Hoosier Basketball Signs Four Student-Athletes
Nov. 8, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana Head Coach Kelvin Sampson announced on Wednesday, Nov. 8 that four student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent to continue their basketball careers at IU.
Jamarcus Ellis, a 6-5, 200-pound guard from Chicago, Ill. and Chipola (Fla.) Junior College; Eric Gordon, a 6-4, 205-pound guard from Indianapolis North Central High School; Eli Holman, a 6-9, 210-pound center from Richmond (Calif.) High School and Brandon McGee, a 6-7, 220-pound forward from Chicago Crane High School, are expected to enroll at Indiana in June 2007.
While each of the four signees fills a different position on the floor, the common denominator among this quartet is hard-nosed competitiveness.
"We are excited about this class, especially because it is the first one," Sampson said of a class ranked among the nation's best by several recruiting services. "All four of these players will impact Indiana Basketball in a positive way. The addition of these four players, along with the players coming back, puts us in a position to compete at a high level in the Big Ten Conference."
Ellis boasts a 6-11 wingspan and averaged 13.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.5 steals as a freshman last season at Chipola. A National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) preseason first team All-American, Ellis leads a Chipola team ranked second in the NJCAA preseason poll.
Ellis played his high school basketball at perennial power Chicago Westinghouse, where he averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists as a senior en route to 2004 Chicago Public League Player of the Year laurels. He paced Westinghouse to the 2002 Illinois state title and to the 2002 and 2004 city crowns. As a senior, Ellis was rated the state's No. 2 prospect behind current Los Angeles Clipper Shaun Livingston.
"We have known about Jamarcus for a long time. We have always loved his versatility and are impressed with his impact at the high school and junior college level," Sampson said. "Jamarcus comes from a winning program, and it is so important to him to become a great player at Indiana."
Gordon is the nation's top-rated prospect in the Class of 2007, as he averaged 26.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.8 steals, 1.2 blocks and shot .509 from the floor and .859 from the free throw line during his junior season at North Central. A former high school teammate of IU junior A.J. Ratliff, Gordon tallied 25.5 points, three assists, 4.5 rebounds and two steals as a sophomore.
Gordon's signing helps fulfill a vow Sampson made upon his arrival - to draw the state's top players to Bloomington.
"Eric Gordon is an immediate impact player wherever he goes. The fact that he is an Indiana kid is important as we move forward with the program in the future," Sampson said. "Eric is a great player and an even better person. With an unbelievably supportive family in his parents and grandparents, he is the total package."
The left-handed Holman possesses a 7-7 wingspan, which he used to record 11 points, 10 rebounds and 12 blocked shots per game as a junior at Richmond. Ranked among Scout.com's Top 100 prospects nationally, Holman's stock increased considerably after leading the prestigious ABCD Camp in blocked shots at 3.4 per game.
Sampson and his staff tracked Holman's progress over the summer and believe that he has the potential to be a dominant Big Ten post player.
"We really like Eli's work ethic," Sampson said. "He has a tremendous attitude about improvement. Not only is he a great shot blocker, but he runs the floor as well as any big man we have had. His development around the basket will be key to our future."
Playing alongside 2006 Parade All-American Sherron Collins, McGee averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds as a junior at Crane. McGee is ranked among the top 30 senior forwards nationally and is the No. 6 senior in Illinois Hoops' Super 25. He averaged 11 points and 12 rebounds at the 2006 Peach Jam, leading his AAU team, the Illinois Warriors, to the final four of the tournament.
McGee was the first player to commit to Sampson at Indiana, and the IU head coach feels that McGee's versatility is his biggest asset.
"I love Brandon McGee. He is a complete player," Sampson said. "Some kids transcend a position, and he has a great body that allows him to play down low or on the perimeter. More importantly, thanks to his grandmother and his aunt, he comes from a tremendous, well-rounded family."
Check back soon