Boogie Ellis is on a mission to redeem himself after a rough start to his freshman season as a Memphis Tiger. He played a well-rounded game for the Tigers on Saturday against UConn with six points, five rebounds and three assists. Memphis would win the game 70-63 in what was the last time that the Tigers would play the Huskies as an American Athletic Conference opponent as they make their return to the Big East.
“Crazy game, but I am glad to get the win,” Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway said after the game against UConn.
Ellis has been on point as of late, but he did not start the season this way as he struggled to even get a field goal to go down in the first five conference game.
In fact, his stats for the first five games were 0-17 from the field and 0-11 from the three-point line. You can also see the confidence simmer down because of the shot not falling.
Ellis even lost his starting job and eventually lost out of the rotation. He averaged 13.8 minutes per game within those five games.
“I wasn’t playing with that smile that I usually play with,” Ellis said during a media availability before the game against Central Florida.
Ellis over the past 3 games has been a light that could possibly lead to a brighter day for the Tigers. He is averaging 13.4 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game. Ellis has hit at least one three-pointer in this stretch of solid games.
The confidence level has risen for the young guard from San Diego, California. Ellis has taken upon himself that he will continue to get better and prove that he can play at this level.
"If I have a slump or I'm shooting good, I'm still going to come back to the gym and keep working," Ellis said.
Penny Hardaway spoke on Ellis and praised him for his recent play.
“He has had his struggles to start the season, but he is the hardest worker on the team, and you root for a kid like that,” Hardaway said. “I am glad to see him play with confidence.”
Ellis against UCF last Wednesday played a career high in minutes with 34. He scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds.
If the freshman can bring this consistent production, it could be a huge lift for a team that has struggled to find anything behind freshman forward Precious Achiuwa. The Queens, N.Y native has been carrying the Tigers to victory with his double-double presence in many games this season.
“From here on out we’ve got to play with a smile, and have fun with it,” Ellis said.
The Tigers are on a two-game winning streak and some players are hitting their stride. Lance Thomas, along with Ellis, have been dominating the court and have shown a great deal of confidence with shooting the ball. They also have played solid defense for head coach Penny Hardaway.
The Tigers will play Temple and South Florida for their next two games (both at home), so look for Ellis to provide more of a spark for Memphis.