Breaking down new hoops transfer: Eli Long

Elijah Long. (courtesy of popgates.com)

Elijah Long. (courtesy of popgates.com)

When 6’0 sophomore guard Eli Long visited Texas this past weekend, the Canada native (and Mt. Saint Mary’s point guard) knew he was looking for something bigger than where he was.

Having played in the NCAA Tournament this year (including being a part of an opening round win over New Orleans), Long had a decision to make about his future. Namely, whether he wanted to stick around Emmitsburg, MD or follow the footsteps of his older brother (former Iowa State standout Naz Mitrou-Long) and try his hand in the Big 12.

Texas, for their part, were happy to oblige, and took his commitment gladly.

Strengths:

  • big time shooter from deep (38% last year on threes)
  • hard nosed ball handler
  • play maker with the ball as a creator
  • comfortable both as a point or combo guard away from the ball
  • just about the perfect complement to Coleman as a scoring guard who can also create
  • sneaky athlete with quickness and strength
  • comfortable shooting off the bounce
  • has plenty of big game experience and shown well against multiple P5 teams

Weaknesses

  • not terrific length for a player off the ball
  • can get caught up in the hype of a game and some “hero ball”
  • shot selection can be an issue
  • has no problem taking risks as a playmaker, sometimes for worse

How he fits:

As previously stated, Long is almost the perfect companion piece to Matt Coleman for a few reasons. First, he’s a known commodity and, hence, not a reach; Second, he is equally comfortable play with or without the ball, which is big considering Coleman is really only a point at this juncture; Third, Long’s presence on the team will allow for Texas to have leeway with point guard recruiting moving forward where they can work to get a stud but need not worry about reaching for a project (important because of the presence of Coleman); Fourth, he brings that toughness and swagger that Coach Smart lacked this past season.

What people close to the program are saying:

“(Eli’s) terrific from three. He’s more guard than point guard, but people will love the dog in him.”

“Dude’s an assassin. Not afraid of anything or any situation.”