Bleacherreport.com lists Bill Self and Perry Ellis as the fifth-best player/coach duo in college basketball heading into the 2015-16 season.
The website explains the duos are ranked “based on their history, how they’ve fared together in the past and what is expected of them in 2015-16.”
Of the KU duo, the publication’s Brian Pedersen writes: “Kansas has had five players taken in the NBA draft over the past three seasons, though all but one of them only spent one year with the Jayhawks. Then there’s Perry Ellis, a strong talent who is similar to a lot of the great players Self has worked with throughout his career, but because he’s still in college, he’s not considered as valuable a player.
“That’s not how Self sees it, however. Rather, he’s looked at the 6-8 forward as a source of stability and consistency amid a time in college basketball when the lure of the pros makes for near-constant roster turnover. Ellis has averaged 10.9 points per game for his career, including averages of 13.5 and 13.8 the past two seasons when he’s become the veteran of a program surrounded by plenty of freshmen.
“It’s been those first-year players who have drawn most of the attention, like Ben McLemore in 2012-13, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid in 2013-14 and Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander last season. Yet as they’ve come and gone, Ellis has remained as a constant presence that’s enabled Kansas to continue its amazing run of 11 straight Big 12 regular-season titles.”
Scott Drew and Rico Gathers of Baylor were 15th and Lon Kruger and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma seventh. The top player-coach duo, by the way, was Gregg Marshall and Ron Baker/Fred Van Vleet of Wichita State.
Ellis recently was skipped over by Sporting News, which listed one Jayhawk — Wayne Selden Jr. — as one of the top 15 players in America. Selden made second team All-America. Meanwhile, fansided.com ranks Ellis the 30th best player in the country, with KU’s Cheick Diallo fourth.
“I don’t look at that,” the 6-foot-8 Ellis said Friday, speaking of lists in general. “That stuff comes after you are done and after the season. I just want to worry about the season, worry about winning, worry about getting better.”
He added: “I just want to continue building on last year, what I’ve done, the years before. I want to add some stuff and there’s still things I can get better at. I want to improve on all those things, just go out and give it my all.”
Leap forward: On the subject of lists ... Bleacher Report’s Jason Franchuk includes KU sophomore Svi Mykhailiuk one of 12 players “most likely to take a big leap forward” this season. Rashard Kelly of Wichita State and Jonathan Holton of West Virginia also were on the list.
“It will be interesting to see how his highly hyped, versatile game blends with an experienced cast. Teammate Wayne Selden also has big designs on a more consistent junior year,” Franchuk writes.
Bleacher Report also lists KU’s projected starting lineup of Selden, Ellis, Mykhailiuk, Diallo and Frank Mason III as the fifth-best starting five in college hoops. Kentucky’s was No. 1 followed by Maryland, North Carolina, Cal, KU, Virginia, Indiana, UConn, Notre Dame and Iowa State.