Imagine Rajon Rondo as a shut-down cornerback. Eric Bledsoe as a punishing strong safety. Or John Wall as an acrobatic, big-play wide receiver.
With Bruce Ellington, Steve Spurrier has a similar scenario this fall at South Carolina.
A season ago as a true freshman, Ellington was a standout on Darrin Horn's Gamecocks basketball team. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound point guard averaged 12.8 points and led South Carolina in minutes played, assists and three-point field goals.
Yet after the Gamecocks wrapped up a 14-16 basketball season, Ellington, a former star quarterback at Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner, S.C., felt a yearning for some football.
"It was just a thing I kind of wanted to do," Ellington said Tuesday via the telephone. "I really wanted to get out there and see if I can still do what I did in high school."
So this fall, Ellington is serving as something of a jack-of-all trades for Spurrier's football team. He returns kickoffs (his 22.8 yards a return ranks sixth in the SEC), plays wide receiver (five catches) and has run the ball six times from scrimmage.
Last Saturday, Ellington caught three passes in South Carolina's upset loss to Auburn. He even drew Spurrier's praise.
"Bruce Ellington ran very good routes," the Head Ball Coach said Sunday. "He caught everything thrown his way."
If one could inject Horn with truth serum, one wonders how he feels about his point guard being on the football field this fall rather than preparing for what could be a crucial hoops season for the basketball coach.
The former Tates Creek High School basketball star and Western Kentucky University player and head coach is entering his fourth year as head man in Columbia and still seeking his first NCAA Tournament trip with the Gamecocks.
Ellington is the most important hoops player in the South Carolina program. Last winter, he had 23 points in a win over eventual elite-eight team Florida; scored 22 points and had seven rebounds in an overtime victory over Vanderbilt; and had a 31-point game against Wofford.
"When (Horn) was recruiting me, he told me if I ever wanted to go play football, it was my choice and my decision. He'd support me 100 percent," Ellington said. "So he was cool with it. He didn't get mad or anything. He told me, 'You can go talk to Coach Spurrier.' Coach Horn is a truthful guy."
As a high school senior, Ellington the football player quarterbacked Berkeley to the Division II-AAAA state championship. In the state finals, he ran for 191 yards and four touchdowns.
He finished that season with 2,878 all-purpose yards and 23 rushing touchdowns.
"I saw enough high school film to tell you he's a great athlete," Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips said of Ellington Wednesday. "We tried to get in the hunt with him."
All of which explains why Ellington did not have to introduce himself to the South Carolina head football coach when he decided to ask to join Spurrier's team.
"They were recruiting me in high school," Ellington said of Spurrier and his staff. "So it wasn't really that intimidating going in there. I just went in and told him. He was fine with it, (said) 'Come on out.'"
When football practice began, the major adjustment Ellington faced was exactly the one you'd expect.
"I really had to get adjusted to getting hit again," he said. "That's the main thing. The first scrimmage, I got knocked around pretty good. And I hadn't played receiver since my freshman year (of high school). So I had to get used to catching the ball."
When UK visits the Gamecocks on Saturday in Columbia, one presumes that most of Ellington's teammates are out to avenge Kentucky's 31-28 upset of then-No. 10 South Carolina in Commonwealth Stadium last season.
Ellington has other scores to settle. In two basketball losses against UK last winter, he shot a combined 4-for-22 from the floor.
"They beat us twice (in basketball)," Ellington said. "So, yeah, I want to go out there (Saturday) and just play my heart out. All players hate losing. I'm one of them."
The plan for Ellington is to return to the South Carolina hoops team once football winds down.
"I think of myself as a basketball player playing football," he said.