Roc Nation Henry Ellenson

Henry Ellenson is a Wisconsin high school basketball legend. As a senior in 2015 at Rice Lake High School, Ellenson was named Wisconsin Mr. Basketball, a McDonald's All-American and a First-Team Parade All-American. He went on to Marquette, where he played one season before getting selected No. 18 by the Pistons.

Ellenson, 21, also competed for Rice Lake in the high jump and discus. But he couldn't keep up in one of Northern Wisconsin's most competitive sports: Curling.

Although Ellenson won't be representing the United States at the Olympics next month, he is no slouch and has the mechanics down.

"I didn't really get into curling until high school," Ellenson says. "My mom is a P.E. teacher (at Rice Lake) and for a unit, we had curling. That's when I first fell in love with it. We got to play and got to learn how to sweep and do all the things. That's when I first got introduced to it. I loved it ever since. They have Curling Night in America and my mom texts me every time it's on."

Now in Detroit, Ellenson is in another curling hub, but he isn't around too much curling talent at the Pistons' practice facility, with all due respect to Andre Drummond, Stan Van Gundy and incoming teammate Blake Griffin.

However, news of Ellenson's curling enthusiasm did trickle over to the Detroit Curling Club, which is hosting the U.S. Junior Men's National Championships Jan. 27-Feb. 3. Last Friday night, Ellenson stopped by the rink and hung out with Team Stopera, one of the elite squads hoping to earn a spot in the World Junior Men's Championships in March in Scotland.

"I had some questions as a fan and I was able to throw some rocks," Ellenson says. "Just a fun time getting to know those guys. They're all my age!

"They asked me question because we were playing the Thunder the next day, so they asked me about going against guys like Melo and Russ and Paul George. And we were playing Cleveland [twice] after that."

For his appearance, the curlers gave Ellenson a Team USA jersey with his name and number on the back. They also gave him an honest critique of his game. At 6-11, he creates some problems for himself.

"A couple of the guys on the team were saying I could get good leverage on the rock, but it is a little challenging,"Ellenson says. "The brooms are long enough, but the sliders for your feet...they didn't have any size 18 sliders for my feet."


As for his work on the court, Ellenson averaged 3.2 points in nine games as a rookie. In 18 NBA games this season, he is averaging 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds, but Ellenson is optimistic his moment is coming.

"Our team's not performing how we'd like to right now," Ellenson says. "I feel like my opportunity's coming soon. I feel like over my two years, I've gotten better, I've put in the work, staying in the gym, staying in the weight room, doing what I can to stay ready."

That's good news, considering as much as he loves curling, Ellenson will be watching the action in PyeongChang from his couch. Or the Pistons' locker room chairs.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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