With the frontcourt taking shape, Indiana’s transfer portal focus shifts to the backcourt.
One name that emerged over the weekend was Louisville transfer guard El Ellis.
A Durham, N.C. product, Ellis is said to be focused on the NBA Draft as his primary option. In fact, he told 247Sports national analyst Travis Branham that a two-way deal (i.e. hybrid NBA/G-League contract) might be enough to push him towards the pro route.
But Ellis has a whole host of serious suitors at the college level should he choose to stay in school, including IU. Pitt, Rutgers, Seton Hall, UCF, Creighton, Florida State, Utah, Mississippi State, Clemson, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon and Arkansas are some of the other schools that have reached out.
The 6-foot-3 Ellis averaged 17.7 points, 4.4 assists and 2.6 rebounds this past season. The best producer on a bad team, Ellis played 89.9% of the possible minutes in the season, the second-highest utilization rate in Louisville program history.
Despite Louisville’s abysmal 4-28 season, Ellis was named All-ACC Honorable Mention, just four voter points shy of being named to Third Team.
From an advanced metrics standpoint, Ellis was not surprisingly the focus of Louisville’s offense, putting up 30.1 percent of the shots when he was on the floor (No. 72 nationally), and his 29.9 percent usage rate was No. 47 in the country. Ellis draws a lot of fouls (4.9 per 40) and converts at the stripe (81 percent). Ellis’ assist rate of 30.8 percent was also No. 60 nationally.
The big question with Ellis is whether he can regain his shooting touch from long distance. He shot 31.9 percent from three on 185 attempts in 2022-23, 36 percent on 114 attempts in 2021-22, and 41.7 percent on 132 attempts in his final year of junior college. It’s worth noting Ellis shot threes best against KenPom top-50 competition while at Louisville — 37.8 percent over 19 games vs. 33.4 percent overall.
As a junior at Louisville in 2021-22, Ellis 20.5 minutes of action per game in mostly a reserve role. He started nine games, including six of the last nine.
In junior college, Ellis averaged 17.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds while connecting on 55-of-132 three-pointers (.417) and 75.9 percent of his free throws (85-of-112) in leading Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College to a 19-3 record in 2020-21.
Probably best described as a combo-guard, Ellis has demonstrated good instincts in the pick-and-roll game, something that makes him a good fit for Mike Woodson’s offensive system at Indiana.
Before moving to junior college, Ellis scored 2,382 career points at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C. He averaged 16.7 points, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals as a senior.
For a complete look at Indiana’s offseason roster activity, scholarship chart, portal prospects and all of the change in the Big Ten, GO HERE:
IU basketball/Big Ten roster tracker: departures, additions and prospects (updated 4/11)
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