Florida just took a big step in their 2021 recruiting offering El Ellis, a 6’3” point guard who is one of the top JUCO players in the country.
Playing at Tallahassee Community College he lit up one of the best JUCO conferences in the country averaging 14.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.9 rebounds. Not only did he put up great numbers but he did it efficiently shooting 48% from the field and 40% from three. Also reliable at the end of tight games, he hit 85% of his free throws. Effective on both ends of the floor Ellis was also a pest of an on-ball defender whose lightning quick feet allowed him to spearhead his team’s defense.
After dominating as a freshman he’ll be going back to Tallahassee CC for his sophomore season before making the leap to D-1, and after the season he had Ellis is picking up all kinds of offers. Truthfully, at this point it might be quicker to list the high major schools that haven’t offered him than to list the ones that have because right now everyone in the power 6 wants a taste. Louisville, NC State, Arizona State, Oregon, Texas, and Texas Tech are some of the teams that were able to get in on him the earliest but considering he has another year of junior college more offers are going to roll in. Realistically, by the time you read this he’ll have even more major programs that have offered him as more seem to get announced every day.
Hailing from Durham, North Carolina Ellis is from a basketball-rich area and was a successful high school and AAU player before heading to Tallahassee CC. The first Gator coach to make contact with him was assistant Darris Nichols while Ellis was playing for Team Felton on the Adidas Gauntlet and that relationship could be huge while the Gators try to get an edge in his recruitment. When Florida offered Ellis seemed elated, mentioning how good it felt to get recruited by a school of Florida’s caliber, and they should definitely have a shot here.
In offering Ellis the Gators are making it clear they’re trying to get older. Under Mike White Florida has been one of the youngest teams in the country every season and that’s something he’s been looking to change by taking more transfers and now by dipping into the JUCO market, first by landing Osayi Osifo in the 2020 class.
White especially wants to get older at the point guard position. We saw him land a true transfer in Tyree Appleby that will bring experience at the point and in pursuing a junior college lead guard he is clearly looking to continue landing veteran ball handlers.
The reason for this is fairly obvious. Older teams have been running college basketball of late and if there is one position it’s important to be one in, it’s the point guard spot. That player has the ball in his hands more than any other and is faced with the most decision making so experience there can be extremely valuable.
Evaluating point guards out of high school can also be difficult. The first two point guards White recruited to Florida in Eric Hester and Michael Okauru obviously didn’t pan out and while Andrew Nembhard has been a two-year starter the former 5-star was never the exact fit for what White wanted to run. By targeting transfer guards like Appleby and now Ellis you can see what these players truly are at the college level and that can help to ensure production.
Considering the amount of offers El Ellis already has and the certainty that he’s going to receive more will make him tough to land but the Gators should definitely have a chance to land him and his recruitment is a must-watch.