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South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington enters NFL Draft, won’t return to basketball team

Jan 3, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

ellington Getty Images

For the last three years South Carolina guard Bruce Ellington has also been a member of the football team, and the fact of the matter is that he was pretty good for Steve Spurrier’s program. This season Ellington led the team in receptions (49), resulting in 775 yards and eight receiving touchdowns, and in three seasons his 16 touchdown receptions rank seventh on the school’s all-time list.

With his accomplishments on the football field and a college degree he completed last month, Ellington has decided to forego his final season of football eligibility to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. So what does any of this have to do with the basketball program? The news also means that he won’t be returning to the program as he did after each of the prior two football seasons.

“I would like to thank Coach Spurrier, Coach Horn and Coach Martin for giving me the opportunity to play both football and basketball at South Carolina,” Ellington said in the school release. “I also want to thank all the Gamecock fans and my teammates for the past four years in Columbia. It’s been a great experience and I’ve been truly blessed.”

In three-plus seasons as a basketball player Ellington averaged 11.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game for South Carolina. In three games this season, playing for Frank Martin’s team while the football team was off prior to beginning practices for its bowl game, Ellington averaged 5.7 points and 1.7 assists per game.

Given how young the Gamecocks are it would have been nice to add an experienced voice to the rotation in SEC play. But they’ve played nine of their 12 games without Ellington, and one can’t fault him for pursuing his dream with a college degree in hand.

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