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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Patience is a virtue: Sophomore has breakout year

Sophomore+Isaiah+Ellis+dunks+the+ball+over+his+opponent+in+a+game.+Photo+credit%3A+Jacob+Auby
Sophomore Isaiah Ellis dunks the ball over his opponent in a game. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

Sophomore forward Isaiah Ellis got a rude awakening when he came onto campus as a first-year at Chico State.

“I went from being the go-to-guy and winning two section championships on my high school team, to redshirting my true freshman year of college,” Ellis said.

Redshirting is when college athletes withdraw from competition for a year to both develop their skills as well as preserve their playing eligibility.

Ellis’ redshirt year was tough, but proved to be very valuable. Over the course of the year he had to train harder than he ever had before.

“We worked out all year and had to wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning during the week. After practicing with the team, all of the redshirts have to go and lift weights while the rest of the players watch film,” Ellis said. “I didn’t have any responsibilities as a redshirt, I’m so glad I’m able to play now.”

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Sophomore Isaiah Ellis flies through the air on his way to the basket. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

The men’s basketball team has seen a steady increase in production from Ellis over the last two years. In his first season he averaged 5.8 points and 3.6 rebounds while playing only 14 minutes per game. This year he has assumed the sixth man role, now averaging 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds while playing 26 minutes per game. His teammates say that this is because of a combination of hard work and opportunity.

“He definitely put the time in this summer and has also gotten more comfortable with the system,” first-year forward Marvin Timothy said.

“His work ethic and ability has allowed him to blossom into one of the best power forwards in our league,” sophomore starting point guard Jalen McFerren said. “He’s definitely capable of starting for our team next year.”

EllisWEB
Sophomore Isaiah Ellis slam dunks the ball in a game against Cal State East Bay. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

Ellis says that a big reason for his play this season was confidence. During his first year he scored off mostly hustle points and tried to get as many rebounds as possible. This year Ellis has greatly expanded his role, and a lot of his motivation to do so came from one person, his twin sister.

Tyler Ellis plays on the women’s basketball team at New Mexico State University. She is a junior forward and her team has won the conference title two years in a row, just as the Wildcats are in position to do.

“I was playing all right, but I didn’t feel truly comfortable until the night where I had seven dunks against Cal State East Bay. I was talking to (Tyler) before the game, and she really told me what I needed to hear to get me ready to play,” he said. “We’re in a similar situation, I love it.”

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Sophomore Isaiah Ellis leaps into the air, just about to slam the ball into the hoop. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

Ellis has been seen at night on weekdays in Acker Gym with a few teammates getting extra shots in, trying to be the best player that he can be for his team. Though the season has been successful, he knows there is still work to be done.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the NCAA championship, but it starts with winning our conference playoff championship first,” Ellis said. “As for me, I just want to keep getting better, get in extra shots and not settle for what I’ve accomplished.”

Patrick Pace can be reached at [email protected] or @PatPaceSports on Twitter.

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