Ellenson makes first cut; talks recruiting

He started the interview before finding out that he was named as one of the finalists for the U17 team that is traveling to Dubai in August. Then Henry Ellenson provided a recap on his feeling after making it through the first cut and a look at how recruiting is moving forward, including the latest on his contact with Duke. 

How’s the camp been going?

Henry Ellenson: It’s going good. We just got done with the last trial session….I felt like I played well this weekend and I played my hardest. I think we’re finding out here in a little bit who made it as finalists for the team.

What kind of feedback did you get from the coaches so far?

It’s been all positive stuff, they like my offensive skills and my versatility and they feel I could bring a lot to the team. They just keep telling me that I bring a lot of positive stuff to the team.

What are your thoughts on how your spring and summer has gone this year?

Yeah, it’s gone really well and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve really grown up I feel in the eyes of a lot of people. It was nice to show good I really am and I have been playing with a lot more confidence this summer. It’s awesome being considered one of the best players in the country.

Have you developed any good friendships with anybody at USA Camp?

Yeah you get to know a lot of these guys on the circuit and what not, but I’ve become good friends with D.J. Williams, Daniel Giddens, and a few other guys.

On the recruiting front, is there a firm plan in place for you for cutting down your list soon?

I don’t know if I’m ready. I’m not really too sure on what I’m going to do about the list thing and I don’t know if I really want to come out with a list or not. We will see how that goes in the future with the colleges. I’ll try and figure out that stuff after camp.

Who is really helping you sort out how you feel about colleges and how your process is moving forward?

My parents definitely are, they are the biggest for sure. My AAU coach is helping me, but mostly it’s my parents and family.

Are you the type who is going to lean on how your parents feel about schools to help inform how you feel about schools, or is it something different?

You know honestly my parents want the best for me and they have my best interests in mind, so they will support me wherever I want to go. 

Note: The interview was paused as Ellenson went to a team meeting to hear learn about the first round of cuts

I hear congratulations are in order….

Yeah I just found out I made the next step, I’m a finalist for the team along with guys like Ivan Rabb, Jayson Tatum, Caleb Swanigan, and a bunch of guys. I’m pleased I made it to first cut and it’s another step to go. Just have to keep working hard towards the goal of making it. It would be an honor to play in a World Championship game for the United States over in Dubai, to have the potential opportunity to play with 11 other guys like that, it’d be a lot of fun for me since I was a finalist last year and I didn’t make it.

That’s cool, switching back to what we were discussing previously—since you are a big family guy-how much pull do you think there is for you to potentially stay close to home for college?

You know, I’m looking for the best opportunity for me but of course it is a another bonus for me if I were to stay close to home, that’d be nice. Wherever the best opportunity is for me, that’s where I’m going to go.

There’s a sentiment out there that you’re a guy who may stay close to home, is that something you find accurate?

People can, and will, say what they want, but in the end I’m just going to go the place that has the best fit for me. Whether that’s on the West Coast, East Coast, it doesn’t matter that’s how I look at it.

From a fit perspective-are you evaluating schools based on how they utilize guys on the roster in your position or is it more evaluating their style of play and potential depth chart?

Yeah I look at coaches for sure, that’s huge. I look at playing style and I want to be able to be the go-to guy in the offense and to be able to use my versatility and to play for a coach who lets his guys do that. 

Are there any programs in your mind who do a good job at playing guys the way you want to play?

I think the schools i’m kinda talking to now have used guys similar to me. A lot of them, I think, use guys in a pick and pop, especially their bigs.

How’s the communication been with the Duke staff Henry?

It’s been good, I talked to Coach K last week and him and the assistant coaches have been out here at USA Camp. We’ve talked about how they would use me, playing style and how they would keep improving me as a player.

What are your early impressions of those discussions?

They are a serious consideration just because they are Duke. They send guys to the League and that’s my biggest goal. They are recruiting me hard, but probably not the hardest I would say. The schools recruiting me the hardest are probably Marquette, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kentucky, they have messaged me a lot recently.

Are you thinking you want to be a guy who sticks around the college game for a short time?

If i could, that would be sweet. I’m going to go when I’m ready. 

What are your thoughts on the new staff at Marquette?

It’s a good staff, they really know what they are talking about with basketball and it’s a good staff, I like Coach Wojo. He actually wasn’t recruiting me when he was at Duke. The first time I talked with him was when he was at Marquette. 

Is Marquette a strong consideration for you in your college evaluations?

For sure, my brother is there and it’s an up and coming program and it’s an in-state school also. It’s a big bonus for them that my brother is there.

How’s the relationship with the Kentucky staff?

They offered me at LeBron game, they are real good to talk to and I like how they would use me from what they have told me.

Are there any schools recruiting you Henry that are most likely to receive a visit from you in the future, especially officially?

I don’t know what i’m going to do with my visits, I’m really not sure yet. I don’t know how many I’m going to go use if I use them, I’m just not sure yet. 

So taking all five isn’t set in stone?

I think I can get it done quicker than that, so I don’t think I’ll need all 5. I think I can just talk with coaches as they come up to my school and I can just talk to them through that way. 

Is there a potential decision timeframe in mind for you?

Yeah, I will do it for sure before signing day in November. I’ll sign the first day. I don’t want to hold it up too long, sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.

Are there any schools currently recruiting you that are not as likely to be in that final group of schools that you consider to offer your commitment to?

I don’t know, I’m just taking in everything that all these schools are saying to me, especially the ones who have offered me. 

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