Saturday, December 5, 2015


Tom Keegan: Perry Ellis hasn’t been himself

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) glides in for a bucket against several Harvard defenders during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) glides in for a bucket against several Harvard defenders during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The alleged mystery surrounding Perry Ellis’ sluggish play isn’t all that mysterious. He’s a perfectionist and when perfectionists are burdened by imperfections beyond their control, it sometimes bothers them more than most. It changes their routine, eats at their focus.

Ellis played well in Kansas University’s first three basketball games, not nearly as well in the past three, including in Saturday’s 75-69 victory vs. hard-to-kill Harvard in Allen Fieldhouse.

Healthy hip translated to strong play. Nagging hip injury, less productive play. It very well could be that simple. Other than acknowledging that the hip that he injured late in the UCLA game bothers him a little, he won’t use it as an excuse for diminished play. Of course he won’t. To do so would be to open himself up to accusations of being “soft,” which he must be tired of hearing by this stage of his career, especially given that he battled late last season with a knee injury that required postseason surgery.

Ellis has made just 11 of 28 shots from the field in the past three games, victories against Vanderbilt, Loyola of Maryland and Harvard. Maybe he’s not getting the lift he expects when he goes up to shoot and it throws off his shot.

And if it’s not just the hip, it could be another case of early season blues. As a junior, Ellis was shooting a weak .406 from the field before Christmas. He caught fire late in the Big 12 schedule until suffering the knee injury.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on KU's trouble in putting away Harvard

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self speaks with the media about the Jayhawks' 75-69 victory over Harvard, a game which included the Crimson tying the game late in the second half and KU getting out-rebounded 39-31.

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Ellis will catch fire again, maybe not until his hip stops bothering him. When he does, solid, unspectacular teams such as Harvard won’t throw a scare into Kansas. At this point, Ellis is the only consistent low-post scoring threat on the team. Cheick Diallo isn’t there yet. Carlton Bragg isn’t finishing through contact the way he will later in his career. Landen Lucas’ specialty is rebounding, not post moves. Jamari Traylor’s forte is defense. Hunter Mickelson doesn’t look as if he’ll log enough consistent minutes to develop a confident offensive game. So that leaves Ellis, who averaged 20.3 points in 27 minutes vs. Northern Colorado, Michigan State and UCLA.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Mason, Graham, Lucas discuss KU's narrow win over Harvard

Kansas basketball players Frank Mason III, Devonté Graham and Landen Lucas speak with media members about the Jayhawks' tight 75-69 victory over Harvard, Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Ellis played 27 minutes Saturday and was limited to 12 points and four rebounds.

Self is on the record as saying Ellis’ hip is not a factor.

“I don’t know,” Self said when asked about what has slowed Ellis of late. “He’s such a good player. I mean, he’s such a good player. He played way below the rim today. He hasn’t been the same since we got back from Maui.”

Self stopped himself to clarify he wasn’t blasting his senior star.

“I’m not speaking negatively at all, because I love his game,” Self said. “I think he’s so good. He hasn’t been himself. He hasn’t been aggressive, so I don’t know if he has a flu bug or something going on. Even tonight, he didn’t make moves with any authority and certainly got the ball right where he wanted it and wasn’t able to finish.”

Experience is so important in college basketball and Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr. are the Jayhawks’ most experienced players. With Ellis not himself and Selden limited to 22 minutes by foul trouble, Kansas looked very beatable against 2-6 Harvard.

— See what people were saying about the game during’s live coverage

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Harvard

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, Harvard 69

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, Harvard 69


Brett McCabe 4 years, 7 months ago

Perry continues to be one of my favorite Jayhawks of the past 10 years. Outstanding player, great student and a great representative of the Crimson and Blue.

As before, he'll work his way out of this slump, he'll be first-team Big 12 and will get some degree of All America recognition. He'll be back, with a vengeance.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 7 months ago

I hope it works out that way. If Selden is at the same level or better I doubt both will voted first-team.

David Robinett 4 years, 7 months ago

"Hunter Mickelson doesn’t look as if he’ll log enough consistent minutes to develop a confident offensive game. "

No kidding!! I just don't understand why Coach won't play him more, since he is very productive when he is in the game.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 7 months ago

We looked very beatable. Amen to that.

Our bench was lacking. For a team that was looking very deep to one that hasn't had enough players step up when needed is a concern. Outside of the top four starters we need a lot of improvement and I mean a lot of improvement which will be the determining factor of our success.

Len Shaffer 4 years, 7 months ago

Free-throw shooting didn't help either ...

Humpy Helsel 4 years, 7 months ago

These types of games will happen. OK. We found a way to win, and that will continue. This isn't the 08 team. Not even close. But, dang. Let's get this free throw thing addressed. Not that I know the solution. We should be better. I think. We hit at 75% as a team yesterday and we keep them, or teams in similar types of games when we are not at our best, at arms length. This is a "get to the line" type team. Drivers. Really good, not great, inside players. Pick and roll, dribble drive offensive team. We should get a ton of chances at the line and we have to convert. Teams we play will scout this heavily and this will play into the outcome over and over. "You play Kansas, don't worry that much about fouling them to stop inside shots, and definitely don't let them have anything inside within 3 minutes left. Send them to the line because the clock stops and you have a great chance matching 2 or 3, for 1. They rarely hit two in a row." Honestly, if this doesn't get rectified, this season could end up as a memorable lump of coal for the KU faithful.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 7 months ago

I didn't notice any drop-off in Ellis's game. Seemed as he still won't go strong to the rim, preferring touch shots to slams, poor free-throwing and building his stats by playing 25 plus minutes per game.

The Ellis, Lucas, Traylor big three isn't getting the job done. Time for Diallo, Bragg and Michelson to start logging in more minutes. We NEED Ellis, I recognize that but it is just as clear that we need to reconfigure the minutes played by our bigs. Traylor starting over Bragg and Diallo doesn't make sense to me.

I think Lucas is getting a lot more mpg so Self can minimize the effects of not landing any bigs in next year's recruiting class (we can still land one or two) and Michelson's minutes are being sacrificed for Lucas's development...

Mark Lindrud 4 years, 7 months ago

The problem is Lucas isn't getting better. He hustles, and can rebound, but doesn't play above the rim or attack it on offense. He is what he is, and that is why we need a big time center so that Lucas can be our 5 off the bench, not the starter.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if anybody ever asks why coach play not-so-healthy Perry instead of giving more experience to healthy Diallo/Bragg..

John Boyle 4 years, 7 months ago

Are you serious? Ellis played poorly yesterday and still completely out played Diallo and Bragg combined. We would have lost yesterday if Ellis doesn't play. Diallo is lost on the court and cannot shoot free throws to save his life. Bragg has some offensive skills and can be a pretty good rebounder but he is very weak. He needs to get with Hudy and work hard for the next several months.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe but I don't think so. Bragg, and Diallo played a total combined 16 min. against Harvard. Ellis played 27 min. Ellis had only 12 points and 4 rebounds in his 27 min. on the court. Perry was 5 of 11 from the court - not a bad total but looking at the shots he missed, many were very makeable if he ever went to the basket aggressively

Ellis is an average rebounder at best and not much of a defensive presence. Ellis lacks the size needed in the post and came away with ZERO offensive rebounds. Ellis also made only 2 free throws out of 5 attempts with one being the first of two in the bonus.

Give Bragg or Diallo 27 min. and I'm confident they would surpass Ellis's statistics. I also think Ellis shies away from being the team leader. A role that should have been his to take but he passed it off to Mason.

I've said before that we need Ellis if we are going to make a deep run into the NCAA but he seems to disappear in so many games that are tightly played.

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