Louisville basketball: Chris Mack looking to catch lightning in a bottle

Chris Mack is looking to catch lightning in a bottle with Louisville basketball’s 2021 recruiting class. Can he nab a second JUCO star in two years?

Louisville basketball had some luck on the 2020 recruiting circuit with junior college transfers, landing arguably the best junior college players in the last five years.

Named an NJCAA First-Team All-American as a first-year player, being invited to the U-19 Team USA training camp,

Jay Scrubb has the potential to be the real-deal at Louisville.

That success has the Cardinal coaching staff once again looking to the junior college level as they extended an offer to star freshman Elbert “El” Ellis.

After staring at the prep level, the 6’2, 180-pound guard chose to go the JUCO route, enrolling at Tallahassee Community College over offers from low-mid majors such as NC Central, Southern, Eastern Kentucky, amongst others.

After catching up with Ellis a few weeks before the end of the season, Chris Mack and the Louisville basketball staff extended another 2021 scholarship this one to the junior college star.

Playing for TCC, Ellis became a hot name on the recruiting market after a breakout freshman season where he averaged over 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists a game, shooting 48 percent from the field and a shade over 40 percent from three. Much like Scrubb in his first junior college season, Ellis’ play during his freshman season at TCC earned him some major accolades including freshman and player of the year awards from the Panhandle Conference.

Ellis’ recruitment is bound to blow up over the coming months as Louisville is one of just a few major programs who are in the 6’2 guard. Considering how he played as a freshman and how much more room he has to grow, it won’t be surprising to see Ellis ranked as the number junior college player in the 2021 class.

The 2021 class for Chris Mack will be all about finding two if not three guards who will be able to play right away for the 2021-22 season. That means finding athletic, versatile guards, who can defend and score at the highest level, alongside Josh Nickelberry and if we’re lucky, David Johnson (assuming they don’t land a transfer guard this offseason).

Ellis is a versatile guard who can play both spots due to his length, overall athleticism, scoring prowess, and playmaking ability. Talking with Jody Demling of Cardinal Authority, Ellis said of Chris Mack,

“He said they wanted a guard that can play fast and he thinks I can come in and make an impact.”

He went on to say “Coach Mack said they need a guard and he said if David Johnson is still around that I could come in and we could both play on or off the ball. I think I’m versatile enough to play both (on and off the ball).”

Next: Five 2021 recruits you need to know

The junior college star may not be the top guard on the board for the Cards, but don’t let that lead you to believe he’s any less of a player. While the JUCO ranks can be hit or miss, Ellis shows all the potential to be a stud at the next level and would be a more than suitable option for Louisville short-term and long-term.


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