Wally Ellenson leaves Minnesota basketball program to focus on track and field

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After appearing in nine games this season, Minnesota sophomore guard Wally Ellenson has elected to leave the basketball program, the school announced on Tuesday afternoon. Ellenson made this decision in an effort to fully commit to the Golden Gophers’ track and field team.

“We respect Wally’s decision, and wish him, Coach Steve Plasencia and the Gophers track and field team nothing but the best this season,” Minnesota first-year head coach Richard Pitino said in a statement.

The 6-foot-6 Ellenson is a talented high jumper, placing eighth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning first-team All-American honors. In August, he won the gold medal in the high jump at the Pan-American Games, clearing 7-feet, 1-inch.

He was averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per game for Minnesota. That was a slight bump in playing time after averaging 2.0 points in 5.3 minutes per game for Tubby Smith during the 2012-2013 season.