Elliott Eliason named the Gophers fourth captain

Jace Frederick

It's now "Captain Eliason," for those asking.

Ok, no it's not. It's just Elliott Eliason (or The Big Easy, as I like to call him), but Eliason was named the Gophers fourth captain on Wednesday by head coach Richard Pitino. The junior center joins senior guards Maverick Ahanmisi and Austin Hollins and junior guard Andre Hollins in Minnesota's captaincy quartet.

"He deserves it," Pitino said. "I think he's worked his butt off, and I think he's separating himself as a leader." 

Eliason has been leading by example on the court this season — his first in a full-time starting spot. He's averaging 6.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Eliason has undoubtedly been the most impactful presence on a thin front line.

"I don't know too many other big men who are playing like him," Pitino said.

Pitino said Eliason is a different type of leader than Minnesota's other three captains. 

"I'd say he's more vocal than our other guys," senior guard Malik Smith said. "People listen to him because he works hard. He's easy to follow."

How'd Pitino tell his starting center the news?

"I said 'Elliott, you probably, on a consistent basis, are top two on our team when it comes to working hard every single day,'" Pitino said. "'I think you deserve this. … Now you've got a little bit of a role on your hand that you need to live up to.'"