town in the western panhandle that is full of big Gopher fans.”

When he comes home now, he’s treated almost as a celebrity. He’ll often hide out at home or in Nobiling’s office to avoid the attention, something he’s never been too keen about, or else escape to the hills with his friends.

Over Christmas, Spencer went to Country Kitchen with his older brother, only to have their booth morph into a rotating greeting table.

“We had five people come over before we even got our breakfast,” Spencer says. “I think [people in town] have a lot of pride that Elliott is from here.”

•••

For a young man who lives and loves the game so much that at times he tears himself up mentally over it, it’s difficult not to hope, not to want more, as he considers his future.

Inside of him is an extra push; he knows it. The ability to reach a little higher, past the ceiling of his 3.8-square-mile town, past the doubt.

“It’s a little bit of a love-hate, but you always love it at the end of the day,” Eliason says. “I wouldn’t do anything else. I don’t want to be playing another sport and I wouldn’t choose another route to go.”

At Al’s, the chime of silverware mixes with blurred voices and the indifferent jazz. It’s not home, but the pancakes are pretty darn good. Eliason shoves his fork into his “Smokey omelet” and lifts one eyebrow slyly.

“They’re better,” he says, nodding toward the flapjacks being fried just beyond arm’s reach. “But don’t tell them that.”

Almost 10 hours away from his old home in the middle of nowhere, he’s still the kid with the chip on his shoulder and something to prove, to the world and to himself.

Outside of the diner, where the smell of pancakes wafts powerfully into the street, there is still a world of unknown. Whether Eliason will work his way through his current rough patch; whether the Gophers will find a path to the NCAA tournament in the next few weeks; whether he will take the next step and make the next level and put, in a new way, his tiny town on the map.

Eliason pushes his plate toward the counter’s edge and stands, his frame overtaking the small entryway. He’s headed for the door.

The gym awaits.





 

  • related content

  • Chart: Elliott Eliason at a glance

    Tuesday February 25, 2014

    Elliott Eliason at a glanceYear: JuniorHt./Wt: 6-11, 240This season: Averaging 5.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per game.Defensive...

  • Gophers-Iowa game preview

    Tuesday February 25, 2014

    6 p.m. vs. No. 20 Iowa • Williams Arena • BTN, 1500-AMGophers at a glance: The Gophers (17-11, 6-9 Big...

  • Rayno: Pitino says team bounced back from Ohio State loss with best practice of year

    Monday February 24, 2014

    The Gophers need all that energy and more in the next two games.

  • When Elliott Eliason isn’t in the gym, the outdoors calls to him. Here he’s fishing in a stream near Red Lodge, Mont. He also enjoys camping, four-wheeling and shooting clay pigeons with friends near Chadron, Neb.

  • Elliott Eliason grew up in rural Chadron, Neb., playing mostly against foes lacking size and elite skills. Now 6-11, the Gophers junior still is working to make his hometown proud.

  • Elliott Eliason had six double-doubles in his first 18 games this season and has become an imposing shot-blocker inside.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
Nevada 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
LSU 78 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 45
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close