Perry Ellis coming on stronger in D League
The only thing more predictable than Perry Ellis getting off to a slow start in the NBA Development League was him coming out of with strong performances.
That's how it generally goes with Ellis, a perfectionist whose confidence tends to arrive later than his intelligence. Ellis needs to figure things out, get them down pat, before he feels comfortable doing them and develops confidence that allows his aggressiveness to bubble to the surface.
Fifteen games into his professional basketball career, Ellis averages 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds and 20.2 minutes for the Greensboro Swarm. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 218 pounds, Ellis totaled 37 points in 47 minutes in his past two games combined.
Playing in the D League must have come as a shock to Ellis' system because ballhogs rule the league and Kansas puts a premium on unselfish play. At Kansas, playing unselfishly for Ellis meant putting up a lot of shots because he was the team's top scorer in his final two seasons. He constantly was urged to play more aggressively.
Ellis' numbers-by-month reflect his improvement. In eight November games, he averaged 18.1 minutes, 4.5 points and 3.8 rebounds and shot .405 overall and was 0 for 7 from 3-point range. In seven November contests, Ellis has averaged 22.6 minutes, 12.1 points, 5 rebounds and has shot .492 overall and .400 on 3-pointers.
Statistics don’t necessarily mean much, but the ones that pop off the page can make for interesting discussion.
Some noteworthy ones compiled by Kansas basketball players 11 games into the season: Frank Mason, at 5-foot-11 three inches shorter than the next-shortest scholarship teammate, Devonte’ Graham, is tied (with Josh Jackson) for the team lead in defensive rebounds with 43.
Udoka Azubuike is eighth on the team with 142 minutes and first with 18 blocked shots. Graham has 50 assists and 17 turnovers. Azubuike has two assists and 15 turnovers.
Mitch Lightfoot is 1 for 8 from the free-throw line, 1 of 2 from 3-point range.
Out of 351 Div. I teams, the Jayhawks rank 10th in the nation in 3-point percentage (.418), 13th in 2-point percentage (.573), 344th in free-throw percentage (.600), per kenpom.com. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has played 280 minutes, Lagerald Vick 276, which makes for handy comparisons. Svi averages 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Vick averages 9.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists.
No need to pack heated benches
Noted conspiracy theorist Tim Fitzgerald of gopowercat.com, my co-host on The Drive (Sunday nights at 10:30 on WIBW-TV), finds it a little suspicious that the Texas schools play each other in the final week of the 2017 regular season. He wonders if the motive behind that is keeping them out of the cold. For what it's worth, when Fitzgerald voiced his suspicion Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” written by Steven Stills, started playing in my head and hasn’t stopped since.
It could be the line, “Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep.”
Neil Young, by the way, wasn’t allowed to sing many of the songs he wrote because some behind-the-scenes genius thought his voice was too different. Different, what a horrible thing for an artist in any field to be, right?
The Kansas-Kansas State game won't be played on the final week of the regular season, rather on Oct. 28 in Memorial Stadium.