Monta Ellis (pronounced "MON-tae", born October 26, 1985) is an American professional basketball player who plays the point guard and shooting guard positions for the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. Ellis entered the 2005 NBA Draft after graduating from Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Warriors drafted him in the second round. He is well-known for being a prolific scorer and taking difficult shots. Monta, Stephen Curry, and David Lee are currently the captains of the team.
Ellis' attended Lanier High School in Jackson where he was named Parade Magazine High School Player of the Year 2005 (along with Greg Oden) and a USA Today All-American. He had committed to Mississippi State University before opting for the NBA in 2005. He scored a career-best 72 points in a game against Greenwood High School. As a junior, he scored 42 points in a 80–75 loss against renowned high school basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, then the #1- ranked prep-basketball team in the country by USA Today, and their star future-NBA forward, Josh Smith, in front of a capacity crowd at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Benton, KY. His 42 points was the most ever scored against Oak Hill by an opposing player. In his senior season he scored 42 points in a game against South Gwinnett High School in which he was guarded by Louis Williams, at the Coliseum. He led Lanier to a 129–16 record in his four seasons as a starter (2002–2005), winning the 4A state championship in 2002 (33–5) and 2005 (35–2, ranked #12 nationally by USA Today) and runner-up finishes in 2003 (31–4) and 2004 (30–5). He scored a total of 4,167 points in his prep career, making him second all-time in Mississippi history. He received first-team all-state recognition from the Clarion-Ledger in all four of his high school seasons and was named Mississippi's "Mr. Basketball" by the paper in 2005.
Drafted by the Warriors in the second round (40th overall) in the 2005 NBA Draft, Ellis was inserted into the starting lineup late in the 2005–06 NBA season, along with fellow rookie Ike Diogu. He scored his first points on December 7, 2005 against the Phoenix Suns on a 3-point shot. He was highly regarded as one of the players to watch during the 2006 summer league, but was unable to compete due to knee problems. After receiving very little playing time as a rookie, Ellis improved immensely coming into his second year and began to show great potential. During the 2007 NBA Draft, the Warriors traded Jason Richardson and second-round draft pick Jermareo Davidson to the Charlotte Bobcats for lottery pick Brandan Wright. The trade freed up about 10 million dollars in salary cap space for the Warriors with which they could sign Ellis as well as fellow young star Andris Biedriņš to extended contracts and allowed Ellis more time at the shooting guard spot. In his third season, Ellis became one of the Warriors' top performers, becoming a clutch player and pulling them through close games. He is often referred to as "the future" of the Warriors franchise.