February 29, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) Henry Ellenson will have made a lasting impression at Marquette even if the freshman never plays a home game for the Golden Eagles after Tuesday's finale at the Bradley Center.

A lucrative NBA career likely awaits the 6-foot-11 forward whenever he decides to leave school.

Ellenson leads the Big East in rebounding (9.8 per game) going into Tuesday's game against Georgetown. He's posted 16 double-doubles.

He already owns Marquette's freshman scoring record with 481 points, averaging 16.6 per game. On Monday, he picked up his seventh Big East Freshman of the Week award of the season.

''I don't know if he looks at all the stats and everything,'' older brother and teammate, Wally Ellenson, said after last week's loss to Villanova. ''He loves playing the game.''

Good enough for Marquette (18-11, 7-9 Big East) to mount a ''Freshman of the Year'' candidate campaign for the younger Ellenson. The second bullet point on a list of stats and highlights might foreshadow what's next - it reads ''Projected lottery pick in 2016 NBA Draft.''

It has been a possibility since the in-state product arrived as one of the top recruits in the nation from Rice Lake at Marquette. His father, John, played for the Golden Eagles under coach Rick Majerus in the 1980s.

Henry Ellenson was the jewel of current coach Steve Wojciechowski's recruiting class in his second year on the sideline.

''Wojo has done a great job of coaching him hard. ... You coach him as a college kid who has never played this game at this level,'' Marquette assistant Chris Carrawell said when asked how Ellenson's NBA future weighed on how he was coached.

Ellenson's position coach, Carrawell said his star pupil has ''lived in the gym'' from the day the freshman stepped on campus. He compared Ellenson's work ethic to former Duke teammate Gerald Henderson.

''He had a certain approach. He stretched, had his treatment, wanted to watch film, work out all the time,'' Carrawell said. ''I see Henry doing the same thing.''

Henderson, though, was a guard. Ellenson has the size and athleticism that NBA scouts might crave in a stretch power forward.

Ellenson can run the break and score in the post. He'll step back and hit a 3 on occasion. He's a go-to guy for Wojciechowski, and he's had to adjust to mounting attention from opposing teams.

''Throughout the year, it's just been a learning process for me - seeing where I can attack, getting reads on defenses, how I can make the most out of any play,'' Ellenson said. ''I think personally, it's me just being patient, just letting the game come to me, not trying to force anything.''

On the end, Carrawell said Ellenson is a good help defender and shot blocker, though his defensive game overall is a work in progress. It's an area that will develop as Ellenson matures, he said.

Ellenson isn't the only Marquette freshman playing major minutes - guard Haanif Cheatham has shown the potential to be a consistent playmaker. Cheatham is averaging 12.9 points in Big East games, having scored 19 points more in four of the last six games.

''Henry Ellenson deserves all the attention he gets,'' Wojciechowski said. ''But Haanif is one great (freshmen) in the country too. ... We've had two freshmen who are having historical freshmen years by Marquette standards.''

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