bruce ellington

Former South Carolina point guard Bruce Ellington drafted by San Francisco 49ers in NFL Draft

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South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington had a great college career that included leading the Gamecocks on the basketball court as the team’s starting point guard for three-plus seasons while also playing wide receiver for South Carolina in the fall.

Although the 5-foot-9 Ellington was the No. 96 overall prospect for basketball in Rivals.com‘s 2010 national rankings, there aren’t many point guards with that kind of size in the NBA.

So Ellington re-focused his efforts on the gridiron before his final season at South Carolina and the move paid off on Saturday as Ellington was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Ellington was the 106th overall pick.

Leading into Saturday’s third day of the 2014 NFL Draft, ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay had Ellington as the best available prospect on their big boards and Ellington had 49 receptions for 775 yards and eight touchdowns last season for Steve Spurrier’s ballclub. All three marks led South Carolina for the 2013 season and Ellington averaged 15.8 yards per catch.

Ellington’s signature performances on the football field this season included 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a two-overtime win over Missouri and six receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin.

For his football career, Ellington amassed 66 receptions for 1,586 yards and 16 touchdowns.

On the basketball court, Ellington was a key member of the Gamecocks for three seasons as he averaged near double-figures in points during his three full seasons for South Carolina. Ellington saw his production on the court decrease over the course of his career, however, as the point guard focused more of his attention on football.

Ellington averaged 12.8 points per game his freshman season before putting up 10.6 points a game as a sophomore and 9.9 points a game as a junior. Ellington only played 69 minutes of basketball during the 2013-14 season, scoring 17 points, dishing out five assists and grabbing four rebounds.

The NFL Draft has seen college basketball players selected before, but Ellington is expected to be the only player selected in 2014 with significant college hoops experience. That won’t stop NFL teams from trying to find the next Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham, however, as Miami forward Erik Swoope worked out with the Denver Broncos and Kansas big man Tarik Black has received support from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Both Black and Swoope could receive tryouts or a training camp invitation.

Former Washington tight end and Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins also played some college basketball as the 6-foot-6 forward played in 17 games for Lorenzo Romar’s squad during his freshman year in 2011-12.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.