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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ellis practices, remains questionable

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) heads to the bucket against Texas center Cameron Ridley (55) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) heads to the bucket against Texas center Cameron Ridley (55) during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University junior forward Perry Ellis, who was given the OK to practice on Tuesday by KU’s team doctors, remains questionable for Thursday’s Big 12 tournament quarterfinal game against Kansas State or TCU.

Ellis suffered a right knee sprain in the first half of the KU-West Virginia game on March 3 and sat out Saturday’s loss at Oklahoma.

“Perry Ellis has been cleared to practice as tolerated,” KU coach Bill Self said after Tuesday’s practice. “Perry was evaluated today and the doctors feel that he is right on schedule. He did some basketball activity on Monday. He practiced today, but is still on a limited basis.

“We’re going to wait until tomorrow (today) to see how he feels. If he feels better, then he’ll progress and hopefully practice the entire practice tomorrow. It will still be a game-day decision on whether or not he plays, but he is progressing nicely.”

KU’s quarterfinal game in the tourney Thursday in KC’s Sprint Center will tip 30 minutes after an 11:30 a.m., contest between West Virginia and Baylor. The official schedule lists starting time at 1:30 p.m., but obviously it will be a bit later than that.

More honors: KU’s Ellis on Tuesday was named to the United States Basketball Writers Assn.’s 10-player all-District Six team. Others: Ron Baker, Wichita State; Phil Forte, Oklahoma State; Buddy Hield, Oklahoma; Monte Morris, Iowa State; Le’Bryan Nash, OSU; Georges Niang, ISU; Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa; Fred Van Vleet, WSU; Aaron White, Iowa. Tuttle was player of the year and Northern Iowa’s Ben Jacobson coach of the year.

Home in KC: The Big 12 tournament opens with two games tonight. Kansas State will meet TCU at 6 p.m., with Texas-Texas Tech to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of that contest.

This marks the sixth consecutive year the event will be held in KC’s Sprint Center. The 2016 tourney also is slated to be held in KC.

“Oh yes, the Big 12 tournament should stay in Kansas City,” KU’s Self said. “You can make a case for moving the football around, but I don’t know if the football will move from the Dallas area because you’ve got the Oklahoma schools that are probably happy with that and the Texas schools that are happy with that, but the basketball, I don’t see how you can make a play where it’s a better situation than what we have here, and that’s not because we’re 50 minutes from there. It’s because it’s the best.

“I thought Oklahoma City did a nice job when it was down there a couple times (2009, 2007), but I think all coaches would agree that you’re guaranteed sellouts every game (in KC). It’s unbelievable.”

KU has won three of the past five titles.

“You look at conference tournaments across America, the first-round games, like the Thursday games for us, could be Friday games for somebody else, half the seats will be empty or two thirds of them will be empty. It won’t be like that in our situation,” Self said.

“It may hurt a little bit that us and K-State are on the same side (of bracket), but you’ve got Iowa State on the other side and they draw as well as anybody. It’s great, and I don’t think there’s any coach that would disagree with it being great. Fred (Hoiberg, ISU coach) would rather it be in Des Moines and Lon (Kruger, Oklahoma coach) would rather be in Oklahoma City, but this is probably the best place for it I would think.”

Thursday’s schedule: Baylor v. West Virginia, 11:30 a.m.; KU vs. TCU or Kansas State, 1:30 p.m.; Iowa State vs. Texas or Texas Tech, 6 p.m.; Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, 8 p.m.

Friday’s schedule: Baylor/West Virginia winner vs. KU-TCU/KSU winner, 6 p.m.; ISU-Texas Texas Tech winner vs. OU-OSU winner, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s final: 5 p.m.

“I hope it’s a three-day grind,” Self said of KU’s participation in the three-day tourney. “We’ve got good players. We’re relatively deep. We could go win three or we could basically go home sad Thursday. I think there’s about 10 other teams who could say the same thing going into the tournament. It’ll be a great tournament, as competitive as it has ever been.

“There’s no clear-cut favorite.. If we play like we’re capable of playing and can make other people play poorly, I like our chances.”

Of the tournament, KU sophomore Wayne Selden Jr., said: “I feel it will be high competition. Everybody is going to bring their A-game in that situation. I have a lot of confidence in my team. I feel we have all the tools to do so,” he added of making a run for the title in the Big 12 tourney.

Bragg honored: Future KU forward Carlton Bragg was named honorable mention Naismith Basketball All-America on Tuesday. Bragg, a 6-9 power forward from Villa Angela St. Joseph High in Cleveland, is ranked No. 15 nationally in the recruiting Class of 2015 by Rivals.com.

Comments

Doug Cramer 6 years, 8 months ago

Wouldn't mind seeing Ellis come off the bench in limited minutes.

3 game grind might be a little harsh to come back for.

Get Mickelson more minutes. His length and grit fits well with the Classic Bill Self half court defense. He provides a Withey or Aldridge component with his ability to shot block. The dude is confident and is hungry to play.

Steve Zimmerman 6 years, 8 months ago

Maan.. I wouldn't play Ellis at all if we want to go deeper into the madness. if we can handle the way we played OU, we'll be fine. I don't expect we win it all the way, but I'd rather our key players: Ellis, Selden, Mason get as much rest and healthy as possible. I agree, Mickelson will rock KC. BTW, Aldrich posted 2 double double for the past week, i think. so proud of him.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 8 months ago

Lauren Aldridge is a guard on the women's team. Not much in common with Withey or Hunter, tho there are similarities to LaMarcus Aldridge and Cole Aldrich.

It would be nice to limit Perry and all the starters minutes this week, but a player would seem most warmed up if playing as a starter rather than sitting on the bench for the first half hour.

Brianna Zaleski 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't understand all the "rest the starters" talk. These kids are great athletes who are in the best shape of their lives. Resting will do little for them except make them rusty. With the exception of Perry getting limited mins if he's hurting, I want these kids playing. Now is not the time to adjust what these kids are used to. Play them as normal and let them get back in sync.

John Fitzgerald 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree with not resting the healthy players too much. They need to stay on top of their game and resting them too long can hinder that. But, if you get out to a comfortable lead, maybe give them longer breaks then you would as long as we can keep the lead. I would definitely sit Ellis thursday or at least not have him start, just place him in on an as needed basis.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 8 months ago

The major concerns I will have this week are Selden and Ellis being able to play. If they look gimpy then rest them because it is not worth playing them a lot of minutes this week. We are banged up and hope these guys are okay. This is a fun time to watch college basketball though.

Scott Proch 6 years, 8 months ago

John, just what IS a comfortable lead with this team? Hunter is going to have a break out Tourney in KC! Wish I could be there!

John Fitzgerald 6 years, 8 months ago

Lol that's a great question... And I don't have a clue.

Marc Frey 6 years, 8 months ago

Hoping for three Hoop Tournament Championships Saturday. My 6th grade daughter in a tournament. My HS junior daughter playing in the Wisconsin D-3 Final Four starting Friday, and of course KU winning the Big 12 Tournament. Go Chargers and Rock Chalk!

Walter Bridges 6 years, 8 months ago

Does this at all remind anyone of Embiid last year? It seemed like it was always a day to day decision that never happened.

Janet Olin 6 years, 8 months ago

Walter, your point is valid, but try not to be Debbie Downer. The effort given by non-high-profile players the last game should carry over. Selden's defense was still good, even if his offense wasn't, same story for many games before he sprained his ankle. The good part of it is Landen and Hunter actually getting to play when it matters. Mari is not the most skilled player but has 'stepped up' the last few games. If Greene can pull his head out, they might find something that clicks.

David Kemp 6 years, 8 months ago

This all goes back to Alexander. If Alexander was eligible Lucas wouldn't have been playing and eventually tripping on his own feet and crashing into perrys knee.

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