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Monday, December 31, 2012

Kansas PF Perry Ellis flashes potential

Kansas defenders Perry Ellis, left, and Jamari Traylor collapse on American forward Stephen Lumpkins during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas defenders Perry Ellis, left, and Jamari Traylor collapse on American forward Stephen Lumpkins during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas defenders Perry Ellis, left, and Jamari Traylor collapse on American forward Stephen Lumpkins during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Guys who go against Kansas University freshman Perry Ellis every day — his frontcourt teammates — say the power forward’s double-double against American University is a sign of huge things to come.

“Perry is getting more confident every day,” said KU senior center Jeff Withey, impressed with the progress of Ellis, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound McDonald’s All-American out of Wichita Heights.

Ellis scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Saturday’s 89-57 rout of the Eagles, becoming the first KU freshman since Thomas Robinson to record a double-double. Sacramento Kings rookie Robinson had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State in 2009.

“He’s not hesitating when he catches it. When he catches it, he’s making moves, which we need him to do,” Withey added. “He’s getting more experience under his belt. That makes up for a lot.”

Noted junior forward Justin Wesley: “Perry is a natural scorer, a great scorer. There are times you give him the ball (in practice), he scores a bucket every time.”

Ellis on Saturday scored in double figures for the first time since a 12-point outing against Washington State on Nov. 19, 2012, in Kansas City’s Sprint Center. He had a career-high 15 points in the season opener against SE Missouri State.

“He thinks too much. He wants to please everybody. He doesn’t want to mess up,” noted Wesley, who said he has spoken a lot with Ellis and red-shirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor about their still-developing games. “You kind of have to think next play.

“Once he gets past that (thinking too much), I think he’ll take off,” Wesley added of Ellis.

For the year, Ellis has averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15.0 minutes per game. He has hit 28 of 56 floor shots for 50 percent. He has made 16 of 23 free throws for 69.6 percent.

What does he need to work on most?

“Aggressiveness,” Ellis said. “I need to get in the rhythm of the game and just get better. I have to continue working hard at practice and bringing energy. Practice is the key.”

Ellis says the Jayhawks (11-1), who will meet Temple (10-2) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, in Allen Fieldhouse, have been working hard on defense.

“I can see in practice, that’s where coach is really pushing us to get better ... on the defensive end,” Ellis said. “I can see the push he’s trying to get us to do on that side of the court. I see a lot of confidence building, guys working and getting better.”

KU coach Bill Self praised Ellis in introducing him to KU’s holiday campers last week: “He is the most heralded recruit ever from the state of Kansas, all-time leading scorer in Wichita. He can score. He has a chance to be great.”

Ellis on point guards Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe: “They are real vocal on the court both with the bigs and littles. That’s something that helps me out, helps everybody out, really. They know where I like the ball. That helps me, too.”

Ellis on 7-footer Withey: “I can see how Jeff would be intimidating (against a penetrating guard). It’s good to have him on our team.”

Wesley contact coming: KU junior reserve Wesley, who broke the little finger on his left hand on Dec. 13, is expected to return to contact drills later this week. It’s possible he could play in the Temple game. Temple improved to 10-2 on Monday by defeating Bowling Green, 75-57, in Philadelphia. It marked the 1,800th win in school history. KU has 2,081 wins.

Ben dances, Jayhawks follow: Rio Adams posted a funny clip on his Facebook page of Ben McLemore and the Jayhawks dancing in the locker room. The clip is at http://i.minus.com/iynCsXZR3nUrq.gif

ESPN’s Andy Katz in his Monday musings: “Happy 50th birthday to Bill Self. I’m not sure there is a more perfect coach for Kansas. He will go down as one of the top coaches of his generation when he’s done.”

Comments

kugrampy 1 year, 9 months ago

Always enjoy seeing a Kansas kid create success for themselves, especially when he/she is wearing a KU uniform.

fearthephog512 1 year, 9 months ago

"Practice is the key." Love this kid!

Rock Chalk 2013!

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 9 months ago

If Ellis catches on this season and everyone else continues to improve....WOW! Rock Chalk.....Happy New Year!

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

The 4.0 Ellis is just more cerebral than most players, so the thinking part of his game will take a bit longer, but he is still a stud. Iexpect him to be cruising by Feb/March/April.

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 9 months ago

Ken Koenigs was also a 4.0 cerebral, 6'10" player from Wichita. KK had it down pretty well half way through his freshman season playing behind Danny Knight and Rick Suttle. Ellis needs to develop and play with confidence using his mid range jumper. He's not going to be able to back down players in the lane without facing weakside help from a big.

BROJAYHAWK 1 year, 9 months ago

IF ELLIS KEEP ON WORKING TO GET BETTER IT WILL COME TO HIM

actorman 1 year, 9 months ago

ARE YOU SURE? I CAN'T TELL IF YOU'RE CONFIDENT ABOUT IT!!!

REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

This Christmas break works well for the hoops development of Perry Ellis. He is a conscientious thinker and scholar, adjusting intensely both to Bill Self basketball and freshman coursework. For the first time in his academic life he might not have earned a perfect A level grade report. First semester has presented a stressful menu for a recent high school valedictorian and all-American athlete who professes to strive for excellence in everything he does. After completing Finals, he probably has been able to shift complete focus into basketball. Hopefully, he can back off somewhat and select less challenging spring semester coursework, continue to soar on the court. Kevin Young's bigtime energetic senior devleopment has allowed Bill Self to relieve some of the early pressures from the expectations for Perry. The kid is a very special scholar/athlete who is bound to leave a huge imprint on Kansas basketball.

KUFan90 1 year, 9 months ago

He is saying all the right things and looked improved vs American. Good signs.

The next step is to perform against a quality team with elite athletes. That is where he has struggled...making the transition to playing against the next level of competition. He has seemed surprised at times against better players when they can react faster, jump higher, bigger bodies, etc.

A big performance in a situation like that will mark a real step in his progress.

Robert Brock 1 year, 9 months ago

Ellis needs to work with Hudy for a couple of years. He is weak and plays way below the rim.

Ken Sedgwick 1 year, 9 months ago

Perry is the best bunny shooter I have seen in a long long time. His value to this team raises daily. ReRead REHawk!

jhawkrulz 1 year, 9 months ago

Kevin Young handles the bunnies really well.

KansasComet 1 year, 9 months ago

Perry Ellis is a freshman, he will be okay and he has great teammates. Nothing to worry about. It will come in time. By year 2 or 3 he may be one of the best players in college basketball. I am just glad we have him.

akgjenkintown 1 year, 9 months ago

The video reminds me that although we expect great things from these young men and put undue pressure on them to win, they are all still just kids at heart. One of the memories that stood out most during the trip to Europe this summer was watching the team play at a little kids' playground in France after dinner. Watching these young men having fun on the swings and a tiny merry-go-round brought a smile to our faces (and concern they would get hurt flying off the merry-go-round spinning at speeds never seen when carrying the 4 year olds for which it was intended). They are clearly a loose bunch and enjoy being around each other. Team chemistry cannot be underestimated and Self and his staff seem to have the ability to recruit players that bend and support each other. I hope they continue to have fun throughout the season!

Tony Bandle 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah, but how come Coach Dooley hasn't smiled in about a decade!!! :)

kranny 1 year, 9 months ago

Ellis' situation is a bit precarious because of his size. He typically has to defend a 4 or a five but being a 6' 8" freshman makes that extremely difficult. You can tell that against bigger guys he has a hard time figuring out which way to defend his man for the entry pass. I don't think he plays weak as Brock suggests, I think he plays as a freshman still because he hesitates. He's averaging almost 4 rebounds a game in one quarter of playing time which isn't bad. Offensively, Perry posted up a lot in High School so he's simply trying to continue that game. The catch and shoot midrange shots he buried the other day in addition to the trey he knocked down are indications that the light is starting to come on. I think of Perry as a 6'8" Tim Duncan(Big Fundamentals). He's going to be a good one.

REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

And we have to remember that, coming out of high school, Perry expressed the desire to play the 3 position in college. Without a considerable growth spurt, that is where he will play professionally. He is adjusting, both in mind and body, to a position which tests his current boundaries. As jaybate might well proclaim, Perry's neural net connectors are not yet in sync with his age and experience.

mikehawk 1 year, 9 months ago

If not for all of the pre-hype, McD stuff and State of Kansas championships, we would see the development of this kid and go Wow! Instead, we view him in the context of expectations, which he may have himself, of someone who should just step in and be a star right away. Name a freshman in HCBS system of defense and demands who has been able to do that consistently? Perry Ellis is doing fantastic!

REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

+1. Defense and demands. Naadir Tharpe could write a current chapter in that Bill Self compendium!

MizzouBest 1 year, 9 months ago

Happy 2013, everyone. Just wanted to check in with you guys. KU looks great, again. I think MU is good......but not in KU's league.

I miss the Big 12!!

TheBoHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Hahaaha... Any guesses as to what song Ben & Co. were dancing to??

lv_jhwk 1 year, 9 months ago

Just chanting by the players. Check it out yourself (from the actual source) here:

Robert Murphy 1 year, 9 months ago

Her comes dad, just has to settle them down. We're going to be really good. No turnovers and no missed shots. Watch out for that defensive lapse. One defensive lapse is one too many. Thankfully, Johnson gave coach a hug at the end to make him feel better.

jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

"The Cred Stops Here: The Respect Starts There"

What I want to remind everyone about Perry is this: he has entered being asked to play:

1) out of position at the 4;

2) at a position that typically requires guys to have to get better for a year before they impact; and

3) first the muscle 4 (TRob expectations), then the garbage 4 (early Marcus expectations), and now this crazy new finesse 4 where no one tries to stay on spots and everyone is supposed to explode out of their position once they are shoved.

Despite all of this, Perry has managed to play 10-15 minutes of adequate ball most games behind a breakthrough 5th to 6th year senior depending on how you count Kevin's lay out time. And during all of this, Perry has had to learn how to play with greater explosiveness and he has still been able to turn on the scoring almost anytime Self let the team play through him some.

Perry has already had a double-double as a reserve, admittedly against a mid major, but still he did it.

Perry is a big, big plus for this team.

And Perry is getting better after a slump and a plateau period.

It is totally believable that a freshman working hard at non-jock level academics would have been a bit overloaded in late November and early December.

But now he gets how big the steps are. He is clearly a guy who has to get his head around things before he can perform well. Though I never played college ball, I was this way about many things all the way up to college, and even some as a professional. I started kind of slow, while I was wiring the menu of what needed mastering, but then I snowballed and finished very strong. So: I identify strongly with Perry Ellis and now have little doubt he will be a stud come February, not a 35 mpg starter, but likely a 20 minute man that comes in and gives solid defense, good rebounding, and instant points.

Jeff Withey is very near to giving Perry his blessing. This is very big. It could come sometime during the next four games. Jeff's quotes confirm that everyone now believes Perry can do it at this level. Now the only thing is for Perry to do it in a tough game, when it is needed.

jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

Perry will not let them down. And this will get him admission to the core of the team.

Perry is approaching the same kind of moment as the moment last season, when Tyshawn and Thomas let Jeff into the inner circle after Jeff took a serious mouth shot, and then came back the next game and got after them stitches and all. Its the same kind of moment Thomas Robinson faced when he was trying to enter the inner circle of Marcus and Markieff. You can like a guy. You can know his cred is hot. But that's not the same as entering the4 inner circle.

The cred stops here. The respect and admission to the inner circle of team starts now.

Perry is at the moment of transition.

Among athletes, respect for ability and prior accomplishments is real from the beginning. Every guy on the team recognized Perry had cred from all the high school rings and the ranking and from playing grab with him. But among teammates, there is another level of respect. It is the level of respect that only comes with doing something the teams need you to do, when it needs doing. At that level of respect, all the cred doesn't matter, all the stars, all the accomplishments, all the ceiling...none of that matters. The teammates look in your eyes in the huddle and out on the floor. Their eyes tell you you have do it, or you can't be one of them. They will give you the ball, if that's what the coach says, but you then have to prove to them not that you are good, not that you are going to be a star some day, but that you can do what the team needs NOW! Ben had to walk through this wicket. Kevin had to walk through this wicket. Naadir is walking through this wicket. Jeff Withey's quote is saying the starters are now waiting for Perry to do it.

He will.

nostradavid 1 year, 9 months ago

Ben is going to be hard to catch in the scoring race, but I think Perry could still do it. The competition will be good for the whole team.

He is going to have more competition next year when Conner Frankamp comes to town. He set the City League single game scoring record as a sophomore (52), and will probably break Perry's all-time record this year (playing for North High - not a traditional powerhouse like Heights, where Perry & Darnell played). They will be an awesome inside-outside combo.

I still believe this: "Perry won't leave KU until the goal of National Champion is achieved. Of this you can rest assured." - from a reply of mine about Perry's current goals (AW3 article) on Nov.4. Perry is smart, and serious about his goals. The dollar difference between being drafted mid-first round and being the top lottery pick is worth the wait. The number of years he plays at KU will depend on when the goal is achieved.

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