NBA Combine Media Availability Interviews May 29, 2009
[Read Full Article] Situational Statistics: This Year's Shooting Guard Crop April 27, 2009 ēWayne Ellington had a unique opportunity to play on a college team that is as similar to an NBA team in terms of role dispersal and talent as you'll find in the NCAA.
Amongst the top-10 college shooting guards we looked at, only Terrence Williams had fewer possessions to work with. The difference was as much as 50% compared to some prospects, who obviously had to shoulder much bigger offensive loads on far less talented teams. With that in mind, Ellington indeed ended up being one of the most efficient shooting guards in this draft, ranking first in field goal percentage (48%) and third in points per possession (1.04).
Because of how well Ellington was able to pick and choose his spots, he ends up looking excellent in a host of different categories. He for example ranks 3rd in his ability to finish around the basket, behind James Harden and Jermaine Taylor, 3rd in catch and shoot jumpers, behind K.C. Rivers and Jack McClinton, third in pull-up jumpers, behind Jack McClinton and Jodie Meeks and first in points per possession in transition opportunities.
Ellington's short-comings lie in his inability to create offense for himself, as he ranks third worst in isolation possessions generated behind two very poor ball-handlers in Paul Harris and K.C. Rivers, and his very related inability to draw fouls--which he did on just 9% of his used possessions. Ellington is obviously a finesse player who needs plays run for him in the half-court in order to be most effective, which means he'll definitely need to find the right situation in the NBA. Teams should not discount the skill-level he brings to the table as a pure scorer, though, as its clear that he wasn't such a highly regarded player coming out of high school for nothing. [Read Full Article] Blogging through the Final Four (Part Two) April 6, 2009 Wayne Ellington got off to about as good a start as you could hope for in the first half, similarly to the way he played in the first half against Villanova. He did an outstanding job coming off screens, showing his ability to make spot-up 3ís with his feet set effectively as well as come off long staggers for difficult catch and shoot opportunities.
He again looked somewhat limited off the dribble due to his underwhelming athleticism, struggling to finish around the rim at times, and again getting to the free throw line just twice. His mid-range game was a phenomenal weapon once again, making shots with his trademark smooth pull-up, and also finding his way in the lane for floaters and short jumpers just outside the paint. He even showed a bit of versatility posting up the much smaller Kalin Lucas on one possession, which is how he managed to get to the free throw line for his lone attempts, his only points of the second half.
Ellington was largely neutralized in the second half by Michigan Stateís defense and his own disappearanceósomething that has been an issue for him throughout his career at Chapel Hill. When things are going well, heís a key cog and usually outstanding, but when they arenít, heís typically nowhere to be found. Defensively, to his credit, he had a solid showing, looking as solid and intense as the rest of his teammates, which was very important to this win. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/15/09 March 15, 2009 With UNC wrapping up another ACC regular season title and a number one seeding in the NCAA tournament, it appears as if the Tar Heels are ready to make another run at the Final Four. While Tyler Hansbrough gets much of the publicity and Ty Lawson is credited with leading the team, Wayne Ellington may very well be their most talented player, and is quietly putting together another solid season.
Ellington is as smooth as they come, as he possesses a finesse game with a sweet looking stroke and a great ability to score in a variety of ways. He entered college as strictly a jump shooter, and his strength still lies in his ability to catch and shoot, but he has certainly become more of a complete player. Heís particularly improved over the past couple of seasons scoring off the dribble.
Ellington is not terribly explosive off the bounce, but he does a good job of getting in the lane by covering a lot of ground with one or two dribbles. Heís also incorporated a little shake in his game, and is finishing at the rim at a good rate of 58.25% according to Synergy Sports Technology. He is an extraordinary talented player, as there arenít too many things he canít do on the offensive end. Although not an incredible athlete, he is fundamentally sound as he has great shooting mechanics, displays good footwork, and he takes care of the basketball Ė sporting a very solid 1.59 A/TO ratio.
Despite that, the few flaws that he has are definitely holding him back. Heís still not getting to the free throw line at a great rate (3.6 FTA per-40 pace adjusted) which is a result of his tendency to avoid contact by fading away and is also a result of his reliability on his pull-up fade away jumper. He showed great improvement in this area last season and now it appears as if heís a bit too comfortable and has fallen in love with it too much.
Furthermore, he tends to fade away and disappear throughout the course of a game as well. He will go several possessions without touching the ball and itís easy to forget that heís even on the court at times. Part of this is due to Carolinaís emphasis on pounding the ball inside in the half court, but a greater majority falls on Ellington himself. Heís almost content with being a role player when in fact he should be demanding the ball late in games with his skill set. He has the ability to explode for big performances, particularly against up-tempo teams with who donít defend particularly well (25 points vs. Clemson, 34 points vs. Maryland) but more often than not he is not someone that leaves an overwhelming impression after games.
Defensively, Ellington leaves a lot to be desired. Heís not someone that you would ever call a scrapper and doesnít really cause havoc on this end of the court. He doesnít have an overly impressive wingspan (6-7) and his lateral quickness could use some work. He gets exposed when isolated on the perimeter against a quicker player, but struggles perhaps even more when chasing an opposing guard through screens. He must improve greatly here for his stock to have any chance at rising. The tournament will be a great chance for him to change the perception that many have of him.
The NCAAís will also be a good opportunity for Ellington to erase the memory of his poor performance last summer at the pre-draft workouts. He was overmatched by a strong draft class and his lack of size and athleticism was concerningómaking many to wonder if heís a product of North Carolinaís extremely up-tempo system. Coming into this season, scouts were looking for big improvements but that has not been the case, as his numbers are eerily similar to last seasonís marks. Ellingtonís uniform production could cost him a first round selectionóhe surely isnít there right now. Since he already burned his draft card last June, heíll be in to stay if he decides to put his name in again this time around.
With that in mind and with the upcoming departures of Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Danny Green to the NBA, Ellington could be best suited staying in school for his senior year. With a strong incoming class, and the anticipated emergence of soon to be sophomoreís Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller, Ellington will be the star of a team surrounded with talent. He will have a chance to be a number one option and the opportunity to show his true talent. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part Two: #6-10) October 12, 2008 Even following an ugly loss to eventual national champs Kansas, UNC shooting guard Wayne Ellington entered last yearís draft as a borderline first rounder. He was invited to the Orlando Pre-Draft camp, only to learn that he was very far from being ready for the next level, and decided to return to Chapel Hill for his junior season after seeing his draft stock take a significant hit.
UNC returns almost all of its talent from last seasonís Final Four team and, draft conversation aside, Ellington is going to have a tremendous role and with much national exposure. If he can improve upon his averages of 16.6 ppg (46.7% FG, 40% 3FG, 82.6% FT), 4.5 rpg, 2.0 apg (1.7 TOpg), and 1.1 spg, next season will likely be his final college season.
Ellington measured 6í4.75 in shoes and weighed 194 pounds at the Pre-Draft camp. Despite the fact that he showcased a 34-inch vertical leap, he did not test out particularly well in agility and sprint drills. This data supports our previous assertion that Ellington is a good, not great, athlete, with room to improve physically. His frame is quite slight and because he doesnít possess outstanding size or a particularly impressive wingspan for an NBA shooting guard, he should work to get stronger in order to compensate. Though he is not overly explosive around the basket, Ellington is, as we have said before, a fluid athlete, and impressive in the open floor in transition.
Ellingtonís most significant improvement last season was on the offensive end. During his freshman season, he had a reputation for shaky shot selection. Last year, however, he reduced the number of bad shots he took, instead picking up a variety of tricks, particularly in his midrange game, in order to find open looks. Pull-up jumpers are the most visible additions to his offensive arsenal, as he showed the ability on multiple occasions, against all types of competition, to stop on a dime and get his shot off.
His ball handling could still use some work and he certainly needs to work on this aspect of his game, but his improvements as a scorer have been impressive and, should they continue to improve, could help propel his stock back to where it once was next year. His bread and butter, however, is still his jump-shooting. While his three point shooting percentage fell during the second half of the season from when we last wrote about him, he still finished the year strong shooting 40% from the field, good for 23rd among NCAA shooting guards. His shooting stroke is still very good and his shot has a high arc that makes it difficult to block, despite the fact that he is slightly undersized.
One area in which he should continue to improve on the offensive end is in his slashing game. He showed a nice first step last season, and he attacked the basket with more assertiveness, but he should look to take the ball to the basket harder and more often. While his slight frame makes it difficult for him to absorb contact around the basket, he shows very nice touch around the basket and the intelligence and versatility to score in different ways. Working on developing his left hand may also be a factor here, as he drives right almost 20% more of the time than he drives left, according to Synergy Sports Technology.
Defensively, itís the same old story for Ellington. While he certainly has the physical profile to be a solid defender at this level, he continued to underperform last year. The issue seems to be focus, as he frequently gets lost through screens and on switches. Even when heís face guarding his man, he runs into trouble allowing too much distance between and often lets his man get a shot off in his face. His lateral quickness and athletic ability are simply too good for him to be such a mediocre defender at this level and he shows a lot of flashes. This area in particular could be the deciding factor in terms of his draft position next year.
Ellington improved last season, but its up to him to continue to work on his consistency and focus. He already possesses one of the best offensive arsenals in the ACC, and considering how well he embraced his role last year, there is no reason to think that he will continue to improve both in terms of his offensive game and on the draft board. The Tar Heels are expected to contend for the National Championship yet again, and with the cameras rolling, Wayne Ellington is going to have every opportunity in the world to prove himself as an NBA player. [Read Full Article] NBA Pre-Draft Camp, Day Three May 30, 2008 Wayne Ellington bounced back in a big way after his disastrous performance yesterday, starting off extremely hot on his way to a 7-13, 17 point outing in 20 minutes. His shot simply fell for him at a much better clip, as he did a great job moving off screens and being aggressive using fakes and utilizing his strong one-dribble pull-up. On the negative side, he again did not look very good putting the ball on the floor and making his way to the rim, not standing out that much in terms of his size, quickness, toughness at the rim or ball-handling skills. He still needs to have a strong showing in the last day of the camp if heís truly serious about making a run at the late first round. [Read Full Article] NBA Pre-Draft Camp, Day Two May 29, 2008 The second game was fairly weak as far as big time draft prospects were concerned. The most intriguing story might have been the incredibly poor play of North Carolina shooting guard Wayne Ellingtonóprojected by some as a first round pick, but looking like anything but one from what we've seen in the first two days so far. Ellington was 1 of 8 from the field until the game was pretty much over with two minutes left and he managed to make his boxscore look somewhat respectable with two garbage-time baskets. He forced a number of shots badly, dribbled the ball off his foot on his way to 6 painful turnovers, played poor defense and did not grab even a single rebound in 27 minutes. He finished the game with 8 points, and is looking like he'll be on the first plane back to Chapel Hill to kick off his junior season once this camp is over unless he can turn things around in a major way. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 12/12/2007 -- Part One December 12, 2007 Evaluating his progress from last year to the early portion of this season so far, itís hard not to be impressed by the way Wayne Ellington has started out. Heís putting up outstanding stats in a very efficient manner playing for the #1 ranked team in the country, and is doing so against fairly strong competition as far as out of conference schedules go.
Looking at the player Ellington was as a freshman, there were a number of areas we hoped to see progress in going into his sophomore season. His shot selection is probably the one that has improved the most, as his sparkling 49.5% average from the field and 47.4% from behind the 3-point line would indicate. Itís not just his numbers that stand out, though, itís the way heís getting them, looking more and more like an NBA 2-guard with every day that passes seemingly.
Ellington has been super aggressive looking for his own shot, without showing much of the impatience offensively that plagued him last year. He turns the ball over less than once per game in nearly 30 minutes, a real testament to his basketball IQ and under control nature. His work in the mid-range area has been nothing short of spectacular, showing impressive offensive skills and terrific fluidity utilizing jukes and fakes to keep his man off balance, before creating sharp separation from his man with a beautiful pull-up jumper. He only needs a glimpse of daylight in order to get his shot off, and once he gets into a rhythm he becomes incredibly difficult to contain, even able to knock down these pull-up jumpers with range extending past the NCAA 3-point line.
He both creates for himself and is a deadly target running off screens in North Carolinaís set offense, sprinting extremely hard and never giving his match-up any idea whether he will elevate immediately after the catch or put the ball on the floor fluidly and then go up for his shot. Heís stolen quite a few moves from some of the all-time greats in this part of the game, for example the classic Michael Jordan crossover plus step-back, or Kobeís off balance fade-away after leaning in with his body to first create space from his defender.
On the downside, Ellington is still very much a work in progress in some key parts of his game that were previously evaluated as weaknesses. His lack of strength hurts him both in terms of finishing at the rim, and getting through ball-screens on the defensive end. Ellington still doesnít get to the free throw line at a very high rateótaking one attempt from the charity stripe every 15 minutes last season, and every 11 minutes in this current campaign. Improving his left hand and his all-around ball-handling skills will clearly help him here, since he has a pretty nice first step from what we can see taking advantage of off balance defenses. Rarely will you see him create his own shot from the wing and take his man all the way to the hole for a strong finish, something that is a staple in the games of most high-level NBA 2-guards.
Defensively, weíve seen a clear lack of focus fairly often from him, getting beat off the dribble by players he has no business being beat by, and losing track of where his man is and thus busting up his teamís entire half-court defense. This is an area he must improve on if he wants to establish himself as a top-tier shooting guard prospect by the time he decides heís ready to leave school.
So far, Ellingtonís game seems to be coming around nicely, and there is a lot to like here as far as the NBA is concerned. Weíll continue to monitor his play leading into the ACC season, and it will likely ultimately be his play in March that ends up deciding what his plans are for next season. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part One: #6-#10) September 28, 2007 Widely considered the #1 shooting guard prospect in his high school class, Wayne Ellington had a solid, but unspectacular freshman season that left most pundits looking for a bit more going into his sophomore year. Ellingtonís appeal as a prospect for both the collegiate and NBA level is quite obvious when watching him playóheís a scorer through and through, blessed with awesome instincts to put the ball in the net and as aggressive a mentality as youíll find from a wing this age.
A good, but not incredible athlete, Ellington is an extremely fluid player who possesses a nice first step and solid all-around quickness. Heís not terribly explosive getting into the paint and finishing around the rim, relying on smooth finesse moves and being extremely crafty using the glass, but possibly lacking some strength and leaping ability to play above the rim.
Ellingtonís bread and butter from what heís shown so far revolves around his ability to shoot the ball. 70% of his offense (according to Synergy Sports Technology) in fact came in the form of jumpers, getting to the free throw line only 1.6 times per game. He did shoot 37% from behind the arc, though, showing a very nice high-arching jumper that he has no conscience utilizing both in spot-up, or off the dribble situations. His mid-range game in particular shows great promise. Whatís scary about Ellington is that his perimeter shooting ability actually has much more potential than he was able to show as a freshman, as he has plenty of room for improvement on his footwork and body control while releasing his jumper, having a tendency to rush his shots at times and release the ball off-balance without being completely set.
This didnít hamper him from trying to establish himself as North Carolinaís go-to guy, indeed leading the team in shots per minute, and not by a narrow margin. Ellingtonís shot-selection is something he must improve on moving forward in his college career, as he has a tendency to focus too heavily on his own offense, taking bad shots early in possessions, despite only being a freshman on arguably the most loaded team in the country.
Although he showed potential putting the ball on the floor from all over the court, Ellington could still stand to improve his slashing game. His left hand is almost non-existent, both driving and finishing, and youíd see defenses adjusting to this as the season goes on to make him more and more one dimensional.
Ellington could also stand to improve his defense, as he is already at a disadvantage as far as NBA scouts are concerned considering his height. He puts in a decent effort, but lacks fundamentals on this end, getting beat off the dribble too often and clearly struggling getting around ball-screens. This could very well end up being a deciding factor in how good of a prospect he is judged to be by the time heís done with college basketballówill he project as an instant offense type to bring off the bench? Or possibly more than that if he expands his game. Playing at North Carolina, heíll be in a great situation to prove himself, as heíll be under the spotlight at all times. [Read Full Article] High School Allstar Games Recap: Player Interviews April 25, 2006 Wayne Ellington:
Yeah, you know, I just got in the zone. I knocked down the first one, and it felt good, so I knew I had a couple more coming. Thatís just how it goes with me, if I knock down 1 or 2 in a row, than thereís going to be a couple more coming. I got hot, and the coaches just kept calling plays for me, and I was getting wide open, and I was knocking it down.
Local Reporter: How about you and Gerald, was it like you were playing ball back in high school?
Wayne Ellington: Yeah. We donít even do it purposely, we donít talk about our games, it just happens. Weíve played with each other for three years now, so itís just natural, we kind of have a sense for each other, and how weíre going to play, so that just happened naturally. We look for each other and find each other.
Question: The International guys came out early and jumped to a big lead, was this at all shocking to you?
Wayne Ellington: No, I wasnít shocked at all. Coach emphasized that all week. He told us they were going to get the ball up the floor, get out in transition, and they can shoot the ball very well, so when they came out and did that, we had a reality check. We had to check ourselves, and put our foot down, and play some defense, get back, and start to execute on offense.
Question: Did you get a sense early on that this was going to turn into more of a guard driven perimeter game?
Wayne Ellington: Well coach emphasized also that it starts with his guards all week, so we knew we had to come out and do a job on their guards, and stop them offensively, and us offensively got to get to the basket, and make some plays. Thatís what we started to do.
DraftExpress: Did you find any particular part of the international rules hard to adjust to?
Wayne Ellington: No, not for me, because I played in the USA festival back in June, so I was kind of use to it. Itís hard to adjust to when you first start out, but personally I was used to it.
What are your thoughts on playing with your future Tar Heel teammates in this game, and do you think youíve already developed chemistry with them?
Wayne Ellington: We was just out there having fun. I think next year weíre going to have more fun. I think we have a lot to bring to the table, and we all just know how to play the game. We understand the game, thatís the most important thing. I think next year the ACC is going to be very tough with a lot of great freshman coming in, along with the guys that are already there, so I think itís going to be a big year next year.
DraftExpress: What do you think your role is going to be from the beginning at North Carolina?
Wayne Ellington: Just to contribute in any way. Coach told me he wants me to come in, put some points on the board, and contribute, so thatís what Iím going to try to do. [Read Full Article] At the Jordan Classic: Main Event and Regional Game Recaps April 24, 2006 Wayne Ellington showed off some versatile scoring in this game, despite only having 11 at the final count. Ellington displayed his range, pulling up for an NBA three-pointer early in the game and easily making it. He missed one other three in the game, but also hit a very deep two-pointer. He missed some other pull-up shots from inside the arc as well. Ellington also got into the lane today, driving to the basket and finishing in a variety of ways. He banked a shot off the glass on one play, used an up-and-under move to fake his man on another, and got fouled hard before laying it in on yet a third. Ellington didnít really contribute in any areas other than scoring, and this may be something he should work on heading into college. What is he going to bring to a team when his shot isnít falling? He could use another skill that he could consistently rely on to contribute. Regardless, he remains an excellent college prospect. [Read Full Article] At the Jordan Classic: Friday Scrimmage April 22, 2006 Wayne Ellington had a pretty solid game, showing off the impressive range and form on his jump-shot, to go along with some ball-handling abilities that helped in creating his shot. Ellington hit two threes off the dribble in the game, one of which bordered on being from NBA range. He also missed a spot-up attempt from three, but had nice form throughout, and was constantly in motion without the ball. Ellington showed off his ball-handling most of the game, using a variety of moves and the ability to dribble with both hands, though he rarely used his handling to get past his man. On the few attempts where he did attack the hole, he was unable to finish. He did have a nice finish in transition, though, which he laid in with a finger roll. [Read Full Article] 2006 Nike Hoop Summit Game Recap April 10, 2006 As stated by DraftExpress in the Hoop Summit preview, this was the perfect type of game for Ellington to go off for a huge night. Team USA trailed by one point after the first quarter, and then Wayne and his high school teammate Gerald Henderson took over, scoring 24 of their teamís 31 second quarter points. Ellington finished the first half with 21 points. His natural scoring abilities were on display all night, making shots off the dribble from all over the court, and pulling up from the three point line. Ellington also drew contact a few times inside, and controlled his body well enough to get the hoop plus the foul. On one possession, he displayed quick hands on the defensive end, getting the steal, but missed the layup which was put back by a teammate. Ellington ended up tying his future teammate Tyler Hansbroughís record for team USA scoring. As impressive as his scoring was the ability to create for others that many people hadnít seen out of him before. On a few occasions Ellington drew the help defender in the lane and dished it to the open man. In terms of his NBA potential, Ellington will need to improve his defense, and continue contributing by doing the little things on the court. He lacks ideal size for an NBA 2 guard, which may hurt him down the road, but showed promise with the way he finished around the hoop throughout the week. Wayneís display of shooting was very impressive, and he could be very dangerous on any given night for the Tar Heels, where he can step in and concentrate on scoring. [Read Full Article] 2006 McDonald's All-American Game, individual player breakdown March 30, 2006 Ellington, hyped up as the nationís best shooting guard, didnít live up to the billing in the McDonalds game. His 3 point shot wasnít falling, and though he has a nice looking shot, there is a weird side-spin on it with the way he releases the ball. Ellington also didnít look too impressive taking the ball to the basket either, and his defense was lacking. He appears to be severely undersized for a shooting guard, and has proven to be very streaky throughout his high school career. This season, he wasnít even the best prospect on his own team, despite what the recruiting rankings will tell you. Ellingtonís high school teammate Gerald Henderson has broken out as a much more consistent player this season, and even stole the show at the McDonalds game. North Carolina will be a good situation for Ellington, where he can shine when heís on, and let his teammates take over when things arenít going his way. He will really benefit from having teammates can create, which will create a situation where Ellington can use his natural scoring abilities that heís known for. [Read Full Article]