Ellis’ patella surgery may prevent him from playing this season

Emarion+Ellis+%28left%29+stands+on+the+sideline+during+Marquette+mens+basketballs+open+practice+at+Fiserv+Forum+Oct.+28.+

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Emarion Ellis (left) stands on the sideline during Marquette men’s basketball’s open practice at Fiserv Forum Oct. 28.

Following an up and down first season at Marquette, sophomore guard Emarion Ellis was ready to take his game to the next level. But then came a roadblock: a knee injury.

“I have to sit there and watch something that I love to do,” Ellis said. 

Ellis underwent surgery on his patella in April which he said was found to be 60% fractured.

“I always had this knee problem even before I got here. I couldn’t really jump off both my legs because my knee was always in pain and then eventually, it got bad to where I couldn’t really play anymore. I went with surgery because I felt like I could still be waiting for it to heal which would have been a waste of time,” Ellis said. 

With the season just six days away, the answer to Ellis redshirting is still up in the air.

“I don’t know if I will (redshirt), but I probably will. If I don’t feel right, then I’m not ready,” Ellis said. “I know that even if I were to come back, it wouldn’t be for long and I don’t know if I’ll be 100% ready to go.”

Assistant Coach Neil Berry said the team will miss the option of bringing Ellis off the bench this season if he chooses to redshirt. 

“We will definitely miss him on the floor. He’s got great size. He’s put on a lot of weight. He’s gotten stronger,” Berry said. 

He may be missed on the court but is an addition to the team from the bench.

“His spirit and his connectivity with the other guys on the bench is great,” Berry said. 

Ellis said he continues to learn from his teammates in practices as he watches from the sideline.

“It’s good to get outside yourself and focus on talking, which I needed help with my freshman year, i’ve just really been sitting back, learning a lot and trying to cheer on my teammates,” Ellis said. 

Berry said he believes Ellis’ best basketball is still ahead of him, despite this setback.

“He’s got unbelievable potential as a point guard and can be a great defender,” Berry said. “It takes a while to get these kind of things back in the flow of things after an injury.” 

Berry also said Ellis’ time away from the court can be a learning moment for him.

“Just continuing to grow, get in shape as he gets back and just understand how he needs to be as a defender and leader from the point guard position,” Berry said.

Berry is excited to see what lies ahead for Ellis’s future and how he is engaging with players on the bench.

“He encourages our guys to do the right things on the floor, but he’s also got a boldness about him that makes him a huge part of our program,” Berry said.

First-year guard Sean Jones said one way Ellis showcases this is through the relationships he builds with his teammates.

“He’s given me advice that I don’t even think I needed, which has impacted me more than he even knows,” Jones said. “I’m pretty sure he gave everyone some advice that’s impacted them, he’s a great person.” 

Berry said his favorite thing about Ellis how he interacts with those around him. 

“He just really cares about people. If he sees someone in need or if there’s kids around, he’s going to go out of his way to make them feel special and meet him. He’s just got an unbelievable heart for people,” Berry said.

Sophomore forward David Joplin highlighted what Ellis brings to the team on the court.

“He is explosive, fast. He can get to the rim. He can really facilitate and he’ll be a great defender,” Joplin said. “I can’t wait till he gets back.” 

Junior forward Oso Ighodaro said Ellis continues to grow in his role at Marquette.

“He’s been taking a big step and leading from the sidelines, calling people out and holding them accountable,” Ighodaro said. “It’s been great for him just being off the court and being able to grow on the culture side of things.”

Though this season still hangs in the balance if Ellis will step onto the court for a game or not, he said his goal for the season hasn’t changed. 

“I just want them (the team) to win,” Ellis said. “I like to watch them play right and I learn so much. It’s very simple for me to focus on one thing which is helping echo what the coach is saying to help the guys, but I’m looking forward to winning games and just to try to be as helpful as I can and not just be silent.

This story was written by Catherine Fink. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at CatherineFinkMU.