Man For The Job

101 wins, two ACC regular season championships, two ACC tournament championships, and a 2009 National Championship.

No need for a cover letter, Wayne Ellington’s college resume is quite impressive.

The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter from Pennsylvania spent three extremely productive seasons at the University of North Carolina. As a highly touted prospect, Ellington played a significant role for the Tar Heels in their search for dominance in college basketball.

Ellington provided an immediate scoring threat for Roy Williams’ squad in 2006-07. Averaging 11.7 points a game, Ellington got a taste of the NCAA tournament excitement during his freshman season. North Carolina fell just short of a title run by falling to Georgetown in a shocking overtime loss in the Elite Eight.

North Carolina could not capitalize on the wealth of talent among the gauntlet of No. 1 seeds in the 2008 NCAA tournament. In the Final Four, the Tar Heels suffered a crushing defeat to Williams’ former team, the Kansas Jayhawks. However, Ellington expanded his game for the Tar Heels while averaging a career-best 16.6 points per game. His sophomore year was highlighted by a 36-point outburst against Clemson. Ellington then dipped his toe in the draft waters that summer but decided to return with his fellow North Carolina teammates Ty Lawson, Danny Green, and Tyler Hansbrough for another shot at the title.

The core group of the 06-07 team was destined to make another voyage to the promised land and snag a National Championship. The four horsemen capitalized on their experience and talent to finally capture the coveted championship trophy this past season. The Tar Heels finished with a 34-4 record en route to a dominating NCAA tournament run. Ellington cut down the nets after earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. In 2008-09, Ellington drilled 85 three-pointers at a 41.7 percent clip.

Ellington will now attempt to transition his college success to the NBA, “I think a winning mentality is definitely something that will definitely help this organization and help out the players. Also, just being able to interact with a lot of the young guys. We come from programs that we’re all used to being close with our teammates as well as having talented guys around us. I think that will help a lot.”

Minnesota was obviously attracted to the championship pedigree and scoring ability that Ellington possesses. Just three days before the NBA Draft, Ellington displayed a quick release from the 3-point arch at a workout for the Wolves. On Draft night, Minnesota felt confident that Ellington would add a necessary component to the offense: shooting.

On the workout day, Ellington expressed excitement at the possibility of teaming up with a talented frontcourt, “No question. I think I can spread the floor, help guys penetrate, help the inside presence as well. I think I would definitely help this organization.”

The door is now wide open for a volume shooter after the departure of Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Washington Wizards. When the double team collapses on Al Jefferson in the paint, Ellington will have to be prepared to pull the trigger on a team that only averaged 35.3 percent from the 3-point line last season.

“I want to shoot a lot. They do have two very talented big guys down low. A player like myself, I think I’ll be able to space out the floor and open up a lot of things. Like I said, I think there’s going to be a great opportunity for me to be able to do that,” Ellington said.

One of the most decorated college players in the draft this year has landed a home in the Twin Cities. Ellington hopes to add another championship section to an already sparkling resume.
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