IOWA CITY, Iowa — Brady Ellingson’s first two seasons at Iowa were filled with injuries and inconsistency.
As a true freshman, Ellingson had surgery for a foot injury, missed all but a handful of games and received a medical redshirt. Last season, a shooting slump cost him minutes late in Big Ten play.
But the 6-foot-4 shooting guard kept firing. And working. His all-around game has made strides. And on Sunday, he became a part of history.
Iowa (2-0) sank a school-record 18 3-pointers on 43 attempts (another school record) in blasting Savannah State 116-84 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Ellingson connected on a game-high four 3-pointers, all of which were in the first half. He finished with 23 points — also a career high — and knocked down 7 of 9 field goals and all 5 free-throw attempts in 17 minutes off the bench.
“My teammates did a nice job of setting me up,” Ellingson said. “Coach is always telling me to stay shot ready. I’ve got to let it fly.”
Shooting was Ellingson’s strength while starring at Hamilton High in Sussex, Wis. Since arriving at Iowa, Ellingson had to work on defense and his all-around game. Coach Fran McCaffery stressed to Ellingson to get stronger and more athletic in the offseason. That’s a charge he took seriously, and McCaffery has noticed the improvements.
“He doesn’t make mistakes,” McCaffery said. “He’s defending his position well, sticking his nose on the glass. It’s Year 3. First year, he’s hurt. Last year, he had some good games, some not so good games. Backed his minutes off as the season went on. He just kept battling. I’m really proud of him.”
Ellingson averaged 9.1 minutes and 2.8 points in 27 games last season, scoring a then-career-best 20 points in a against Coppin State but totaling just 75 for the entire season. Ellingson said he’s moved past last season’s ups and downs and remains focused on the current season.
“I’m just trying to let the games come to me and know that you can’t get too high, can’t get too low,” he said.