If I had known that publishing a recruiting update on Monday was going start information flowing in like a downpour, I would have been doing one of them weekly.
Yesterday, Matt Heldt committed to Marquette. Today brings the announcement that Wally Ellenson will transfer to Marquette. Ellenson will sit out this season and have two years of eligibility remaining starting with 2015-16.
The 6'6", 210 lb. guard from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, had a less than notable career with Minnesota. He appeared in 18 games for the Gophers, and both of his two seasons were cut short. He missed the first 11 games of his collegiate career with a broken hand and never got into the rotation for head coach Tubby Smith, appearing in 9 games but only playing more than seven minutes on one occasion. Smith was fired following that season, and Ellenson struggled with the rotation for new head coach Richard Pitino. Ellenson elected to leave the team in February to focus on his track and field career.
That's what makes this change for Ellenson so interesting. He finished second in the high jump at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, clearing 7 feet, 4.5 inches, and was an All-American in both of his seasons at Minnesota. While head coach Bert Rogers will assuredly be thrilled to have a national championship contender on the squad at Marquette, it wasn't the most obvious move for Ellenson. Let's be honest: Marquette doesn't have the greatest track and field facilities in the world, although Ellenson's event can easily be worked on indoors with a crash pad and a bar.
One could come to the conclusion that Wally Ellenson made the choice to transfer to Marquette for a bigger reason than his opportunities in the high jump. One could come to the conclusion that Wally Ellenson chose Marquette because Henry Ellenson, Wally's younger yet bigger brother, is at least leaning towards choosing Marquette as his destination to play college basketball. ESPN considers Henry to be the fifth best player in the class of 2015, and were he to choose Marquette, Wally and Henry would be able to play together for two seasons.
Wally Ellenson takes up Marquette's final scholarship for the 2014-15 season. That leaves MU with only 10 active players until Luke Fischer becomes eligible in December with both Ellenson and Gabe Levin sitting out due to transfer restrictions. It also leaves head coach Steve Wojciechowski two scholarships for the fall of 2015, although the tide certainly seems as if one of those will eventually be taken up by Henry Ellenson...