Longtime Minnesota 2015 target Malik Ellison has chosen St. John's as the school he'll be attending and the program he'll be playing basketball for in the fall.
The 6-5 wing out of New Jersey held a press conference on Friday to announce his decision. Alex Kline of the RecruitScoop.com first tweeted the news.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino and his staff have been pursuing the late bloomer since the fall, and were considered to be the heavy favorite as recently as recently as a month ago. Since then, however, Minnesota assistant Dan McHale -- and the staff member who had taken the lead in Ellison's recruitment -- accepted the head coaching job at Eastern Kentucky, a move that seemingly stalled the momentum. The Gophers also got a commitment from Ahmad Gilbert, a wing with a similar game to that of Ellison -- one source believed to be the leading factor in the latter's wane in interest.
Minnesota is still in good shape for 2015 from a recruiting perspective. With six recruits -- Gilbert, guards Dupree McBrayer, Jarvis Johnson and Kevin Dorsey, and big men Jonathan Nwankwo and (redshirt) Reggie Lynch -- plus another scholarship available should they decide to use it, the Gophers appear to have the makings of a top-25 class, along with much-needed depth at a few critical positions.
The spring signing period ends on May 20.