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Off-Season Improvements: Brady Ellingson

Brady Ellingson didn't exactly take a huge leap forward in his redshirt freshman season, but he'll have three years left to prove he can make an impact for the Hawkeyes.

Brady Ellingson played in seven games his freshman season before becoming a little hobbled and redshirting for his first season in Iowa City.  The talk about Ellingson coming out of high school was that he was an excellent shooter.  He had some rounding out to do as a ball player, but the ability to shoot was there.  

He hit on four of six attempts in his first season as a Hawkeye, but that simply wasn't going to be enough to see what kind of player Ellingson would be.  He entered his second season in Iowa City being looked at as a guy that could potentially provide a spark off the bench if the Hawkeyes needed a couple of three point baskets.

Early in the year against Coppin State, he dropped 20 points and was 7-8 from the field in a rout of the Eagles.  Obviously it was against a team that doesn't exactly scream powerhouse, but it was a nice start to the season for him.  Once the Hawkeyes began Big Ten play, Ellingson would go on to score just 12 points total over the course of the 18 game Big Ten slate.  

He had a bright spot at Purdue when he buried a couple of key three pointers, but that was really it for Brady.  He wasn't making his shots, wasn't dominant on the defensive side of the ball, and really offered nothing in terms of getting to the hoop.  That led to his minutes diminishing as the year progressed.  In the last five games of the season, Ellingson didn't play over five minutes in a single game.

After the season finished up, Iowa lost a lot of talent, but that still doesn't automatically put Ellingson into the mix.  Isaiah Moss, who redshirted last season would be a candidate to take minutes away from Ellingson, and my early guess would be that he will.  Peter Jok will start at the two for Fran McCaffery most likely, and Christian Williams could even play there some when Jordan Bohannon is running the offense.

The first thing he's going to have to do is make his outside shots.  The ability to shoot was all we heard about when the kid from Sussex, WI chose the Hawkeyes, but he hasn't seemed to show us much in that department.  If he's able to knock down three pointers on a consistent basis, somewhere in the 38-42% range, he'll see the floor some.

Often times, he was in over his head on the defensive side and simply wasn't strong enough on that end to warrant leaving him in the game.  He shot an abysmal 27% from three point land last year, so it's hard to leave a guy like that on the floor, especially when he doesn't get to the basket often.  Getting better on the defensive side of the basketball will be crucial for his this off-season. 

The last thing I'd like to see happen is for him to become more confident.  I thought he was timid last season, a lot.  He didn't really look like he wanted the ball in his hands, which isn't a good thing for a shooter.  The biggest thing a shooter needs is his confidence, if he doesn't have that he probably isn't going to perform very well.  He can't hesitate, he just needs to shoot it.

Ellingson isn't cracking the starting lineup anytime soon, but he is a guy that, if he's playing well, could give Iowa a nice 8-12 minutes per game this upcoming season.  A lot is going to depend on how Isaiah Moss performs.  If Moss performs well, Ellingson may not see a lot of time.


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