Wally's World

While being a contributor for Eau Claire Memorial during his freshman year, Wally Ellenson needed a change. That gutsy move has allowed the talented guard to find his niche in the backcourt for Rice Lake, the Wisconsin Playground Warriors and get early looks on the recruiting front.

RICE LAKE, Wis. - Sometimes a change will do a person good. Wally Ellenson was doing fine at Eau Claire Memorial, averaging 10.1 points per game as a freshman, but it wasn't the best for his psyche and his development.

"It just wasn't working out too well," he admitted.

Citing a move that was part family and part necessity, Ellenson found a new home in a familiar setting, putting him in a comfort level that has reflected in his play. Averaging a team-best 14.8 points per game for Rice Lake High, a town he was born and grew up in, Ellenson has turned from troubled guard to relaxed leader.

"It was different moving schools, but it was fun with a good group of guys," Ellenson told Badger Nation. "The move was mostly family, but it wasn't working out too well. I've been really working on my shot lately, and that makes me excited to play with my high school team this summer. My teammates are more fun to hang out with and we've developed a good bond."

The bond Ellenson (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) has forged with his new teammates stems from the close-knit group of the Wisconsin Playground Warriors 16U team, a group that is stack full of talent that has been competing and placing in tournaments since April.

It also helps that Ellenson is playing alongside national recruit J.P. Tokoto and up-and-coming recruits Nick Arenz, Sam Dekker, Bronson Kroenig and Austin Mecca.

"It's an awesome time, just to play with the best kids in Wisconsin and challenge some of the best teams in the nation," Ellenson said. "I have really improved my defense and my shot because you have to be well rounded to play at that level."

Combine the new surroundings with the fact he is a standout high jumper and has added 20 pounds of weight the past year, the sophomore point guard has started to see his recruitment blossom, as well, picking up four scholarship offers and plenty of interest.

"I have been hearing from a lot of coaches," Ellenson said. "Just the other day I called Hampton, Drake, Cal Poly and Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois, Green Bay, Milwaukee and St. Louis have offered me so far. All the coaches have been really nice to me and been keeping in touch."

One of the schools that has started to look at the guard is Wisconsin. Ellenson's father, John, played college basketball at Marquette and Wisconsin and UW's coaching staff has dropped in during the evaluation process to get a closer peak.

"The basketball coaches have asked me to come to their elite camp, but I can't make it this year," Ellenson said. "We have been talking a little bit and they've come to watch our team play. I don't know what the outlook is, but they've seen how I have been growing."

Still in the early stages of his recruitment, Ellenson is cognizant that he has to try to increase his stock by heading to summer basketball camps while balancing his schedule with state track meets.

He's also aware of that although his family has Wisconsin ties, the recruiting process isn't always so cut and dry.

"As a little kid, I grew up liking Wisconsin," Ellenson said. "I hear kids all the time saying that they want to play for the Badgers. I am just keeping my mind open and looking at places all around."


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