After an excruciating long and soon to be worrisome wait, the Gophers finally have their first committed recruit for the 2010-2011 season.
Elliot Eliason is a 6’11” center from middle of nowhere Nebraska, or Chadron, if you like to learn about towns that most people have never heard of. Averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game, he was named the Gatorade Nebraska player of the year as a Junior, leading his team to an almost undefeated record (their lone loss came in the state finals).
Elliason is by no means the top big-man in the country, but he has long been a Gophers target, and competition was picking up for his services. Stanford and Creighton were the other finalists, with Nebraska, Colorado State, Arizona State, Portland, and Washington State extending offers.
Able to score with his back to the basket and some degree of a mid-range jumper, Elliason will most likely be a bit of a project but needs to put on a lot of weight (he clocks in at a generous 235 pounds, . The Gophers luckily already have plenty of depth at the power-forward and center positions.
The comparisons to Colton Iverson are obvious, and they should be. Both are big men from small towns who haven’t faced the toughest competition, but who have made a name for themselves in the summer playing AAU ball. Elliason has had an advantage already over Iverson in that he will not be starting (barring a horrifying injury situation) and will have time to grow under Iverson’s tutelage. Iverson was no push over, but he was clearly outmatched at times and seemed to wear down as the season wore on.
The Gophers have two scholarships left heading into 2010 with one reserved for Cory Joseph if he wants it. With the Gophers depth, don’t be surprised if the Gophers carry the scholarships into 2011 if Joseph doesn’t take it. These aren’t the Monson years, and scholarships are too valuable to give to whoever is left.