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Carolina’s Ellington Gives Up Football For Hoops

South Carolina two-sport star Bruce Ellington has decided to focus on just one sport moving forward and that sport will be basketball.  That move could help save coach Darrin Horn’s job.

Ellington played basketball exclusively as a freshman in Columbia.  He started 30 games for the Cocks in 2010-11 and led them in scoring with 12.8 points per game.  But last fall, Ellington gave football a go.

Running, receiving and returning kicks he put up 780 all-purpose yards and scored a pair of touchdowns for Steve Spurrier’s squad.  But he also missed out on preseason basketball practices and the early part of the hoops season as Horn tried to break in several new players.  Having a veteran like Ellington around would have surely helped on that front.  (Sidenote — Ron Morris of The State was publicly called out by Spurrier last fall in part because he wrote that USC’s football coach had poached Ellington from USC’s basketball coach… a charge denied by Spurrier and Horn.)

Ellington returned in time to play in 24 games with Carolina this past season as a sophomore.  He started just 15 games.  His minutes played, scoring and rebounding were all down slightly from his freshman year.

“Basketball’s always been my first love,” he said in a statement.  “After giving it a lot of thought, this is the decision I’ve made.  If you want to be great at something, you have to commit to it full-time… I appreciate Coach Spurrier for giving me an opportunity to play football at South Carolina.  It was a great experience, but right now I want to focus on basketball.”

This can only be viewed as a positive for Horn.  Whether it’s enough to save his job — and from what we’re told he will likely hang onto his job — remains to be seen.

Ellington was good enough to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors in basketball and in football.



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