Henry Ellenson speaks about development in second year

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 30: Henry Ellenson
AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 30: Henry Ellenson /

Henry Ellenson spoke to kids at the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center Wednesday and took time to talk about being a second-year player with the Detroit Pistons.

The Detroit Pistons held court at the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center on Wednesday, holding a free health fair which was open to the public. In addition to the free eye exams and giveaways, the Pistons hosted an open gym with Henry Ellenson and Piston Community Ambassador Earl Cureton.

Cureton spoke to the kids about work ethic and practice, and Pistons Academy coach Aaron Smith told the story of Cureton dunking over Patrick Ewing in 1986, which you can see below.

Shortly thereafter, Henry Ellenson took questions from the assembled kids, told some stories and then had a free throw competition and did some drills.

After the festivities, we had the opportunity to talk to Ellenson about his summer, his development and expectations for the coming season.

Ellenson had a long list of things he’s worked on this summer.

"I feel like an overall better player. I think I’ve learned a lot from last year, that only helps. I feel like I know what we’re doing. I feel more comfortable, I feel stronger. I’ve been hitting the weight room hard. I’ve improved my shot, ball handling, finishing, different things I can do off of that."

I asked him what his development goals were for the summer, and how he feels he’s done in accomplishing them.

"Being able to get stronger in my legs and core, being able to sit lower in my stance, offensively and defensively. Being able to move my feet, being able to be more explosive, hold off guys. I think my versatility as well, being able put it on the deck, go off a pump fake drive or stretch it out and shoot threes. That’s probably the biggest thing, just expanding my versatility."

Ellenson’s strength against opposing big men at the NBA level was a major concern, so improving his legs, core and explosiveness could be a big step as the 20 year old goes into his second season.

He’ll be experiencing an NBA locker room with experienced veteran leadership for the first time this season as Anthony Tolliver and Langston Galloway have both taken leadership stances already this summer. Many of the Pistons players got together in Las Vegas earlier this summer, training in the mornings and practicing in the afternoons. One night at dinner, Tolliver broke into leadership mode.

"“We went out to dinner one night and we were talking, and Anthony Tolliver brought us all in and talked about the season’s expectations. It was deep into dinner so you didn’t expect anything like that, but it shows the leadership. Playing pickup we were getting sloppy in one run and Langston Galloway said “If we’re going to play, we might as well do this right.”"

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With a year under Ellenson’s belt with the Detroit Pistons, he feels like the NBA game should slow down a bit for him.

"I know what to expect for the most part. I know what NBA practices are going to be like, I know what time to go in, what time to watch tape. I think being as a rookie, everything’s just new, like even off the court living on your own. I think going into this year I know what to expect, I feel more comfortable on the court. I’ve always been a confident player in my game, and so I just want to show that more on the court with play calls. Especially early on last year, I was thinking about the play I wasn’t just running it."