Late Blooming Ellis Finds His Way To Big 12

Fred Ellis is one of those summer success stories that we never seem to hear enough about. After entering the July period with one offer, Ellis is no headed to the Big 12.

Baylor University never got to see Fred Ellis play in the summer but he'll be on campus in the fall of 2007. The 6-foot-6 combo forward out of Sacramento (Calif.) High, committed to the Bears after considering SMU, Bradley and Columbia.

Last season, Ellis who happens to be an outstanding student, played alongside Kevin Galloway, a Top 100 player who signed with USC. Entering the summer, many out west didn't even know who he was. As a junior he averaged just 8 points.

That all changed late in the July recruiting period when Ellis was playing near midnight in a back gym at the Big Time. After putting up consistently good numbers throughout the event, he got seen, played well and in turn his recruiting attention took off.

The first time we saw him there wasn't a single college coach in the gym except Virginia Tech which happened to stumble in and lay a set of eyes on him and continued to follow him through the fall period.

Baylor had to wait until after July to see him. "They came to my school and saw me play there," Ellis said.

This past weekend he visited campus and made his commitment. "It just felt like home – the coaches, the players, the school and the community. I felt comfortable there."

The beauty of taking a guy like Ellis, who is obviously a late bloomer, is that you just aren't sure what kind of player – especially a tweener forward like Ellis – he can or will be down the road. In a sense, it's exciting.

Ellis didn't picture himself as a Big 12 player his junior yet but he dreamed it and then worked on his game. "It was the drive and the want to get better and have something good for myself. It was the determination."

Now, Baylor has him but what exactly do they have on their hands? We know he's got some explosion to his game inside. We know he's yet to show us exactly what position he is. He is, in the truest sense of the word, a late bloomer.

"I don't think they know yet (what I am). They have an idea but hopefully I can be sort of like an inside-out secret weapon and catch coaches sleeping."

Sounds like he already did.


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