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Get to know a recruit: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson

The Golden Eagles finished ninth in the Big East last season, but a “big” addition to their program could lead to a huge improvement. Let’s get to know Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the best basketball programs in America wanted Henry Ellenson, but he decided to sign with Marquette back in October of 2014. Now he looks to bring the Golden Eagles back to the NCAA Tournament.

Ellenson, a native of Rice Lake, Wis., went to Rice Lake High School where he put up staggering numbers. The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 27.2 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.8 assists per game as a senior.

During his junior and senior seasons, Ellenson led Rice Lake to the state championship game. After leading his high school to a combine 45-9 record to finish his career, Ellenson received many impressive honors.

He was named a McDonald’s All-American and became the first Golden Eagle to achieve that since Kerry Trotter in 1982. Ellenson was also invited to play in the Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoops Summit, but did not participate due to injury.

Ellenson, along with Diamond Stone, was named Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball. Of course, that made Ellenson a nationally ranked player and ESPN.com had him ranked fifth in the Class of 2015.

After four years at Rice Lake, Ellenson left as the school’s All-Time leading scorer with 2,275 points.

While in high school, Ellenson was named to the 2014 FIBA U17 team for the United States. That team would win the gold medal at the U17 World Championships in Dubai with a 7-0 record.

Ellenson graduated and signed with Marquette and followed in the footsteps of his father and brothers Wally and Ellwood who have all been athletes at the school.

Marquette, in some ways, is lucky to have him as powerhouse programs like Wisconsin, Kentucky, Michigan State and others fought hard for the services of the power forward.

Ellenson’s talent and upside are providing MU fans with optimism that the program has not felt since a Chicago kid named Dwyane Wade decided to sign with Marquette back in 2001.

So what makes Ellenson so good?

The number one aspect of Ellenson’s game that scouts rave about is his pick and pop ability. Ellenson is 6-foot-10, but can shoot the three as well as any player that he will face in college basketball this season. With a wide body and strong presence, Ellenson can also post up anyone in the game and is very athletic around the rim.

Ellenson shows a great ability to not only score and rebound, but also block shots and protect the rim. Another key to Ellenson’s game is his confidence. On the road, expect his poise to be a strength. Many expect him to rise to the occasion in those tough Big East road games and continue to play strong consistently through struggles.

In transition, Ellenson can run the floor and has shown consistently strong ball-handling skills with both hands.

Golden Eagle head coach Steve Wojciechowski did not have much size down low last season, let alone talented size. Now with Ellenson, Marquette has talent in the paint and one of the most talented players not only in the conference, but in the country.

In a conference like the Big East where physical play and big men are prominent, Ellenson fits right in. Marquette has finished in the bottom half of the conference the last two seasons, but with this 2015 recruiting class led by Ellenson, MU could be fighting for the conference title next season.

In a nutshell, Ellenson brings what Marquette had last year, which was shooting. He also adds size, strength and great ball handling. Many have compared the forward to Kevin Love and Julius Randle. If he is anywhere near as good as them, Marquette could be in for a fun season.