Marquette recruit Henry Ellenson: All-American honor ‘really special’
Henry Ellenson wasn’t planted in front of a television when the McDonald’s All-American team was announced Wednesday evening.
Instead, Marquette University’s prized recruit had an iPad set up on the side of the gym with team managers monitoring the ESPNU special while he was practicing with his Rice Lake High School team.
The gym erupted when Ellenson was announced as one of the 24 prep players selected to participate in the 38th annual McDonald’s All-American Game at Chicago’s United Center on April 1.
"It was really special," Ellenson told FOXSportsWisconsin.com in a phone interview. "As soon as we found out, a bunch of guys were congratulating me. It was something that is really special and something I’ve worked hard for."
Ellenson and Dominican High School center Diamond Stone are just the sixth and seventh McDonald’s All-Americans from Wisconsin, joining Kevon Looney (2014), Brian Butch (2003), Sam Okey (1995), Calvin Rayford (1991) and Joe Wolf (1983).
The 6-foot-10 forward is Marquette’s fourth McDonald’s All-American but the first since Kerry Trotter in 1982. Doc Rivers was a 1980 selection, while Walter Downing participated in the 1981 game.
"It shows how hard it is to be a McDonald’s All-American," Ellenson said. "There aren’t many per class. I’m really excited to represent Marquette, and hopefully start something new to get Marquette back to where it was."
Ellenson is ranked as the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2015 by ESPN, No. 6 overall by Scout.com, No. 11 overall by 247 and No. 17 overall by Rivals.com. He is Marquette’s highest-ranked prep commit since Rivers in 1980.
He headlines a consensus top-five 2015 recruiting class, which is ranked as high as fifth nationally by ESPN and Scout.com.
"Obviously the McDonald’s All-American game is as prestigious a high school all-star game as it gets," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said at his media availability Tuesday. "As somebody who played in it, it’s a lifetime memory that you have.
"I would expect certainly Henry to be named. I can’t imagine any scenario where he’s not one of the top 20 players in the country."
Making the McDonald’s All-American team is another accomplishment in what has been a prestigious prep career for Ellenson, who spent last summer competing with the U-17 United States national team.
"It is something that was always in the back of my mind," Ellenson said. "I knew it was a team that I wanted to make. It was something I was working hard for and a goal I wanted to accomplish.
"It is going to be a lot of fun down there in Chicago. It is a big stage with everybody watching on ESPN. It will probably be the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of."
Ellenson is averaging 27.5 points and 14.5 rebounds through 15 games of his senior season at Rice Lake. He opened the year by scoring 48 points with 15 rebounds against Minnetonka (Minn.) High School and has scored 30 or more points in five games.
The Warriors are 10-5 on the season but are unranked in Division 2, where they advanced to the WIAA state championship game last year.
"I think I’m having a pretty good year," Ellenson said. "I’ve been seeing a lot of double teams and junk defenses, so I’m always adjusting every game. But I think I’ve been playing pretty consistent and pretty good for my team. I’m just trying to improve on something each game.
"It only gets tougher at the next level, so I’m glad I’m getting challenged here."
All four of Marquette’s 2015 signees were nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game, but Nick Noskowiak, Haanif Cheatham and Matt Heldt were not picked.
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