Friday, November 30, 2007

Ellington shoots down doubters

As North Carolina prepares to visit Kentucky on Saturday, the emergence of one player has demonstrated that the Tar Heels’ preseason status as a Final Four favorite is legitimate.

North Carolina already knew it would get stellar play at center from Tyler Hansbrough and point guard from Ty Lawson. Wing Marcus Ginyard’s status as a defensive stopper and all-around floor leader already was established.

The question for the Tar Heels was whether sophomore shooting guard Wayne Ellington would emerge as the perimeter scorer needed to punish defenses for clogging the lane to stop Hansbrough’s post moves and Lawson’s drives.

Ellington has answered with authority. In the win over Davidson, he scored 20 points and his step-back 3-pointer in the closing minutes was the biggest play of the game. At Ohio State, while his teammates struggled to score and Lawson sat on the bench with a sprained ankle, Ellington was 8-for-15 from the field with 23 points.

As a freshman, Ellington demonstrated flawless shooting form but often looked tentative as he tried to blend in with his new teammates. He is best remembered for the 3-point attempt against Georgetown that would have sent North Carolina to the Final Four but clanged off the rim just before the buzzer.

Despite answering endless questions about that shot in the preseason, Ellington has played with confidence early in the season. He is 16-for-32 from 3-point range.

If that continues, North Carolina won’t easily be dislodged from the NCAA tournament.

– Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

The best part of WE's game so far this year is that he is looking to attack, but within the flow the game. His mid-range game is much improved, even if not on a Forte-like level. Still the Heels need another -- ideally two -- 3-ball shooters to emerge as they do not play the 1-4 donut set and almost always have 2 men in the post. As a result, they need shooters on both wings to stretch the defense and make post feeds possible and effective.


Anonymous said...

Haven't seen a player with so many ways to lose defenders combined with such a great ability to score off the dribble in a long, long time. The moves he puts on defenders are just silly. And now he has finally meshed with the offense. Looking forward to watching this team all year, although I agree with Jat. Frasor needs to step it up and start hitting shots, make it easier on Hansborough and Thompson(someone else I am impressed with). You don't want to have those guys hurt coming down the stretch.