TOC: One to Watch -- Wayne Ellington

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Despite being only a rising junior, Wayne Ellington is a focal point for the The Playaz, a squaded loaded with Division I talent. And that's why he's one of the top players in the Class of 2006.

Attending Merion (Pa.) Episcopal Academy, Ellington is an athletic, smooth 6-4 shooting guard who can score at will by hitting the outside shot or burning defenders off the dribble. His versatile, well-rounded game was evident this weekend at the Tournament of Champions

"I bring a backcourt presence," he explained. "I've got a nice jumpshot and I penetrate and dish."

No disagreement here.

As a prospect already considered to be of elite status in his class, his school list consists of a number of high profile programs.

"North Carolina, UConn, Villanova, Wake Forest, Arizona, Duke …" were the first out of his mouth.

As for word from the Tar Heel coaching staff?

"They've let me know they're interested," he said.

And while Ellington is a longtime fan of the Heels, he's not a die-hard, as evidenced by his interest in the program in Durham.

"I'm a fan of both schools," he said of UNC and Duke. "I've liked Carolina since I was young – I always wanted to come to North Carolina when I was younger. But I also like Duke."

A school to keep an eye on in his recruitment will be hometown Villanova. Just last week head coach Jay Wright named Ellington's assistant coach, Pat Chambers, to the Wildcats coaching staff as coordinator of basketball operations.

With a string of big tournaments and camps on the way, Ellington was quick to name his most difficult matchup on the AAU circuit to date.

"[Marcus] Ginyard," Ellington replied, referring to the 2005 guard committed to UNC. "He's a real tough player."

From Clint Jackson's Notebook –

Ellington was nice. Smooth wing guard with slick handles. Nicely navigated through traffic. Shoots it well, form was nice. Range was good.

Good size for his age for his position. Seemed to play with good intensity. Smart, savvy player who could lead the offense if needed. Makes others around him better. Quick hands and feet.

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