Minnesota landed its first verbal commitment in the 2013 class on Sunday as 6-4 shooting guard Alvin Ellis verbally pledged to attend the Big Ten school.
Ellis, who plays at De La Salle Institute in Chicago, chose the Gophers over Kansas State, Northwestern and Butler according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Minnesota has three seniors (Rodney Williams, Julian Welch and Andre Ingram) and a graduate student (power forward Trevor Mbakwe) on this year’s team, so there is some work to do for Tubby Smith and his staff in regards to the 2013 season.
Just like Iowa verbal commit Peter Jok, Ellis made his decision on the heels of an official visit to Minnesota this weekend.
“Alvin really loved his visit, and he especially got along great with the guys on the team, guys like Austin Hollins (and Andre Hollins),” De La Salle coach Tom White said. “Those players remind him of the players we have here. The Gophers got themselves a really good all-around player. I can’t wait to see him play in the Big Ten next year.”
Ellis was also a member of the Meanstreets AAU program this summer, playing alongside Illinois commit Kendrick Nunn.
In the 16 games Ellis played leading up to the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam he shot 50% from beyond the arc and averaged 7.1 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
In his junior season at De La Salle, Ellis averaged 16 points per game and will likely be even more of a focal point as the Meteors lost three key contributors from last year’s team.
6-8 forward Alex Foster, who was also on a visit to Minnesota this weekend, transferred to Seton Academy while Gavin Schilling is now at Findlay Prep.
And according to De La Salle head coach Tom White, Smith making a trip to the school last week to let Ellis know that he respected him showing loyalty to De La Salle.
“He’s been here a number of times recruiting Alvin over the years,” White said. “Tubby made a big thing last week. The (Chicago Public School teachers) were all on strike. A lot of recruiters weren’t coming around until the kids were back in session. But he specifically came in and saw Alvin Ellis just to let him know how much he respects loyalty.”
While Foster remains uncommitted following the visit, landing the versatile Ellis is a nice starting point in 2013 for the Golden Gophers.