PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- In the opening moments on day one of the Reebok Breakout Classic July 9 at Philadelphia University, Malik Ellison showed no signs of the lower extremity issues that had dogged him this spring.
Because of growing pains as the 6-foot-6 wing from Life Center Academy (Burlington, N.J.) continued to shoot up height-wise, Ellison has been slowed at times by everything from knee to hip pain. But on July 9, with Terps assistant coach Bino Ranson looking on, he wasted no time getting re-acclimated.
Entering the game, Ellison's first touch resulted in a deep trey from out on the left wing, while moments later he grabbed a rebound, took it the length of the court, and finished with a nifty, left-handed finger-roll over a host of bigs. Throughout the contest he showed quickness and bounce off the dribble, creating and slashing and getting to the hole, while he also dove around for some loose balls and came up with a few big boards and steals. It looked like he was back from a spring of discontent.
Two few weeks before, Ellison had tripped to Maryland again for an unofficial visit, which he discussed.
"It was good. I was just there for a little bit because I went up there to see my sister [incoming freshman Aja Ellison of the Terps women's team]. But the Maryland coaches always show me a lot of love and everything, so it was all good.
"And I am definitely considering them, but I am just going to let everything pan out until after the summer and then take some visits and decide later," Ellison said.
Ellison said his recruitment is still mostly in its infancy, as he has only seen 3-4 schools and wants to check out more. He said he likely won't decide until after his season.
"I haven't visited a lot of schools yet, so it's hard for me to list any favorites or anything like that," Ellison said. "But the area, the coaches, everything [about Maryland] is good," Ellison said.
Ellison said he is feeling good health-wise. He showed a lot of energy and was aggressive running the floor, attacking the rim and getting his shot. He could add another two inches or so as he continues to grow. He said he is about 95 percent back from the injuries. He can do a little bit of everything, be it shoot, create and finish with his long arms and bouncy style, and his movement looked good given he had been sidelined for much of the spring.
"It was great [hitting that three-ball]," Ellison said. "Trying to get a rhythm the whole game, and the whole game trying to stay intact. And it was a great feeling to get a victory."
Ellison said he is beginning to mature in his body thanks to weight training and adding more bulk. That, he says, has been the most significant factor in bouncing back.
He wants to visit several southern schools like Miami and Florida next. He is up to eight offers.
"Probably a two-guard at college. And being able to score and my defense are the main things I am working on now," Ellison said of his game taking the next step.
On the Terps and the vibe he gets from UMD, he said:
"I have a lot of family around there, my sister goes there, and the coaches are great. They develop their players pretty good," Ellison said. "And Aja, she is athletic. I think she can be a great player. I'm not sure if she is going to play this year because she has been out for a year [with her own injury], but I think once she gets back to 100 percent she is going to be a great player."
He also is former teammates with Terps freshman center Trayvon Reed.
"I think that he has lots of potential. He can easily make the NBA if he stays focused and works on his body," Ellison said.
On his own game, and bouncing back this month during the "live" period with college coaches looking on, he said:
"I love playing basketball. It always hurts not playing. But I am finally back so that's good," Ellison said.
Ellison Has Terps on His Radar
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