Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Opinion: Ellis spectacular in his own way

Kansas forward Perry Ellis puts up a bucket over Iona forward David Laury during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis puts up a bucket over Iona forward David Laury during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self says Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis were by far KU's best in win over Iona

Bill Self says Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis were by far KU's best players in win over Iona

Download podcast

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Perry Ellis, Joel Embiid and Frank Mason share their thoughts on KU's 20-point win over Iona

Perry Ellis, Joel Embiid and Frank Mason share their thoughts on KU's 20-point win over Iona

Download podcast

Kansas 86, Iona 66

Box score

Playing in a basketball program that conceivably could have the first pick of the NBA Draft for the next two years — freshman Andrew Wiggins this year and Joel Embiid the next — it’s easy to find something new and exciting to talk about on the way out of Allen Fieldhouse, easy to leave the Perry Ellis conversation for another day.

Unless, that is, you want to talk about the best player on the team.

On Tuesday, the same night that Embiid, a 6-footer’s feet attached to a 7-foot body, put on a vastly entertaining show that screamed future stardom, Ellis was right where he always is, the foundation holding up a mansion.

Ellis is steady, all right, but leaving it at that comes up short. He’s steadily spectacular. His patient footwork, which enables him to cover so much territory in every direction and eventually breaks down the defender, so often stands out. Against Iona, what he did when he was making mid-air adjustments and driving the baseline made him draw ovations.

Ellis went up in the lane for a shot, pump-faked in the air and shifted his release left, away from the defender, and kissed it off the glass for a bucket. On another play, again in the air in the lane, he shifted the ball from his right hand to his left and kissed off the glass. His quick baseline drive punctuated by a high-flying up-and-under was no routine play, either.

He consistently finds a way to score, and it’s so vital to every basketball team to have a scorer who never drifts away, can always be counted on to kill droughts and get big buckets.

Ellis, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound power forward with a ton of finesse, contributed 21 points and seven rebounds and did not turn it over against a variety of zone defenses used by the Gaels.

“Perry is the perfect answer to that because he can knock that mid-range shot constantly, and he can get to the cup,” freshman point guard Frank Mason said.

Ellis is averaging 19 points and eight rebounds and is shooting .724 from the field, .786 from the line. As a freshman, Ellis averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds.

“I feel a lot more confident, just trusting myself more, trusting the system,” Ellis said.

Nobody has earned more trust from his coach than Ellis.

“He’s been our most consistent guy without question,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Perry’s been terrific. And when some of our freshmen have been up and down, he’s been kind of the rock for us. I’ve been very pleased with Perry.”

At times Ellis on offense looks like a much shorter version of San Antonio Spurs superstar Tim Duncan, The Big Fundamental.

“I expected that Perry could be our leading scorer, without question. I’ve thought that all along,” Self said. “I’ve expected him to be pretty good offensively. The thing of it is, we can all improve defensively, and he’s one of the ones who can for sure. But offensively, he’s pretty good when it leaves his hand.”

Embiid’s rapid progression can be traced largely to his graceful athleticism, extraordinary for his size, and to his already having polished skills and a nose for the ball. But guarding and being guarded by so many different styles of talented inside players is a factor as well.

“I would say this, we can’t stop him,” Embiid said of Ellis. “He has excellent footwork. You think he would go off his left shoulder, and then he would go with his right shoulder. Man, I don’t know, he’s hard to guard.”

Hard to guard and easy to play alongside.


John Randall 5 years, 11 months ago

Perry Ellis isn't the best at any one thing, but he is far and away better than anyone at improving himself at everything. I can't see him any way but moving up the list of favorite Jayhawks to the very top and still be climbing!

Michael Pannacciulli 5 years, 11 months ago

He will probably graduate early and as a reward become a lottery pick after his junior year

Rich Hetherington 5 years, 11 months ago

It's funny they mentioned him looking like a shorter Tim Duncan, because I was thinking the exact same thing and was eager to post it here (which I am anyways), but man does he have that skill set of quietly doing all the things you need of him. He crashes the boards, has good vision and can pass from the post, and like Duncan, can find a way to quietly drop 15-20 on you with good high percentage shots. I love the fundamentals on this guy, and to think he was a 4 time state champion AND a valedictorian... what a great kid!

Dale Stringer 5 years, 11 months ago

After Perry's NBA career, I would love to see him come back as a coach.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 11 months ago

From an overall player development process Perry's best bet would be to do a Paul Pierce and stay in school three years, mature, get stronger, keep expanding his skill set and go as a lottery pick in 2015.

However, if some NBA team wants to back up a dump truck of cash and drop it on his driveway, well, I can't blame him at all.

Bruce Beckum 5 years, 11 months ago

Every time the ball goes into Perry, I assume he's gonna score. And 99% of the time he does. Can't remember when I've seen a player improve as much/fast as him. Last year at this time he looked like a freshman; this year he looks like a junior/senior.

Doug Merrill 5 years, 11 months ago

If these guys keep playing like this and get better as you know they will, I can easily see Ellis, Embiid, Wiggins and Selden all four going in the draft. Black will have to improve rapidly to stay in the rotation. I think that he will be headed overseas.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years, 11 months ago

Black will contribute. By starting, he keeps Embiid out of foul trouble too.

Joe Ross 5 years, 11 months ago

Perry is like Clark Kent off the court, and Superman on it.

RJ King 5 years, 11 months ago

This is the Perry many hoped to see a glimpse of last year. We did at the end. A classic example of how different the college game is from HS - and the pros from college for most players. Much easier to evaluate a kid after a year of adjusting to college ball. Michael Carter Williams and Harrison Barnes good examples of 2-year college players doing well so far in the league.

Tim Duncan a larger version for sure. Does anyone else see Releford as a smaller version? Obviously different positions, Travis more defensive minded, Perry more scoring - but same long torsos, low center of gravity, leg strength, good finishers, patient and . . . similar hairline (smile) ???

Perry made it easier for himself by trusting the system, his coach and himself. Very mature attitude. Would love to see him 3 and done, a la Pierce.

RJ King 5 years, 11 months ago

Perry more aggressive on offense and willing to step up than Travis, but the physical similarities of the low center of gravity for their height comes to mind.

Preston Dwiggins 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree in that we will be lucky to keep a couple from entering the NBA. Wiggins is gone for sure as he has already stated. Embiid and Ellis will have a decision to make for sure. Seldon would do himself good to stay another year along with Embiid, but as we already know, they draft on "potential" and he's projected to go in the top 15. I've been just as impressed with Mason as I have Selden. Personally, if I got to choose which one to keep one more year (given that we can't keep Wiggins); it would be Embiid. His ceiling is extremely high and he can do things most 7 footers cannot. I'm ready to see Wiggins take a few more shots as I feel he's the most athletic player in all of college.

Esteban Tetuan 5 years, 11 months ago

When I think of things that are big in Kansas I think of Perry Lake and Perry ellis!!

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