Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By MATTHEW WEITZEL
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Brady Ellingson is more than a sharp-shooting guard for the University of Iowa men’s basketball team.
At the midway point of the season, the sophomore is averaging 5.6 points and 15 minutes per game off the bench. He is shooting at a 58 percent clip from the field, including a Big Ten-best 57 percent from 3-point range. Ellingson credits his improvement to repetition and confidence.
“I’ve taken better shots this year,” said Ellingson. “When I’m at practice or on my own in the gym, I try to replicate game situations and shoot every shot like I am shooting in a game.”
Not only is the native of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, scoring via the 3-ball, but he is scoring near the basket and earning more trips to the free throw line this year. He is taking advantage of in a big way from the line, making all 16 of his attempts.
“I’m trying to mix it up and attack the paint more to make the defense stay honest,” said Ellingson.
Ellingson’s teammates have noticed the added elements of his game.
“He’s had success recently and when you’re a shooter and you see the ball go in a few times it makes you more confident that you’re going to make the next shot,” said classmate Nicholas Baer. “Brady is more than just a shooter, he makes plays off the dribble for people, he is smart, and is a heady player.”
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery has been pleased with Ellingson’s growth, not just offensively, but defensively as well.
“Brady has been terrific since the start of the season,” McCaffery said. “He has continued to develop and it’s great to see.
“He plays the game at his pace. He moves without the ball, he shoots when he’s open, he moves the ball to open people when he’s covered, and he is playing good defense. He has taken his defense to another level. I’m proud of him.”
Ellingson worked on defense in the offseason and the additional minutes of playing time this season have helped him develop.
“I worked on my athleticism: getting a better feel for how to play off the ball and defensive rotations,” said Ellingson. “That comes with having more repetitions and playing more.”
Off the court, Ellingson is an enterprise leadership major and rooms with Baer. Both Baer and Ellingson redshirted their freshmen year in 2014-15, becoming good friends in the process.
“Our freshman year we both sat at the end of the bench in our suits, talking and cheering on teammates,” Ellingson said.
“We built chemistry through being on the scout team and playing together every day,” said Baer. “I was happy to go through that with him. Off the court, Brady is a genuine friend. He’s been a roommate for two years and I’ve gotten to know him well.”
Iowa returns to action today when the Hawkeyes entertain Rutgers at 3:36 p.m. (CT) on Medicacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Purchase your tickets here: hawkeyesports.com/tickets.