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Just The Sports: Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, Jr.

Just The Sports

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, Jr.

High school teammates at the Episcopal Academy located in Merion, PA, Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, Jr. are now plying their basketball trade at rival colleges, the University of North Carolina and Duke University respectively. Since they have separated and no longer compete on the same team, they have adopted differing roles and exhibited differing talents while each is still successful in his own way.

As soon as Wayne Ellington stepped on the UNC campus with his much heralded fellow classmates, he was given an important role in the offense, averaging ten field goal attempts per game in his freshman season and rewarding Roy Williams's confidence with a 54.8 TS% and 1.10 points per shot attempt on the way to 11.7 points per contest. In this, Ellington's sophomore season, he has upped the ante in a big way, taking more shots per game (13.1), averaging more points per game (17.8), and at the same time being more efficient with his shots (61.3 TS% and 1.23 points per shot attempt), establishing himself as one of the more prolific scorers in college basketball.

Henderson's collegiate career, meanwhile, got off to a less sparkling offensive start as he was not of the main cogs of Duke's offense in his freshman season. He has taken more shots this year, but he has not made the leap in his rate statistics that Ellington has. Henderson was a 50.0 TS% and 1.00 points per shot attempt shooter in his freshman year while taking only six shots per game and as a sophomore, he is a 52.4 TS% and 1.05 points per shot attempt shooter on 10.9 field goal attempts per contest.

To his credit, Henderson is more proficient than Ellington in two facets of the game. The first is in getting to the free throw line more frequently. For his collegiate career, for every 3.2 shots he takes, Henderson has shot one free throw. Ellington, although he has a free throw percentage of 87.1% over his fifty-five games at UNC, has had to shoot the ball 5.2 times for one trip to the free throw line. In fact, Ellington has so far made one more three-pointer than he has free throw (102 to 101). However, Henderson's low free throw percentage (63.9%) makes him a liability when he does get to the charity stripe.

The second aspect of the game where Henderson is superior to Ellington is in the rebounding department. Of course, this makes sense when one realizes Henderson is a better athlete (read: can jump higher) than Ellington so his 10.5 rebound rate to Ellington's paltry 7.0 rebound rate should surprise no one.

If these two players' trends continue, at their twenty-five year high school reunion, provided they even show up, Ellington will be able to say he had the more productive college career. As for who has bragging rights for any NBA career, that is still to be determined.



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