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Bruce Ellington to play basketball during Gamecocks' break

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Stephen Morton/Associated Press
Bruce Ellington, South Carolina's leading receiver, is slated to return to the Gamecocks' basketball team.

If South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington wants to make a pro career out of football, one wouldn't know it by his love for basketball. The two-sport star reached out to Gamecocks basketball coach Frank Martin just two days after South Carolina's football season ended to inquire about re-joining the team, practiced Tuesday, and will play Friday night when the Gamecocks travel to Oklahoma State, according to abcolumbia.com.

Ellington will return to the football team once the bowl preparations begin, and will go back to Martin's basketball team following that.

Just what Ellington, a junior, wants to do with his athletic ability after college is an interesting question. He was recruited on a basketball scholarship, and only picked up football after he had been on campus for a year. But he's led the Gamecocks in receiving for two consecutive seasons, pulling in 43 catches for 645 yards and six touchdowns this year. Last year, he did much the same (40 for 600, seven TDs). But he is also the Gamecocks' most valuable basketball player, having led the team in minutes per game last year (32), while averaging 10 points as a steady, floor-general point guard.

In his news conference Tuesday, Martin raved about Ellington's seamless transition from one sport to the other.

"Twenty minutes in, he already understood some of the things we're doing differently better than some of the guys that have been here for eight weeks," Martin said.

At 5-foot-9, 196 pounds, Ellington's size will be tough to overcome in both sports professionally, though it's sure to be more of a problem in basketball than football. Though basketball is his first love, Ellington said earlier this year that he planned to submit an application for feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. This season is Ellington's final year of eligibility in basketball, but he could return next fall for one more football season.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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