Elijah Long Identity Unravelled
Elijah Long’s road to becoming a DI student-athlete tells a tale of will power, an unwavering pursuit to build his own identity and be recognized as a top Canadian player in the NCAA.
The Mount St. Mary’s point guard and Mississauga, Ontario native has been overlooked at times, having very few offers after finishing high school and now is in the process of building an identity throughout North America.
Today, as a sophomore he’s erased all doubt of his abilities and is averaging 15 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists 11 games into the season.
Long had a career high 27 point game against UT-Arlington in November on 59% from the field.
Coaches that had showed interest in him, yet passed up on Long as he was graduating high school, are shaking his hand at the end of games and giving him the nod or making a comment to show appreciation for how far he’s come. The recognition bodes a high level of confidence that is still fueling him through the remaining 20 games.
Nothing has come easy for Eli, this season hasn’t been either. The Mount has a 1-10 record from a tough early season schedule that included games against Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa State and Arkansas to name a few.
“Regardless of my stats, in my mind I haven’t done anything yet. We got to get this team some wins.”
Elijah has always been about the “we,” he uses pronouns that include his team as a collective often; a part of his developing leadership traits.
“I’m a team guy, but I got to stay aggressive. I constantly battle and ask myself, ‘should I do more or do less in certain areas?’ Now I’m learning about teammates tendencies.”
Long admits that he was timid in the past and deferred to teammates at times; now in his sophomore year, he is leading his team in both point and assists.
“I lead vocally, that’s something I’ve always done whether that was my high school team on the circuit or any run I’m playing in, but now I’m doing both, by example and vocally.”
The mindset didn’t just flip overnight. It came about from gruelling workouts throughout the summer with his brother Naz Long, a senior at Iowa State and Dillon Brooks, a junior at Oregon.
“My bro brought me to Vegas over the summer and I worked with him all summer at Iowa State…I was around guys that were going to the Draft and it showed me that I’m not far off from where they are.”
Among NBA draft hopefuls providing tips was Iowa State senior point guard Monte Morris, who is projected as 34th pick in the 2017, according to NBA draft express.
“When I was training at Iowa State and working with Monte Morris he gave me a lot of pointers on pick and roll situations and how to play angles.”
Long took full advantage of the experience around him and was constantly willing to take criticism from his peers. The trip to Las Vegas was productive and was coupled with a stay in Ames, Iowa with Naz.
Although he has the utmost respect for his older brother, Long is making sure he’s passed the shadow of constantly being plugged as Naz’s younger brother, by decorating a personal canvas.
“When I came in as a freshman, I always saw it in the media. It’s not a bad thing, but I’m making my own name.”
The constant yearning to get into the gym and work on his craft is relentless. His mind is in a good place right now, and will be the determining factor separating Eli Long from other guards in the Northeast Conference.
Among Canadians in the NCAA, Long is currently the 3rd highest scorer at 15 points per game, behind Kassius Robertson (18 PPG) and Jalen Poyser (16.1 PPG).
On Monday The Mount will face a 7-3 Bucknell which features a guard matchup of former high school and AAU teammates in Eli Long and Bucknell’s Kimbal Mackenzie.
Long’s identity is constantly evolving; from role player, to Naz’s younger brother, to leader, to impact player in the NCAA.