Ellis is the first to commit to the Gophers 2013 class.
Alvin Ellis, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior shooting guard from Chicago (IL) DeLaSalle, committed to Minnesota Sunday morning after making his official visit this weekend. Ellis, who is one of the top players in a loaded Class of 2013 from Illinois, is the first commitment for the Golden Gophers. GopherHole.com caught up with Ellis to learn the latest on his decision.
Ellis led the Meteors to a 17-7 mark last season, losing to Bogan in the Class 4A Mount Carmel regional title game 79-63, despite his finishing with a career-high 42 points.
Ellis will take a bigger role this season as former teammates Gavin Schilling transferred to Findlay Prep and Alex Foster to Seton. Both of those have made official visits to Minnesota. DeLaSalle also will be without Jaylon Tate who transferred to Simeon and Demarcus Richardson, who is now at Curie.
Gopher Hole: What was the main reason you committed to Minnesota?
Alvin Ellis: I just thought that Coach Tubby (Smith) and the coaching staff were the type of coaches that could help me develop as a player and a person.
Gopher Hole: Were you surprised that you committed so early? Your dad had mentioned about visiting Northwestern, Kansas State and Wichita State. Were you even planning on committing so soon or did it just feel right at the right time?
Alvin Ellis: I really didn’t plan on it. It just felt right at the right time.
Gopher Hole: What has the reaction been with your family and friends been since you made the decision?
Alvin Ellis: Everyone has been proud of me. Some people have been shocked and just surprised, but everyone has supported me and they are happy for me.
Gopher Hole: Did you call some of the others schools that were recruiting you like Northwestern, Kansas State and Wichita State to let them know that you had made your decision?
Alvin Ellis: Yes, I have. I talked to those schools and let them know that I had made my decision. They were okay with it because it had to happen sometime.
Gopher Hole: The Gophers are recruiting your former teammates Gavin Schilling and Alex Foster. Have you talked to them since you committed?
Alvin Ellis: No, I haven’t talked to them yet. I might talk to them later on to see how they feel about it, but at the end of the day, it is their decision.
Gopher Hole: Would you try to recruit them a little bit to get them to go with you?
Alvin Ellis: Yes, I would. That would be cool playing with each other again. I know those guys. I might do that.
Gopher Hole: When we talked back in April at the EYBL event, you had high expectations for DeLaSalle with you, Gavin and Alex. Now with Gavin out in Nevada and Alex switching schools, what are the thoughts about the upcoming season?
Alvin Ellis: This season is going to be tough. We are going to need people to step up. We are going to have to see if we can get over the hump.
Gopher Hole: You are going to have to be more of a leader this season. Is that something you are looking forward to?
Alvin Ellis: Yes, that is something that I am looking forward to. I think that I was starting to be the leader last year. That is something that I am looking forward to.
Gopher Hole: Coach Smith said that you reminded him of former Kentucky standout Keith Bogans. Is that something he mentioned to you?
Alvin Ellis: Yes. They had mentioned that to me. I guess that he was a good ball defender and was everywhere on the court and that is what he sees me as.
Gopher Hole: What do you see your role being as a freshman?
Alvin Ellis: I feel that I can be a scorer. A scorer who can dribble. A two who can play the one.
Gopher Hole: What was the highlights of your visit?
Alvin Ellis: The visit went great. I liked the football game a lot. The atmosphere was great.
Gopher Hole: Who was your host?
Alvin Ellis: Andre and Austin Hollins.
Gopher Hole: How was your interaction with your future teammates?
Alvin Ellis: It was really good. They were really cool. I could see myself hanging out with them next year. They were a cool team.
Gopher Hole: Did it make it more special having your parents here with you this weekend?
Alvin Ellis: It didn’t really matter, because I wasn’t really with them a lot
Gopher Hole: Do you feel that you have a little bit of a weight off your shoulders now that you have made your decision and can just concentrate on just improving yourself as a player?
Alvin Ellis: Yes, totally. I just want to finish out my high school career and try to win a state championship.