Aug 29, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT
One of the most important skills that a college basketball player can have is the ability to jump, so, theoretically, it would make sense guys that there would be some college hoopers that also happen to excel in the high jump.
Wilt Chamberlain was a dominant high-jumper in his day, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of another player that excelled in both sports at the college level.
That’s what’s so intriguing about Minnesota sophomore Wally Ellenson.
Ellenson didn’t play much for Tubby Smith last season, averaging just 2.0 points while seeing action in just nine games. And while his athleticism on the perimeter would seem to fit in better with Rick Pitino’s system, the Gophers are much deeper in the back court than they are in the front court, which could once against limit the minutes that he plays.
It’s different in track, however, where the all-american Ellenson won a gold medal in the high-jump in the Pan-Americans Games on Sunday in Medellin, CO. Ellenson cleared the bar at 7-feet, 1-inch.
“It’s surreal,” Ellenson told Minnesota’s athletics website. “(Winning a gold medal) was the goal throughout the whole competition, and I’m just thankful I was able to do it.”
Ellenson clearly has the talent to be an elite high-jumper, but he has a ways to go if he wants to set any kind of world record. Currently, 8-feet and 1/2-inch, which was cleared by Javier Sotomayor of Cuba in 1993, is the world record.
Playing basketball cuts into his training. His goal is to make it to the Olympics in 2016, which means that the part of his life that could end up taking a backseat is on the hardwood.
- Former Cornell forward Shonn Miller headed to UConn for final season of eligibility 0
- Purdue center A.J. Hammons to return for senior season 0
- Five-star 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman commits to UNLV 4
- College basketball’s eight most important NBA Draft decisions 2
- Updated 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too Early Preseason Top 25 8
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List 10
- Duke’s Tyus Jones becomes third Blue Devil to enter the NBA Draft 11
- Duke’s Tyus Jones becomes third Blue Devil to enter the NBA Draft (11)
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List (10)
- Duke freshman Justise Winslow will enter 2015 NBA Draft (8)
- Updated 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too Early Preseason Top 25 (8)
- Five-star Kentucky commit believes the NCAA will clear him to play (7)