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Monday, March 28, 2016

Hurting Kansas players hurt more for Ellis

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) has a shot contested by Villanova forward Daniel Ochefu (23) during the second half, Saturday, March 26, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) has a shot contested by Villanova forward Daniel Ochefu (23) during the second half, Saturday, March 26, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Even as much as they were hurting for themselves, because their team had just ended its season a couple of wins short of the ultimate goal, several members of the Kansas University men’s basketball team found a deeper level of hurt for the way senior forward Perry Ellis went out.

Ellis, the team’s leading scorer, model citizen and All-American in the eyes of just about every coach who ever had to face him, finished his career with a rougher-than-ever four-point night on 1-of-5 shooting in a 64-59, Elite Eight loss to Villanova on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

Just like that, a stretch during which Ellis played some of the best basketball of his life — both offensively and defensively — came to a screeching halt in such unspectacular fashion.

Two nights earlier, Ellis exploded for 27 points in a victory over Maryland in the Sweet 16. Ellis dominated large stretches of that game and finished with the most points he ever had scored in an NCAA Tournament game. Against Villanova, which made him the focal point of everything it did defensively, Ellis scored a season low and tallied a point total he had eclipsed in 99 of 107 games since becoming a full-time starter as a sophomore.

“You know, it’s tough,” said junior Landen Lucas, Ellis’ frontcourt mate. “It’s unfortunate. I wish it could’ve been better. But credit to (Villanova). You know, it’s not always gonna be the perfect ending.”

For most Jayhawks, the memories they’ll choose to retain of their time with Ellis will focus on his fun-loving demeanor, fiery competitive drive and consistent work ethic and production.

“He’s just a great guy, and he’s fun, and I just enjoy his personality,” Lucas said. “He doesn’t do much. He just lets his game do the talking. I’m gonna miss him.”

Added freshman guard Lagerald Vick: “I just appreciate that I got the opportunity to play with him, especially the leadership he showed the team and the things he taught me as a freshman, just embracing the things that coach Self said, stuff like that. And he was always in attack mode and aggressive.”

For other, now-former Ellis teammates, such as freshman forward Carlton Bragg Jr., reflections of the time they spent with Ellis will serve as motivation for their own futures.

“Yes, very special,” said Bragg of his bond with Ellis. “I (was) coming in as a freshman just like Perry was (in 2012), and I’m trying to follow in his footsteps. We’ll see what happens.”

Asked what he thought his biggest improvement was during the home stretch of the 2015-16 season that might serve as a springboard for a bigger sophomore season, Bragg explained how he felt more comfortable every time he went out on the floor.

“Just the whole adjustment, coming from high school to college and just playing my role,” Bragg said. “I think I’m gonna have a bigger role next year.”

Comments

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago

The winner of 'The Captain Obvious Award' has been decided. The winner is....Carlton Bragg!! Bragg won the award by stating -“I think I’m gonna have a bigger role next year.”

The guys that should be really hurting are the ones that could not make all those wide open shots, which became available by the swarming on Ellis. For Greene's future as a Jayhawk sake, I hope he really was hurt because he could have defiantly made the difference. I can see the scenario unfold when Self asked him why he didn't go for a ball, Greene might have used an 'injury' as an excuse for being lazy. True or untrue, I can see Self vowing to keep him out of the game, perhaps forever. The guy had all year to get healthy. It's not like he was playing +30 minutes a game.

Glen Miller 3 years, 9 months ago

Greene hasn't done much for several weeks now. Hard to say that he would have been the difference maker. That's a hypothetical and really doesn't matter. No sense in driving yourself mad on the what if's.......

Scott Lippoldt 3 years, 9 months ago

Greene's 3-point shooting stats by month: Nov. 100%; Dec. 50%; Jan. 45%; Feb. 53%; Mar. 14%. To me, that definitely indicates he was injured, and as lazy as he has appeared to be on defense at times, the grab of the players jersey was on a whole different level. That being said, I personally would not be sad if he were to move on, as I would prefer to see the minutes go to Svi (hopefully?) and others.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 9 months ago

As someone who has and still has to deal with sporadic back problems, I can relate to what Greene is dealing with. I have no doubt his back problems are real.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 9 months ago

Unless you have insight on the extent of Greene's injury, Suzi, that's pretty low to suggest he chose to keep himself on the bench rather than play in the two biggest games of his career to date.

If people want to crucify BG for his occasional bone headed plays, fine. But I've never seen or heard anything that suggests he's not a competitor.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago

No doubt, you might be right. I'm just going on past behavioral patterns and questioning why he was playing hurt in the first place. It's' obvious Mason and Graham were also hurting. We need a quality guard, 1 or 2, to step up to give those guys time to heal up to be at their best come tournament time.

Robert Brock 3 years, 9 months ago

Greene will never make much of a difference - he is just a catch-and-shoot guy. Nothing more.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree with Joe 100% that's really pretty sad to insinuate that he in fact might not have had back problems or to the extent. Like Joe said bone head plays yes maybe, but to have no heart or compete- - I don't think so, I personally know from having back issues myself it for sure will restrict movement. just think that was a poor choice or observation of Brennan

Tony Bandle 3 years, 9 months ago

Maybe the title of this article should have been 'Jayhawk Fans Taken Aback, Ask Question, Will Greene's Back Be Back?"

Regarding Perry, I thank him for being a great Jayhawk and I'll give him a pass on his freshmen year, but if you look at the last three seasons big losses, almost without fail, Perry had a bad game. That speaks as much to his fellow teammates not stepping up as to his own poor performances, however.

Just a guess, Perry could be a bench guy in the NBA but a dynamic player Overseas.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 9 months ago

Like many others, I've discontinued posting on this site but will make an exception for a pet peeve or two. One being KU's standards for hanging jerseys (and putting up names in stadiums). For KU basketball, any player who gets in the career top-ten of for scoring should have his jersey hung. Of the hundreds of good-to-great players that KU has had, Perry finished ahead of all but 7 of them.

I'm not a fan of letting writers determine who we determine to be great. All-American honors are great, but I'd prefer that we pick our own guys.

As this relates to football, Todd Reesing holds virtually every single-season AND career passing record at KU. By definition, he's the best we've ever had. But because a bunch of goof writers or coaches don't see him as an All-American he can't have his name up in the stadium? Beyond goofy.

If you are a top-ten guy in the history of the university, you belong in the rafters.

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 9 months ago

Suzi has a long history of trash-talking certain players that don't meet her personal "cultural standard of etiquette" and kicking them while they're down. Look back at her comments about how she would never attend a KU game that Cheick Diallo played in, which turned out to not be true, and her terribly insensitive personal attacks on Naadir Tharpe and rude comments about his family members after he left the team. Unfortunately this is par for the course with Suzi...

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago

That is an insane comment with disgusting spin on the Diallo statement. .

Justin Kruse 3 years, 9 months ago

Definitely wish Perry could have ended his college career with a national championship. Seems like a great kid and it's been great having him as a Jayhawk for 4 years. We're really going to miss him next season. Jersey in the rafters?

Tim Browne 3 years, 9 months ago

I do enjoy the sense of entitlement etched in this Headline and story. I mean, Perry went to KU EXPECTING to go to the Final Four every year and EXPECTING to win at least a National Championship or three. Sheeeeeeeesh. Just so we're all clear, there have been roughly SEVENTY FIVE NCAA tourneys dating back to the 1950s. KU has won THREE. UCONN, for example, has won two in the past six years. Let's come down to earth. K?

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 9 months ago

Have to disagree, Adam. Perry in his own way was a great leader. Just ask the other players like Landen and Carlton who are quoted in the article. They are the ones that count and are in the best position to evaluate leadership. You and I don't have near the qualifications to judge his leadership.

I am continually impressed by Landen. He is another one who I consider to have leadership qualities in abundance. I'll also bet on Carlton achieving that status as he goes forward.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 9 months ago

P.S. I agree with you, Brett about the criteria for jersey hangings, etc. Never fear, though, Perry's will be hanging from the rafters.

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

I really don't know where else to put this. I could never figure out how Nova moved from No. 1 in the AP to the overall number 8 in the tournament. I, like the rest of you, was disappointed with the KU loss, but after seeing what Nova did to OU, I'm beginning to feel like this should have been the championship game. So far Nova has hung about 30 more points on everyone they played in the tournament than they did the Jayhawks. And, KU finished with a close game that could have gone either way. Everyone else has been blown out. It's a shame this game wasn't the final.

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