"He loves basketball," TMP coach Antoine Saunders said. "He loves basketball. Will it be hard (to give up football?) yes, but he loves basketball."
"Basketball has always been my first love," Ellington said in a statement. "I believe the basketball program at South Carolina is on the verge of doing great things. They have been with me every day since Day One. I have built a great relationship with Coach Horn and I know he will push me everyday to be the best I can be. I'm am excited to be a Gamecock."
Ellington, a 5-foot-10 point guard, is ranked the No. 52 player in the country by Scout.com. His ascension this summer up the charts was swift, but not as fast as he is on the court. Once the nation caught wind of this small, but powerful point guard, he blew up in July.
"We thought he was that good when we saw him but you don't know how you compare until you see other guys across the country," Saunders said. "When we saw we realized he was that good.
"He's a competitive kid, a joy to coach and I kept telling people he'd be better in July than in April. In July it was just about basketball."
Ellington didn't play many games as a junior because of a hand injury. His AAU coaches began circulating video tapes of him to increase his exposure and once South Carolina saw the tape, they moved quickly.
"They got a great staff and he liked them. You look at Coach Horn and the staff, it's calm there. Then when the offers started coming, you really never felt besides South Carolina, Clemson and Auburn … he just always felt comfortable with South Carolina."
Ellington, the No. 12 point guard in the country, will team with former AAU teammate R.J. Slawson in Columbia. They'll join guard Eric Smith as the Gamecocks three in-state pledges. Ellington's speed, power and improving jump shot are significant additions for Horn's team.
However, before he gets to Columbia, there are state titles to win, on the hardwood and the gridiron.