Gophers Sign Ellis and Foster to NLI

Alex Foster

The Minnesota men's basketball program today announced the signings of Alvin Ellis and Alex Foster to National Letters of Intent. Both players will be eligible to compete during the 2013-14 season.

Ellis and Foster, teammates for three years at De La Salle High School in Chicago, also played together on the AAU circuit for Meanstreets. Ellis is playing his final season of scholastic basketball at De La Salle while Foster is attending Seton Academy in South Holland, Ill.

"We are certainly pleased to be announcing that we have signed not only a pair of outstanding players but also outstanding young men," said Golden Gopher Head Coach Tubby Smith. "Alvin and Alex are great additions to our team due to their skill sets. We have been involved recruiting-wise for some time with both players and I want to commend my staff, especially Vince Taylor, on the great job.

"But after it is all said and done, it is the University of Minnesota and the basketball program that both young men wanted to be a part of. I know that they will fit in well within our family. Our program will be losing four talented players after this season so Alvin and Alex will certainly fill a void."

Ellis, a 6-4, 190-pound combo guard, scored 42 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, for De La Salle in the Illinois Class 4A Regional title game as a junior. He finished his junior season with averages of 17.0 points, 4.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals a game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range.

"Alvin Ellis is a combo guard who can play multiple positions on the perimeter so we like that versatility in him," said Smith. "Offensively he is skilled and can really shoot the ball but he also has the ability to defend multiple positions."

De La Salle's team captain as a junior and this year as a senior, Ellis held multiple offers but chose the Gophers over Kansas State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Tennessee and Wichita State.

Foster, a 6-8, 215 pound-forward, averaged 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game last season as a junior at De La Salle. He has been highly-rated in the Chicago area since his freshman year at De La Salle.

"Alex Foster is a young man that can play both forward positions," said Smith. "He is a lefty that has an all-around game - the ability to put the ball on the floor at his size, shoot with range and has a very good basketball I.Q."

An honor roll student all three years at De La Salle, Foster was named to the 2011 Panther Hoops All-Tournament Team, the 2011 Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team and the 2010 John McBride Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament Team.

Foster also held multiple offers but ultimately chose the Gophers over Auburn, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue and Tennessee.

The Gophers will play host to Tennessee State on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7:00 p.m. and Richmond on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 6:00 p.m. at Williams Arena before battling Duke on Thanksgiving Day as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. All three of Minnesota's games at the Battle 4 Atlantis can be seen on either AXS.tv or the NBC Sports Network.

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