Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM


Year in Review: Grading the Sophomore Class


Last week, I handed out my report card for the freshman class, so now it’s time to move on to the sophomores.

Gavin Schilling and Alvin Ellis III led the disappointing sophomore class this season. Both showed glimpses of promise in their freshman campaigns, but largely failed to live up to expectations.

Gavin Schilling – 39 games, 16.9 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 58% FG

Schilling has all the intangibles to become a great player. He has a body that’s tough to move in the paint and he’s athletic. Unfortunately, Schilling has not been able to put it all together consistently.

From mid-December to mid-January, it looked like Schilling had finally figured it out.

The big man averaged 8.1 points and 5.3 rebounds over an eight-game stretch. He played better defense, he was aggressive and he no longer looked like the deer-in-the-headlights from his freshman year. But then things quickly went south.

Schilling only scored in double digits once in the final 20 games and put up zero in seven of those contests. His defense was perhaps the most glaring issue. He guarded with his hands instead of his feet and constantly picked up fouls. In 12 games this year, Schilling had as many or more fouls than points. On a team already lacking in size, Schilling’s propensity to disappear really hurt.

Final grade – C-

Alvin Ellis III – 32 games, 8.6 MPG, 1.7 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 32% FG

Ellis was poised for a breakout year this season. The departure of Gary Harris left the shooting guard position wide open for the taking. All Ellis needed to do was prove to head coach Tom Izzo during the summer that he was ready to make the next step. He did not.

On several occasions, Coach Izzo said he did not think Ellis was in love with the game. Izzo often talked about how Ellis is good at a lot of things, but not great at anything. That’s why he was largely left behind this year.

Bryn Forbes provided a shooting touch, Travis Trice occasionally moved to the two when Tum Tum Nairn was in the game and Denzel Valentine also could fill in at shooting guard.

Then there was Ellis. He was not a good shooter this season, only hitting 32 percent of his shots. He did not rebound well and he did not get assists. He did not really do much of anything.

From his freshman to sophomore year, Ellis did not make any significant improvements in any area. His shooting percentage went down, his points went down and his rebounds went down. He only played 11 more minutes than he did last year.

Now with the influx of talent coming in at the shooting guard position next year, Ellis will be buried on the depth chart. Don’t be surprised if he starts looking at possibly transferring this summer.

Final grade – D+

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