UNC Tracking Ellenson

LONG BEACH, Calif. --- It's been well documented that UNC is on the lookout for big men in the class of 2015.

The Tar Heel staff currently has an offer out to Diamond Stone, a 6-10 center out of Milwaukee, Wis., but after spending the month of July evaluating prospects, another Wisconsin big man - Henry Ellenson - has piqued their interest.

Ellenson is a 6-9, 250-pound power forward from Lake Rice (Wis.) High and comes from a basketball family. His father played at both Marquette and Wisconsin while his oldest brother, Wally, just finished his first year on scholarship at Minnesota. Wally's freshman season under Tubby Smith was derailed by injuries, but he is currently getting ready to compete in the high jump at the Pan Am Jr Championships. The second oldest son, Ellwood, is getting ready to enroll at Division 2 Bemidji State to play basketball.

Henry is already taller than both of his older brothers and with two years left in high school has received more attention from college recruiters. Georgetown was the first school to offer him a scholarship in the spring of 2012 and numerous other schools soon followed suit.

He currently holds offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Boston College, Creighton, DePaul, Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin. His summer play earned him additional offers from Purdue, Michigan State, and Indiana.

During the third live recruiting period in July, Ellenson caught the eye of the UNC coaching staff while playing for the Adidas sponsored Minnesota D1 program. Assistant coach C.B. McGrath watched him at the Adidas Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas and then assistant coach Hubert Davis followed up a viewing a few days later.

"UNC called my AAU coach after Vegas," Ellenson said. "I talked to one of the assistants as well. "They said they are going to track my progress in high school and see how I can elevate my game going forward.

"For sure I have interest in them. It's a big time school so that's always nice. They get players to the NBA and I know J.P. (Tokoto)."

While the UNC interest is fairly recent, Ellenson indicated that he wanted to start taking some visits in the fall depending on his schedule, but that he wasn't sure what schools would receive the visits.

"I'm just going to wait to make my decision and see what opportunities I have," he said

As far as his skillset goes, Ellenson possesses the size and strength to bang down low, but can also stretch the floor with his skills on the perimeter.

"Shooting is my biggest strength, along with facing up in the post and running the floor," Ellenson said.

During Adidas Nations, Ellenson only took three shots from behind the arc, connecting on one of them but he did hit 21 during his high school season. He also demonstrated an ability to hit a 15-18 foot jump shot from the wing or in pick and pop situations at the top of the key. Throughout his time at Adidas Nations, Ellenson averaged seven points and four rebounds a game. He ran the floor well and showed off a fundamental post game with various drop steps and right handed hooks.

He is comfortable trying to take his defender off the dribble but he noted that he has been working hard on his ball-handling skills over the summer.

While his older brother Wally can jump out of the gym, Henry lacks that same explosion and is considered more of a below the rim player. He uses his strong base to box out and corral rebounds but can sometimes struggle with players that are quicker off their feet in situations that require more than one jump. He gathered several offensive rebounds during pool play this weekend and finished with rebounds, but also had his shot blocked at times when going against athletic big men.

The past several months have been a whirlwind for Ellenson. Along with AAU events, he took part in the USA 16U Trials over Memorial Day weekend. While he did not make the final roster to travel to Uruguay he is still set to take part in the October training as part of the developmental roster. After playing in Indianapolis and Las Vegas in July and now California for the Adidas Nations, Ellenson is looking forward to a slight rest.

"This is my last event. I'll take a short rest and get right back to the court for practice," Ellenson said.

Going into his junior year, the second team all-state selection is looking to improve upon his sophomore averages of 21 points and 11 rebounds a game. He is now the lone remaining Ellenson brother on the Rice Lake varsity team and is looking forward to extending its 24-game conference win streak. After losing the past two years in sectional play, Ellenson wants to do what his brother's couldn't do.

"We're definitely winning States next year," Ellenson noted. "We have some good players back and we're ready to take the next step."

On Dec. 27, Rice Lake is scheduled to match-up against Dominican High, which is led by Diamond Stone.

(Josh Gershon contributed to this story.)

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