When the Southeastern Conference announced its media Preseason All-SEC selections just a couple of weeks back, fans expected to at least see Alabama guard Jaden Shackelford make the cut.
Shackelford made the First Team as anticipated, as did guard Jahvon Quinerly to many people's surprise. That's not because Quinerly wasn't deserving after his dynamic play whilst coming off the bench last year, but simply because the media had that much confidence in the young player.
On Tuesday, it was the same story as both Shackelford and Quinerly were named First Team by the SEC's coaches. However, both times that the duo were given the preseason honors, Shackelford had the same response:
'But what about Keon Ellis?'
It seems that his Crimson Tide teammates believe in him.
This offseason, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Shackelford, Quinerly and true freshman guard J.D. Davison. All three players deserve that buzz, but Ellis has been left quietly to the side amidst the talented Crimson Tide roster.
Last Saturday against Louisiana in Alabama's charity exhibition game, though, Ellis proved why Shackelford so adamantly stated that Ellis had been slept on by both the media and the coaches.
Against the Ragin' Cajuns, Ellis finished as the team's leading scorer with 21 points. Along with four rebounds and three assists, Ellis also recorded a block and four steals on the game.
In total, Ellis shot 5-11 from the floor, with all five of those shots being threes. Aside from Shackelford hitting one three, Ellis recorded all the rest on the Crimson Tide roster. Ellis was also a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
In the 2020-21 season, Ellis spent the majority of his time coming off of the bench, starting in only seven games last season. However, in an average of 17.5 minutes spent on the court every game, Ellis finished third on the team in rebounds with 129. He finished second among players that started a game in three-point percentage with .389.
Ellis might have made a quiet impact last season, but this year will no longer be the case. When asked if he was playing this season with a chip on his shoulder after being snubbed on both the media and coaches First Team All-SEC selections, Ellis confirmed.
"I would say so," Ellis said following the Crimson Tide's 73-68 victory over the Ragin' Cajuns. "But not more so to prove that I'm All-SEC or whatnot. Because I've been doubted coming from JUCO and whatnot — 'Not really supposed to be here'-type — but just going out there and just trying to prove everybody wrong.
"That's not really just my main focus going into the game. Just trying to make the team better [and] whatnot. It'll take care of itself. Just go out there and make the right plays."
If his performance last Saturday is anything to go by, and couple that with his mentality in the post-game, Ellis is definitely a player that shouldn't be slept on by Alabama fans heading into the season.
His teammates seem to think so. Why shouldn't Alabama fans as well?
When the Southeastern Conference announced its media Preseason All-SEC selections just a couple of weeks back, fans expected to at least see Alabama guard Jaden Shackelford make the cut. Subscribe for full article
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