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Ellis plants flag in the Hoop State

16, Apr 2023

Ellis plants flag in the Hoop State

RALEIGH, N.C. - You got to know your neighbor on Saturday at the Carolina Jam. It was a shoulder-to-shoulder Saturday inside the Raleigh Convention Center. Eli Ellis was back home. In his home state. The Hoop State.

And all of the hoop heads were there to see him and his adidas-sponsored Team Loaded squad take on Team United of the Nike EYBL.

This is what travel ball used to be like - brands against brands. You take the chatter to court. You play it out. Throw out the swoosh and the stripes. This was good old fashion grassroots basketball, y’all. It was sweeter than a glass of cool Cheerwine.

From the tip, Eli Ellis went to work. Three pointer. Boom. Sank it. Drive to the rim. Bucket. Stop and pop. Got ‘em. The points came in a hurry. Ellis pumped in 21 straight points for Team Loaded. Twenty. One. He did it against a very good team with very good prospects. Like, very good prospects.

He did it was a crowd that was darn near exclusively from the state of North Carolina.

Legendary? Maybe. It was certainly one of those games on a budding stage like the Carolina Jam held in a convention center that you’ll remember, maybe even making it’s way to late-night folklore chatter by the old heads down the road. That kind of game. That kind of scoring.

It was fun. It was why you go to travel basketball games.

Ellis finished with 27 points and Team Loaded won convincingly. Little brother Isaac added 18 and joined the family fun in the second half.

Isaac let it fly off of a great drive and kick passes from big bro. This wasn’t their first rodeo. He finished with 18 points in the win. Not bad for a freshman. 

Richard Goods, the bruising force in the middle for Team Loaded should be a player who sees their profile rise in the coming weeks during the NCAA Live Period. The strong-bodied 6-foot-8 post player leans into his bruiser role. He wanted the action and went and got it. High-major schools should take a look and consider offering him a scholarship. And the national ranking pundits should consider him for a top 100 inclusion in a rankings update for the class of 2024. He was that kind of good in this game.

For Team United, their strength will always be their length and size across the board. It's a collective. Jarin Stevenson has the tools. Cam Scott has that intrigue. Jackson Prunty has the game. You can go on and on about their roster. It's good. 

But on a Saturday afternoon in a convention hall in downtown Raleigh, this was an Ellis show. It was binge-worthy and everyone who crowded around a back corner court saw a show they will certainly remember. 

Justin Young

Justin Young has been the editor-in-chief of since 2013. He manages the day-to-day operations on the site and in conjunction with our national and regional events. He was the national basketball editor for and a contributing editor at Yahoo! Sports. Young has been earned numerous awards for his work in sports journalism, including the Georgia Press Association Columnist of the Year. His Justin Young Basketball recruiting service has been in existence since 2002 and worked with over 300 schools from all levels. He is the director of HoopSeen Elite Preview camps and our national Preview camp series.