Terps Now Targeting PG Ellison

HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- Maryland's women's hoops team signed Aja Ellison this year, and now the men's team has offered her brother, guard Malik Ellison.

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Maryland has identified a couple class of 2015 guard targets, headlined by Franklin Howard and Donovan Mitchell, but in early December the Terps' staff added a new, though familiar, name to that list. Life Center Academy (Burlington Township, N.J.) point guard Malik Ellison, the sibling of Terps women's hoops signee Aja Ellison and the son of former NBA player Pervis Ellison and former Maryland sprinter Timi Ellison, pulled in his latest offer from UMD.

"Maryland just literally offered me," said the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Ellison during the Holiday Hoops Festival at DeMatha. "The coaches didn't talk to me directly, but they talked to my father. [Pervis Ellison] didn't tell me what the coaches said, but he let me know it was out there.

"But it felt good to get that one. I like Maryland a lot. It's a really nice school, it's big, it's a big-time program and it's a good area. I've been there once for a visit and really liked it."

The fact that his mother went to Maryland and his sister is heading to College Park next year does resonate with the junior combo guard. Ellison said Aja always speaks highly of the Terps and fell in love with the school.

"She said she loves the people there, the feel of the school and said it's a great campus, a great place to be," Ellison said. "It would be kind of cool to go to the same school as her, but we'll see."

Ellison hasn't been to Maryland for several months, but he plans to attend a game this winter. He said once he has some free time he wants to tour the school, meet the coaches and take in the Comcast Center atmosphere.

"I'm trying to get back up there soon," Ellison said. "I want to visit now that they've offered."

As far as the current Terps squad is concerned, Ellison said Maryland is "having kind of a rough season, but you can tell they're getting better." He lauded head coach Mark Turgeon and said he'll have Maryland on the right track before the season's out.

"I know Maryland's coaches are good; I like them," Ellison said. "They're going to bounce back."

The Terps, though, have had some point guard troubles. The fact that UMD may need another ball-handler to go along with Roddy Peters and the currently injured Seth Allen might give Ellison something to think about.

"Yes, that [the point guard situation] is something I'll look at, definitely," Ellison said. "I know they've had some problems there, so if I could come in and help, that would be something to look at."

Ellison, though, did not put forth his best showing Dec. 14 at DeMatha, where Life Center fell to St. James (St. James, Md.) at the buzzer, 66-65. The Life Center guard had a strong first half, but he picked up a few silly fouls and barely played during the latter frames. He finished with nine points, two assists and three rebounds, but was just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and 4-of-12 from the field, while turning the ball over twice.

"In the first half I did OK," Ellison said, "but in the second half I started missing shots and fouled out, so I can't say I played well at all.

"I mean, we came out pretty good and competed well, but as a team it was tough because we couldn't shut [St. James] down in the second half. It was a tough loss, but I feel like overall we're doing pretty good. That was only our second loss of the season; we're getting better and we'll be straight by the end of the year."

Despite the loss Dec. 14, Ellison said he's matured as a player this year. On top of that, he grew four inches in a year, which undoubtedly opened recruiters' eyes.

"I've gotten bigger, I've gotten better technically and I've gotten better handling the ball," Ellison said. "But I still have a lot to work on – my shooting, defending, handling, driving, everything."

As he improves, expect Ellison's recruiting interest to ratchet up. He now holds offers from Maryland, Temple, La Salle, Pittsburgh and Penn State, while Miami, Syracuse and other regional schools are giving him a long look.

So far Ellison has visited Syracuse, Penn State and Temple, in addition to Maryland. He said all of the schools had something to offer, but none truly stood out as of yet. Next on his agenda is a trip to Miami since that staff has been on him quite a bit. Beyond that visit, though, he has no other set plans.

"I'm concentrating on my team right now, so I'll worry about all that [recruiting] when I have free time," Ellison said. "No standouts, no leaders right now … I won't decide [on a school] until sometime next year."

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