Performance Review: Alvin Ellis III

Impact Izzone will be handing out performance reviews for each Spartan in the following weeks. The series will start with the freshmen and move up the classes. Stay tuned for the rest of our grades! Check out Eron Harris’ performance review here.

2015-16 stats: 7.6 mins, 2.6 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 42.4% FG, 40% 3-PT

Blake Froling:

AEIII has been a consistent disappointment throughout his career at MSU.

In his freshman year, he showed flashes of athleticism when putting the ball on the floor. But that was it, flashes. After that, it was all downhill. His commitment to the game has been questioned by Coach Izzo and his playing time has remained pretty steady in his three years; that’s not a good thing.

Ellis had some good moments in the season. His defense off the bench gave MSU a lift on the road against Purdue, helping them claw their way back from a huge halftime deficit to sent the game into overtime, eventually losing. But overall, Ellis was mostly a non-factor. If he wants to see any playing time next year, he needs to become a 3-and-D player, meaning he keeps up his solid defense and he hits threes consistently. His 40 percent clip from beyond the arc is slightly inflated due to lack of shots, but he can stroke it.

Shore up the three, lock down on D, and Ellis can be a valuable role player in his senior year.

Final Grade: D

Davey Segal:

Alvin Ellis III is going into his senior year at Michigan State University, and is still on scholarship as a basketball player. I highly doubt the better half of Spartan Nation saw that as a reality after his sophomore season and the beginning of his junior one. AE3 was one of the first names mentioned on the possible transfer list from East Lansing. But after a successful second half of his 2015-2016 season, he regained Tom Izzo’s trust after a tumultuous offseason (arrested for DUI), played pretty well and is ready to make an impact as a senior.

Despite only playing in games for an average of 19 percent of the scheduled time, Ellis III found ways to make an impact for the Spartans, whether it be offensively or defensively. As stated in an MLive story by Kyle Austin, Ellis offered to move to the scout team in practice. Knowing he wasn’t getting many minutes in games, he figured this would get him more court time, and in turn, improve his game. It ultimately paid off, and he started making plays.

The rising senior improved in most categories from his sophomore season. Yet, only averaging 2.6 points per game with under 10 minutes of playing time just ain’t gonna cut it when you’re playing Big Ten basketball against the powerhouses all season long. His improvement should give Spartan fans optimism, especially as a defender on the perimeter. But since this is a performance review, I don’t think anybody is raving about his performance this past season, Alvin included. Not a large sample size, but not impressive either.

Final Grade: D+

Ryan Cole:

Often the source of groans for Spartan fans throughout his first two seasons, Alvin Ellis III finally carved himself a role into Tom Izzo’s rotation by the end of his junior year. That’s a huge accomplishment considering how fans, albeit immaturely, likely hoped to hear that the guard would transfer elsewhere.

I guarantee you that the fans’ grumblings got inside Ellis’s head. On top of that, the Matteson, Ill. native has always seen limited playing time thanks to Izzo’s always guard-heavy rosters. Because of those two factors, I felt that in his first two years, Ellis was simply trying to do too much. He would try to play into the starting lineup in his eight minutes per game. This led to too many miscues on both sides of the ball, and the 6-foot-4 slasher soon became a liability for the Spartans.

This year, Ellis matured and recognized his role on yet another guard-heavy roster. Even though he was passed up by newcomers Matt McQuaid and Eron Harris, Ellis earned solid minutes during Big Ten play due to his increased efficiency on both ends of the court. He became a plus defender and an underrated passer for the Spartans’ second unit. But most importantly, Ellis found his shot. After shooting 24 percent from beyond the arc his sophomore year, Ellis upped that number to 40 percent this year while shooting with more volume.

I saw Ellis get comfortable with his role and make safer plays throughout his junior year. It’s on him to continue that improvement and become a team leader this offseason, because next year’s roster will once again be clogged at the guard position. I believe he will step up to the challenge and develop into the Spartans’ sixth man.

Final Grade: C+

David Manion:

Most players on scholarship in Division I basketball have a lot to offer to the program. They possess unique and different skillsets that make them stand out in their own special way. Matt Costello was a powerful blocking machine and a great rebounder. Bryn Forbes is a red hot shooter while effective in transition. Out of all the players on MSU’s roster for the upcoming season, however, I don’t think there is a more one-dimensional player than Alvin Ellis.

Throughout his entire career at State, Ellis has been anything but an offensive weapon. He’s not a flashy ball handler, nor a force to reckon with in the paint. They say scoring cures all, but this does not apply to Ellis. He was very reluctant to take open shots his freshman year. Down the road, his shot selection regressed thanks to poor decision making. Speaking of poor decision making, Ellis had some disciplinary issues last summer after receiving a DUI. Instead of telling Izzo that he learned his lesson, he expressed confusion and frustration.

The only thing the Spartans ever got out of Ellis was his defense. He showed up big time when conference play began, displaying his stingy and aggressive style defense towards some of the most productive scorers in the conference. He also found a little groove in the shooting game, draining a mid range jumper from time to time.

Things are starting to slowly turn around for a guy who’s had a very disappointing career. If he can keep up the pressure on defense while able to contribute in more ways than one on offense, he can become a huge asset. He’s one of the three seniors on the 2016-17 squad, along with Eron Harris and Gavin Schilling. That means that he needs to be more vocal and start leading by example. He’s the perfect kind of guy to serve inspiration and demonstrate the importance of being a role player to younger players. Here’s an underachiever who had a permanent role on the bench and received little playing time and how he was able to flip his career from a negative to a positive with just one season. He has gained a lot of doubt and the possible idea of transferring from the Spartan fanbase. The only thing I am certain about Alvin Ellis is that he is here to stay.
Final Grade: D+