Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Leaner, improved Perry Ellis too much for Gorillas

Pittsburg State forward Trevor Gregory (24) reaches as Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) drives up the court during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Pittsburg State forward Trevor Gregory (24) reaches as Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) drives up the court during the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Just a few minutes after watching Kansas University senior Perry Ellis explode for 22 points and 12 rebounds during Wednesday's 89-66 KU victory at Allen Fieldhouse, Pitt State basketball coach Kevin Muff was asked what he thought of Ellis.

The punishment the Wichita native dished out to Muff's team did nothing to change his mind about KU's leading scorer and top weapon.

“I love him,” Muff said. “No. 1, he's a Kansas guy. Just a highly skilled (player), great hands, great feel for the game. I want nothing but the best for that young man, mainly because of the type of person he is. I just love the way he plays.”

KU coach Bill Self said during the preseason that Ellis was leaner and noticeably more explosive heading into his final season with the Jayhawks. Muff agreed with Self and said Ellis' new look was on full display during the exhibition victory over his team Wednesday night.

“I thought he was (leaner) versus two years ago when I was here, just seeing him in person,” Muff said. “I think he is leaner and he's definitely lost some weight and I think the way they call the post defensively now, if he can square guys up and get any hands on him, it's automatic. He really doesn't have to be a back-to-the-basket guy and I think that plays right into his wheelhouse.”

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Pitt State senior Josiah Gustafson, who drew the unenviable but exciting challenge of guarding Ellis for most of Wednesday's game, agreed with his coach and said his goal was to make Ellis work.

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“You just gotta attack him,” said Gustafson, who held his own on the stat sheet with 20 points and eight rebounds. “The game plan was to deny him real hard. If he doesn't touch the ball, I don't have to guard him. We just tried to take him out of what he does best. Being a D-II school like this, you just go in and try to compete and give them everything you've got.”

For a while Wednesday, everything the Gorillas had included relentless physical play and a game that more closely resembled the Big 12 in February than an exhibition opener.

“They have an unlimited amount of big bodies and it's different for us,” Gustafson said. “But that just comes from conditioning and having the heart and never backing down from anybody.”

Added Muff: “I thought we played extremely hard. It was kind of an ugly game but I thought both teams competed... That's kind of what we see our job as, come in here and give them as good of a game as we can.”

In addition to being pleased with the way his team competed, other than the 15-3 KU run that closed the first half, Muff, like all small school coaches who come into Allen Fieldhouse, was incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

“I'd do this every year if we could,” Muff said. “More for my players, just to be able to experience being in this arena and this setting. I think it's great for them.”

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

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Pittsburg State


Jack Hoff 5 years, 4 months ago

Great Effort Pitt State. Good opportunity for your program and players to improve and get recognition. And I certainly think you gave Bill Self some coaching points after a hard fought performance!

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 4 months ago

If our wings (Selden, Mykailiuk and Greene) and going to produce like tonight, this leaner and quicker Ellis will be our 3. Bragg looks way to good to be sitting on the bench. I doubt if Self will show a lot of patience for our wings to come around before giving Ellis an extended look at the 3, which needs to be his pro position.

To me, it's looking like Mickelson is firmly entrenching himself as our 5.

Robert Brock 5 years, 4 months ago

Ellis' pro position won't be decided until he shows up in Greece.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

I like Ellis but he is NEVER going to be our wing other than maybe a few moments in the game. He doesn't have the ball handling skills needed. His approved three point shot will help him in his post game but trying to take a four-year starter at the post position and turn him into something he isn't just isn't going to happen. If Svi, Greene or Selden can't get it together then let Vick have a shot.

Robert, you really don't think Ellis had the skills to play in the NBA? I don't see him in a starting role but I certainly think he has enough talent to be a reliable backup.

Mick Allen 5 years, 4 months ago

We seemed uninspired which is almost predictable. PSU was well coached. They moved the ball and passed it well. Number 3 has good handles and took care of the ball. Defensively we were poor and allowed too much dribble penetration with little defensive help other than Hunter. I would hope Hunter starts to get some of both Landon's and Jamari's minutes. He is a rim protector, has a good touch and is active. He is much more athletic than Landon and certainly more consistent than Jamari. If Diallo is a no go, and I remain optimistic that he will be determined a qualifier, I think Hunter should start with Perry, Wayne, Frankie and Devonte. Once Diallo becomes assimilated and moves to the starting line up, I think Hunter should be the first big off the bench. Bragg was impressive and should get 20 minutes a game.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

One thing for certain is that this Division II team had nothing to apologize for. They never backed down and kept it fairly close for a large part of the game.

Blake Brown 5 years, 4 months ago

Contrary to Muffs comment, Perry Ellis has never had good hands and still does not. He fumbled the ball on many occasions last night as he has all through college. Im amazed that this has not been addressed in practice and conditioning/ strength exercises. On another note, Ellis, who I love BTW, played against a defender who was actually smaller than him. He will have to go up against much taller and stronger opponents in the real season. That`s when his outside game will shine and he will be a force offensively for the Hawks and as such, will open up the inside game for the bigs. Rock Chalk!

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