Elliott Eliason Attracts Minnesota Attention

Elliott Eliason, a 6-foot-11, 235-pound junior center from Chadron (NE) High, has attracted the interest of several top schools, including Minnesota. Eliason is averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots per game for the Cardinals, who are off to an 11-0 start. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Chadron head coach Craig Nobiling to learn the latest on his star big man's recruitment.

Elliott Eliason has had a strong junior season, helping lead the Cardinals to the title in the recent Energy Classic regional tournament in Gillette, Wyo.

The Cardinals had wins of 53-33 over Casper (Wyo.) Walsh, 55-42 over Las Vegas Gorman and 77-72 over Gillette in the final as Eliason had 26 points and 10 rebounds in the championship. Eliason made the 10-player Energy Classic All-Tournament team, joining teammates Zac Bargen and Alec Holmquist.

Elaison comes from an athletic family. His parents, Jay and Lorna Eliason, were both outstanding athletes at South Dakota State University, according to Chadron head coach Craig Nobiling.

"His father played football. He was a fullback, I believe and switched to a linebacker," Nobiling said. "His mother was a volleyball player. She is 6-3 or 6-4 and his dad is right around that."

Nobiling says that he thinks Eliason will likely continue to grow.

"He has at least another inch or two in him. We are not really pushing him to gain weight because he gets up and down the floor so well. I can guarantee you with his body frame, he could put on at least another 20 to 25 pounds and he'll still be fine," Nobiling said.

Nobiling says Eliason is hearing from a variety of schools.

"The latest is Stanford. Minnesota is flying in next week for Monday's game. He has offers from Creighton, Nebraska and Colorado State. Washington State has been here twice. New Mexico has been here. Louisville was here. Arizona State. There are like 12 or 13 schools with five offers now," Nobiling said. "Minnesota has not offered, but they are very interested. I got an e-mail from Coach Smith this morning at 9:25 and Coach Jirsa is planning on coming down.

Nobiling said that Eliason is still wide open in his recruitment.

"It's still early. I don't think that he is going to make a decision in the near future. He is keeping pretty close to the vest. He and I are very close. Our families are very close. Even his dad said, 'I know that he likes Creighton a lot. Stanford jumped in here recently. He really likes the idea of the Pac-10. He likes Washington State. There are probably three right there. He is still keeping Nebraska on because they have been there from the very beginning, but it would be tough to say who is #1," he said.

Nobiling said that Eliason does not know much about Minnesota.

"He doesn't know a lot. He knows that Tubby Smith is a historic coach. A lot of people from what we have read surely enjoyed playing for him, wherever he has been like Kentucky," Nobiling said. "There is a lot of tradition with him. Not much about the Big Ten and not much about the school itself, but a lot about Tubby."

Nobiling says that Eliason is a player with many strengths.

"His passing ability for a big man is very, very good," he said. "His ability to get up and down the floor is probably his strength. Defensively, obviously he is a huge presence on the floor for us. We can take a lot of gambles on the perimeter. He pretty much stops nearly everything and alters everybody's shot in this area. Everyone we've played, even the big Class A teams we've played, he causes all sorts of problems on the inside."

Nobiling is continuing to work to improve his all-around game.

"His offense, his scoring around the basket. It's not that he can't score, but he just needs to be a little more fluid and his offensive moves are limited. He needs to expand on those," Nobiling said. "He needs to work in the weight room. He has a trainer that he has been working with. He needs to get that core strength up to a higher level. He just turned 17, so he is still a kid. He needs to work against big guys. Working against 6-3 and 6-4 guys is a heck of a lot different than working against 6-8, 6-9 and 6-10 kids, which he needs to work against, but where we are at, those don't come by very often."

Chadron has been dominant this season with no Nebraska team having scored more than 58 points on the Cardinals, who have beaten four Class B opponents (all with winning records) by an average of 21.5 points.

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