Minnesota basketball’s loss may be Kansas State’s gain. On Monday Texas Tech announced it had hired Tubby Smith, whom Minnesota recently let go. And while The Jug thinks Smith’s firing was idiotic on the part of the Gophers’s athletic department, the consequences may provide coach Bruce Weber a happy ending. Here’s how:
On Monday, April 1, we reported on freshman Michael Orris transferring from the program. It was not a joke. Orris was a 6’2″ shooting guard who scored six points this year and didn’t factor to play a prominent role during the year either. One thing the Wildcats don’t need is more guards. This opened up a fifth scholarship for the Wildcats, which Bruce Weber stated was not committed to anyone. Speculation was that K-State may bring in a big JUCO player to help make an immediate impact.
Enter Alvin Ellis. Ellis is a 6’5″ small forward from Chicago who rescinded his letter of intent once Tubby Smith was terminated. Yahoo! Rivals lists four schools other than Minnesota that offered Ellis a scholarship before his commitment: Northwestern, Nebraska, Wichita State… and Kansas State. Here is the announcement from Ellis’s twitter account:
<blockquote><p>Good luck to the <a href=”https://twitter.com/search/%23Gopher”>#Gopher</a> team and all the fans in the future..had to do what was best for me and my family.! Thanks for all the love.!</p>— Alvin Ellis (@AEllis21) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AEllis21/status/319510895036342275″>April 3, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Of course this is pure speculation at this point. However, the combination of an available scholarship, a prior courtship, and the school’s sensational regular season (before laying an egg against La Salle) just might be the key to rounding out Bruce Weber’s first recruitment class with Ellis wearing purple this fall (Wildcat purple, that is. Wait – still not specific enough – Kansas State Wildcat purple. Not Northwestern Wildcat purple, which is the only school that recruited Ellis from his home state of Illinois).
Of course, should Ellis choose Kansas State it would only be fair – JUCO transfer and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell projected to start for Kansas State this upcoming season, but signed a letter of intent with Minnesota on signing day. The decommitment was wholly unexpected and a blow to K-State, which underwent the first day of Spring Practice today. Kansas State must replace 10 of 11 starters from last year’s defense that ranked first in scoring in the Big 12.