Bio: Redshirt Sophomore 6'4" 193 LBS (Sussex, WI)
Last Season: 2.8 ppg (27.3 3FG%)
What We Saw Last Season
Not a lot, frankly. Ellingson scored 75 points total last season -- and almost one-third of those points came in a 20-point effort against Coppin State, in Iowa's second game of the season. That performance, unfortunately, was not a precursor to more success for Ellingson. He played limited minutes all season and those minutes only got more limited in Big Ten play -- he played a total of 91 minutes in league games and didn't play at all in five of Iowa's last six Big Ten games.
Ellingson's playing time was (and likely still is) tied to his proficiency shooting from 3-point range -- and he wasn't very proficient last year. He hoisted 44 attempts from deep last year, but made just 12 of them (nearly half -- five -- came in that aforementioned Coppin State game). Unlike Josh Oglesby, another oft-misfiring long-range shooter who also provided fairly decent defense and passing when his shot wasn't falling, Ellingson doesn't contribute in a lot of other ways if his shot isn't falling.
What We Need To See This Season
Ellingson's situation this year figures to be very similar to his situation last year: if he can make 3s, he'll play. If he can't, he's likely to spend most of the season cheering on his teammates from the bench. He'll get opportunities early on to show if he can finally translate his 3-point shooting prowess in practice (like Oglesby, he's reportedly a dead-eye shooter in practice, per Fran and his teammates) to game action. Outside of Jok, Iowa's going to be searching for consistent threats from outside; if Ellingson can be one, more power to him. But it comes down to those long range bombs: he probably needs to be draining at them at a clip of 35% or so to get regular playing time for Iowa this year.
Best Case Scenario
Things finally click for Ellingson from deep and he becomes the long-range gunner Iowa's craved for years. He establishes himself as one of Iowa's first players off the bench, plays around 15 minutes a game, and makes 40% of his threes. That, coupled with Jok's long range prowess (and maybe the emergence of 1-2 other proficient shooters from deep), means that Iowa's offense finally has good spacing, which leads to a much-improved half-court offense and one of the deadliest offenses in the Big Ten.
Most Likely Scenario
I don't think Ellingson will make just 27% of his 3-pointers again. But I'm also not convinced that he's going to play notable minutes for Iowa this year, either. Iowa has a host of options in the back court between Jok, Ellingson, Christian Williams, Isaiah Moss, and freshmen Maishe Dailey and Jordan Bohannon; if Ellingson struggles from deep again, I can see Fran & Co. turning to other players back there. I think Ellingson will play around 8-10 minutes a game and score around 5.0 ppg while converting around 30-35% of his three-point attempts. The question is: will that be enough for the Iowa offense to succeed this year?
Ellingson will probably have 1-2 games this year where his shot is really clicking and he just buries several threes. It would be really nice if he could manage to have one of those games against his home state team, Wisconsin, and help Iowa upset the Badgers. That would be really swell.