Bruce Ellington, a two-sport star at South Carolina, is back playing with the basketball team and could potentially see action in Thursday’s SEC/Big East Challenge at St. John’s.
The 5-foot-9 Ellington plays wide receiver, “Wildcat” quarterback and kick returner on the football team and point guard on the basketball team. He caught two touchdown passes in the Gamecocks’ 27-17 victory at Clemson on Saturday.
“I’m pretty sure that Bruce is going to travel with us,” South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin said Wednesday at his weekly press conference. “Whether he’ll play or not, I don’t know.”
Martin said he likes football players because they bring toughness to the court.
“I like football players,” he said. “I think they bring a level of toughtness to the basketball team that you gotta have.”
Martin said he spoke Tuesday with football coach Steve Spurrier and the two agreed that Ellington would “practice for the next couple weeks” with the basketball team while the football team awaits its bowl appearance. Once football is back in practice, Martin said Ellington would be back with that team”every single day.”
“They’ve got one more huge game to play,” Martin said.
“Coach Spurrier fully, fully supports him playing,” Martin added. “He wants him to play. Coach and I spoke yesterday, and like every conversation I’ve had with him, he’s just incredible. And his willingness to help everyone that’s involved with this University, and he loves Bruce.”
Martin added: “Bruce wants to play basketball. Bruce loves to play football. Bruce loves to play basketball. Sometimes you come across special athletes that just are capable of doing both.”
Martin had previously said Ellington would not rejoin the basketball team until after the football team’s bowl game. Ellington was the basketball team’s leading returning scorer from last season.
This would be his second season playing both football and basketball. Ellington played only basketball as a freshman.
The Gamecocks (5-1) play at St. John’s on Thursday night as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge. They return home to face Clemson on Sunday.
The AP contributed reporting.