Prized high school forward Henry Ellenson is one of Wisconsin's top targets for the class of 2015. Ellenson is being recruited by programs across the country, including Michigan State, and the 6'9 senior was in attendance Sunday as the Badgers beat the Spartans at the Kohl Center.
But before that, Ellenson put on a show for his high school team on Friday night, scoring 36 points in a 78-52 win. How did he look? Glad you asked.
Ellenson started out scoring the first 14 of Rice Lake’s initial 16 points. He also scored scored them in a variety of ways. He started off with a quick pull-up jumper moving to his left (he’s right-handed) from the corner of the free throw line. The next possession, he came off a double screen from the baseline to hit a three-point shot with a hand in his face. Needless to say his full offensive arsenal was on display early. Throughout the game, Ellenson looked really comfortable shooting from the outside. He showed good balance setting his feet coming off screens or elevating off the dribble.
Most of the night he was guarded by a 6'6 player from Hudson who had good quickness. Ellenson was still able to beat him, putting the ball on the floor and showing an ability to finish around the rim with either hand. He was occasionally loose with his ball-handling and had a few turnovers when pressured, but overall, he seemed comfortable on the perimeter and even brought the ball up the court when the starting point guard got a few minutes of rest on the bench.
Ellenson’s post offense was a bit harder to evaluate. Particularly early on in the game, whenever he received the ball in the post he was immediately double- or triple-teamed and was forced to pass out of trouble. Ellenson was able to gain inside position a handful of times and seal off his defender to finish rim-rattling dunks.
As noted earlier, Ellenson was matched up with a smaller and quicker player for most of the game. He got beat off the dribble a couple of times, but at 6'9, lateral quickness on the perimeter will be a challenge at any level. Ellenson finished with three blocks, but didn’t really challenge many shots. He played defense conservatively, knowing he could not afford to pick up unnecessary fouls. He did show good positioning and awareness on help defense.
Final Stat Line
Most recruiting sites have Ellenson ranked between No. 40 and No. 50 among players in the 2015 class, and he lived up to those expectations on Friday. The versatility he displayed scoring all over the court would be an ideal fit for Bo Ryan's swing offense. He has the size and footwork to take advantage of smaller players in the post but is also confident shooting longer-range jump shots and scoring off the dribble.
Befitting a top recruit, Ellenson also treated the crowd to several highlight reel dunks. In one instance, he drove from the three-point line in for a reverse one-handed dunk, using the rim to put space between himself and the defender. The cream of the crop, though, was an off-the-backboard alley-oop on a fast break rarely seen at the high school level.
Games Notes That Won't Show Up in the Box Score
- One Rice Lake fan was FaceTiming the game on her iPad for some remote viewers to enjoy. Such is the power of a top-50 recruit.
- Ellenson looked slimmer and more toned compared to his sophomore season. That kind of body transformation indicates a serious commitment to the game of basketball.
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