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Marquette Basketball: The Case For Henry Ellenson To Stay In School

If the freshman forward elects to return to Marquette for his sophomore season, these are the reasons why.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

1) Henry Ellenson Really Wants To Play A Second Season With His Older Brother, Wally.

Wally Ellenson will insist that he told his younger brother to make the best college decision for him, and not to think about playing together.

That probably didn't happen.

While playing in Wisconsin, playing for Steve Wojciechowski, playing in the Big East, and being the immediate star on a talent starved team were probably all bigger components in Henry Ellenson's decision to play for Marquette, at least part of the younger Ellenson's decision hinged on joining the team that his older brother had joined a few months earlier.

Wally Ellenson will play his final season of basketball eligibility in 2016-17.  If playing with his brother as much as possible before becoming a pro is more important than anything else to Henry Ellenson, then he'll get that opportunity by returning to Marquette for his sophomore season.

2) A Deeper 2017 NBA Draft Could Mean Being Drafted By A More Successful Team.

In our case for Henry Ellenson to declare for the draft, we pointed out that the 2017 draft will likely be laden with more talent than the 2016 draft.  Players that are already believe to be better than Ellenson means he slides down the draft order, which would be bad for his bank account.

There is, however, a benefit to sliding down the draft.  Would you rather start your NBA career playing for the team that was the 9th worst in the league last year, or would you prefer to go #22 in the draft, which would be the eighth best team during the previous season?  Sure, the paychecks are half as much when you fall that far down, but by going to a better team, you're not going to be expected to be a major player immediately and you can work your way up to NBA speed and strength, too.

The risk involved there, of course, is that a team like the Sixers has made a trade with someone that results in them holding the #22 pick, which is the case right now for the 2016 draft with Philly holding on to Oklahoma City's pick.

3)  The NBA And The NBA Players' Association Could Change The Rookie Pay Scale.

This part is going to get super-technical, so let's all grab some bourbon and work through it together.

In 2011, the NBA had a lockout.  The new collective bargaining agreement that was put into place as a result of that lockout expires after the 2020-21 season, but both the NBA and the NBA Players' Association can choose to opt out of the CBA following the 2016-17 season.  We won't know if there will be an opt out for a while, though, as the deadline for the opt-out is December 16, 2016.

With that said, it's probably in the players' best interest to opt out.  In 2014, nearly three years after the players agreed to the new CBA, the NBA signed a new television contract with ESPN and Turner Sports worth $24 billion over nine years.  To give you some context, the new deal will result in both TV partners paying the league nearly three times more than they are currently paying the NBA for the rights to broadcast the league's games.

Player salaries are directly tied to "Basketball Related Income," which obviously includes TV rights.  That's why that you've heard so much about the increasing salary cap, especially if you were following the saga of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena.  The cap is increasing purely based on the percentage of BRI that is scheduled to go to the players as a result of the CBA.  However, with three times as much TV money flowing into the league's coffers, you can see how the players might be interested in opting out of the CBA in order to negotiate a higher percentage of BRI being assigned to player salaries.

Got all that?  Ok.  Well, while the league is probably not interested in altering the rookie pay scale system that's locked in place, a new CBA could result in a higher amount of money being assigned to rookie contracts starting with the 2017-18 season.  It's possible - this is just a theory - that a rookie contract for the 2017 #10 pick could be worth more, maybe a lot more, than a second year contract for the 2016 #10 pick.  If that's the case, staying in school for a year could end up netting Henry Ellenson more money in his first year than leaving after his freshman year would have gotten him.

That would be gambling on that opt-out happening, though.

4) Everyone Else Is Coming Back For The 2016-17 Season.

Well, almost everyone else.  Michael Mache was the only senior on the Marquette roster for 2015-16.  While he may have deserved the half a season of a scholarship that Wojo gave him over winter break, he played 10 minutes this season and scored one point.  For the purposes of what Marquette will look like on the floor next year, everyone is scheduled to come back.

If Henry Ellenson believes that this team was showing progress as a unit, and that they can do some major damage as a result of the obvious cohesion from bringing back (almost) every single point that was scored this season, then you can see how he would want to roll the dice on a Big East championship or more in March of 2017.

The returning players includes Andrew Rowsey, the transfer from UNC-Asheville who sat out this past season due to NCAA rules.  When Marquette's season ended, Rowsey immediately became the player on the MU roster with the most collegiate points, as he totaled 1,244 points in his two seasons at UNC-Asheville.  The next best guy on MU's roster?  Duane Wilson, with 764 career college points.

Rowsey's a known quantity for Ellenson to make a decision about rolling with this squad for a second season.  I'm guessing that he's also familiar with Sam Hauser, the high school senior from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, that will join Marquette in the fall.  Hauser is just a year behind Ellenson in school, so I figure that the two of them have crossed paths once or twice over the years of both high school and AAU games.  As of right now, Hauser is the only freshman that will join the roster for next season, and if Henry stays at Marquette, that leaves just one scholarship open.  If Henry's back, maybe Wojo doesn't fill that last spot, meaning Henry is familiar and friendly with everyone on the team.  That's a pretty decent situation to come back for a run at some trophies.

Curious about the reasons why Henry Ellenson would enter the draft?  We thought you would be, so we took a look at those, too.