Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Signee Perry Ellis a valedictorian

Wichita Heights basketball player Perry Ellis stands after announcing his decision to attend Kansas on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Wichita.

Wichita Heights basketball player Perry Ellis stands after announcing his decision to attend Kansas on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Wichita.


Incoming Kansas University basketball forward Perry Ellis served as one of four valedictorians at Wichita Heights High School’s graduation ceremony on Tuesday.

Ellis, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound McDonald’s All-American, completed his prep career with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. He served as secretary of his school’s National Honor Society chapter and volunteered for the Wichita Children’s Home as well as the Real Men, Real Heroes’ Teen Hero program. He also was part of multiple youth literacy-outreach initiatives and worked as a motivational speaker to youth athletes.

The four-time Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year last season averaged 25.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game for the four-time state champs. He shot 67.0 percent from the field, 43.4 percent from three-point range and 78.3 percent from the free-throw line.’s No. 24-rated player in the Class of 2012 told he will report to KU for summer school sometime between June 1 and 4.

“A lot of good people around basketball have been through Kansas. I’m thankful that I’m going to be a part of it and I’m ready to get better,” said Ellis, who said he will wear his high school number of 34 at KU.

Freeman switches schools: Allerik Freeman, a 6-3 senior-to-be from Olympic High in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday announced on Twitter he’ll be playing basketball at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., next season.

Freeman, the No. 25-rated player in the Class of 2013 by, has a final list of Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, Villanova and UCLA. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals last season for 28-2 Olympic High.

“Findlay is kind of like the Oak Hill (Academy) of the West,” ESPN’s Dave Telep told the Charlotte Observer. “It’s one of those places that a lot of high-level kids in the last five years have opted to attend. Allerik’s a high-level, high-major basketball player, and he’s going to a place where he’s not going to be the only one. I don’t know enough about it, but his reasoning probably includes playing with and against other high-level guys on a daily basis.”

Findlay went 32-1 last year.

Withey speaks: Kansas University senior-to-be Jeff Withey, in a Q-and-A with’s Myron Medcalf, said the Jayhawks were a motivated bunch last season in winning an eighth-straight Big 12 title and reaching the national title game.

“We felt like every time we played, we felt like everyone was saying we were going to lose and not make it very far. Missouri was going to do this and that. Missouri’s our rival so we wanted to upstage them, of course,” Withey said. “It’s just a great way that this whole year went. It went perfect for us. It was awesome.”

On returning for his senior season: “I definitely considered it (turning pro). It was definitely a dream of mine to play in the NBA. I thought about it. I talked to my parents about it. I talked to my coaches about it. At the end of the day, I felt like it was better to come and graduate and maybe go a lot higher than I was projected to go.” The full interview is available at

Hanni lands Tech post: Brian Hanni of Lawrence’s KLWN on Wednesday was named radio voice of Texas Tech men’s basketball.

Hanni, a 2002 KU graduate who is originally from Topeka, spent the last decade broadcasting KU athletics, including eight seasons working the KU women’s basketball broadcasts, 10 seasons with KU baseball.

“We’re extremely excited to have someone as good and exciting as Brian to continue the very proud tradition of broadcasting Red Raider Basketball,” said Tech coach Billy Gillispie. “He has a vast array of experiences that will help make Red Raider Basketball a lot of fun.”

Hanni is the fifth voice of Tech hoops since 1953, joining Jack Dale (1953-2003), John Harris (2003-06), Steve Dale (2006-07) and Mark Finkner (2007-12).

In the community, Hanni co-founded and served as a youth leader for the Lawrence Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is the founder and director of the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, an annual celebrity basketball game raising money for children fighting cancer.


Bobby Burch 10 years, 2 months ago

Way to go, Ellis -- proud that you're a Jayhawk! I'm excited to see what his role will be on the 2012 - 2013 team. Potential 3- or 4-year player? Seems like he might want to finish with a degree ...

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 2 months ago

Smart kid makes a smart choice. KU education vs. UK education would be one reason. Coach Self a second.

I am thrilled to have him in the fold! What a career he has ahead of him.

Alohahawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Is there an honor, as a high school teenager, in which Perry Ellis has not excelled? Valedictorian...Wow! Congratulations to Perry, and to his parents, who must be very proud of their son. Will look very much forward to the first time Perry appears on court as a Jayhawk. I have little doubt he will excel there as well.

Rock Chalk, Perry.

Alec White 10 years, 2 months ago

I think Ellis will be ready to contribute right away. He's the type of kid that will benefit even from only a few months of KU's resources (Self, Hudy, etc), because you know he will bring it everyday. I'm not questioning our other players' committment...just that Perry is solely focused on basketball (and school). Hearing him talk, his enthusiasm to improve every facet of his game reminds me of TROB. Not having Danny will hurt a little bit. But Self and his staff will do just fine.

About Withey...I like his comments. I've never heard him sound so confident---and he definitely plays better when he believes in himself. His game transformed after one HUGE game. That's all it took. I don't think we can rely exclusively on Withey for our offense in the post, but he singlehandedly changes the game on the defensive side when he's locked in. If Traylor is the very capable defender he's made out to be, I can actually see myself digging our post game this year.

texashawk10 10 years, 2 months ago

Ellis probably is a 3 year player instead of a 4 year player because of his education. Since he graduated as valedictorian, he likely has quite a few college credits already from taking AP classes. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he's academically classified as a sophomore after his first semester because the amount of college credits he already likely has. He's also probably the type of student who will be taking classes during summer school and winter break every year, so he is someone who is a strong candidate to graduate in just 3 years instead of 4.

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 2 months ago

Everyone is excited about Perry Ellis playing ball at KU, no doubt. He's coming in with some great opportunities and it sounds like he's the type of kid that deserves them.

Another player with KU high on the list, always a good thing. I feel like there are enough good players with interest in KU, even if Harris goes to UF I have faith Self is going to bring in 3 more great guys in next year's class.

Withey, you're all heart, we love ya, I was so excited for TT and TRob to have great final seasons at KU and it happened. I want it just as bad for EJ, TRel and W if not even more. All those guys have shown such great dedication to their team and their individual development. They have to want it just as bad this year. If they do it's going to be a wonderful season.

I know UK fans hate Gillispie, but he's obviously an excellent coach. That downfall at a program like UK can taint in ways that are hard to bounce back from, just ask Matt Doherty. Would like to see TT bball on the rise though. It's a long ways down from his A&M post honestly, had TCU been wise enough to look his way that could have been a nice fit.

Ben Kane 10 years, 2 months ago

talk about the opposite of a 4 school AAUer, a 1 school valedictorian... awesomeness!

omng392 10 years, 2 months ago

Congratulations to Mr. Perry. His parents should be extremely proud and he should be proud of such an accomplishment!!! Way to represent the Jayhawk nation. I believe that Mr. White another incoming freshman is also a 4.0 student. There is something to be said about character.

RJ King 10 years, 2 months ago

Lucas reportedly has around a 3.7gpa, and was offered scholarships by Stanford and Cal (among others).

I couldn't agree more with your comments. While fun to WIN with the Morri, those teams were simply NOT the most likeable. Brady had a little thugitude as well. And yes, a few times I'd watch T-Robb and think, "C'mon Thomas, don't go there. You're better than that!"

Last year's team was so endearing. Even - maybe especially - Tyshawn, who matured before our very eyes. EJ, T-Rel, Withey, and KYoung all class acts. B-Mac and Traylor have a year's worth of maturation under their belts, and seem ready to represent. So much more fun and pride rooting for likeable, classy players.

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Congratulations, Mr. Perry Ellis. Your hoops and academic success place you in a very rare atmosphere. Leaves me to wonder precisely how many former Jayhawk players have ever entered the program with such magnificent credentials, esp. coming from a public school with an enrollment of over 1000 pupils. McDonald's All American, blessed with size, and an earnest 4.0 student valedictorian: WOW!

Steve Gantz 10 years, 2 months ago

So there shouldn't be a question about his eligibility?

ku_foaf 10 years, 2 months ago

They will be suspicious why he didn't go to more than one HS

jayhawkliz 10 years, 2 months ago

What a great addition to our school. Congrats!

Jack Wilson 10 years, 2 months ago

Nice story of course. Great kid. Glad he's coming to KU.

But the 4.0 stuff is just icing on the cake. Self (of course) doesn't focus on academics in his recruiting efforts .. except the hope that they are eligible (and we know how that has turned out in three recent incidences). He focuses on players.

Basketball reality: If Perry is a solid player, the 4.0 and valedictorian stuff will be a nice story that game announcers will mention. But if he comes in and flops on the court, no one will care that he had a 4.0 and was a valedictorian. Example .. if Selby would have been a 4.0 valedictorian, would it matter to you now?

Reality of Life: Perry Ellis will be fine with or without basketball. Selby, not so sure.

Let's hope Ellis is a player.

kkoenig 10 years, 2 months ago

Yes it would have mattered re: Selby. He'd have been a member of KU's 2012 men's bb national championship team.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 2 months ago

Ah, you're suggesting that "if he had a brain in his head, he would have stayed" .. I didn't think of that.

KGphoto 10 years, 2 months ago

4.0 GPA 25.8 points 9.4 rebounds 67.0 percent from the field 43.4 percent from three-point range 78.3 percent from the free-throw line. Humble, Driven, Mature


I'm sure any disappointment Perry feels from Danny's departure to coach at Tulsa is reciprocated by Danny. This guy is any coach's dream.

Robert Brock 10 years, 2 months ago

<p> lists Al Freeman at the number 41 spot. After watching him play at the EYBL in Dallas, my thoughts are that number 41 may be a little too generous. I was expecting to see a guy who was a PG or a combo and he was neither; instead, the player I saw was a "strong" SG who was a big-volume shooter who missed most of his shots. Maybe he will make them when he plays in Oakland this weekend.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

Points on Perry:

1] Although his stats are eye-popping, just think what they'd be if he had played whole games. His team won a lot of blowouts that allowed him to sit and cheer for his fellow teammates.

2] Can anyone name the last Jayhawk recruit that came in with a 4.0, not named Tyrel Reed? I can't.

3] Something tells me that Jeff is going to have a monster year because Perry will end up being more of a force than any of us are now imagining.

4] Valedictorian and he is already going to get a head start on his studies by going to summer school. Perry, my friend, while you're up at Lawrence, feel free to play a little pickup basketball with your future teammates....just for fun, of course!!

5] Perry Ellis is such a stylin' name, I can't come up with a better nickname!!

6] HCBS, please keep an eye on his little brother as well.

Michael Gentemann 10 years, 2 months ago

My guess for #2 is Jacque Vaughn, he was a poet too

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

Come to think of it, I wonder how many Mac All-Americans had a 4.0, ever???!!!

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 2 months ago

monster year from Withey? I think we expect it. Plus, Traylor and McLemore will give defenses absolutely no rest. We'll score in bunches. Now, will we be able to defend? If Bill Self is still our coach, that's even more sure than the offense.

We look to have many more season of top quality basketball. What a thrill!

Wayne Gordon 10 years, 2 months ago

Jayhawks don't miss a beat in 2012-2013 campaign with this guy!

packywacky88 10 years, 2 months ago

The future is bright for this kid. (and Kansas Basketball)

Congratulations Perry.

doubled96 10 years, 2 months ago

I must say, in this day and age, what Perry Ellis has accomplished off the court is more impressive to me than all that he has accomplished on the court. I love seeing young men (he deserves the title) like this representing our proud university. His parents should be commended for the job they did raising him.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Perry Ellis is one of those multi-talented persons working hard at making success seem his destiny, rather than his luck.

We are so fortunate at KU to sign Perry, because great programs must keep signing exceptional persons, as well as exceptional players, in order to remain great programs, not just basketball factories.

The Legacy has more than its fair share of these kinds of persons--persons that add far more to life and The Legacy than just their games.

It does not always require valedictory intelligence and a corresponding high academic IQ, but these qualities certainly mean that Perry could become a Jayhawk of great stature both during and after the game.

Perry could become our Bill Bradley.

Wouldn't it be awesome to see him graduate in three seasons, take a year off and attend Oxford, and then go to the pros?

Had he been my son, and had there been a fine coach at Harvard, or Princeton, I might have advised him to go there instead. Yale? Never. :-)

But I love Perry's commitment to his state, evidenced by his signing with KU.

Henceforth, I may call him "The Senator."

I don't know his politics and I hope he keeps them to himself at this age, for they will no doubt evolve and I would only like for him to have to run on his opinions once fully formed.

Senator Ellis?

It has a nice ring to it.

And Kansans, being at the geographic center of a state floating on a sea of increasingly marketable thick crude and coal gas, with fantastic grain production and being a pinch point of most major infrastructures past, present and future, always have a perhaps not so surprising way of showing up in Presidential politics despite the state's modest population.

Vice President Ellis?

President Ellis?

He would make the tallest President since Lincoln, I suppose.

And the first with an ear ring.

Bill Clinton, another tall former President, was dreaming and planning for such things in high school.

All greatness begins with a dream kept to one's self and worked toward daily, instead of being dissipated in fantasy and talk.

Go, Perry, go!!!

FoCoCoHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Let's start off with Secretary of Defense.

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 2 months ago

Or a newly created position, the Chancellor of Championships.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

"It went perfect for us. It was awesome.” --Jeff Withey

This is Kansas, Jeff. 40-0 and a ring is perfect. It went way beyond our expectations. Not perfect.

And if you think you can come back for another season and have a comparable season that will catapult you to a high draft choice, you better put on you hard hat, add 15 pounds of muscle, get a titanium mouth piece and cup, and build a bond with EJ and Travis of even stronger alloy than you had last season with Tyshawn and TRob, and be ready to labor heroically through the absence of Danny Manning, or this season will turn into an exploding cigar, in which you and everyone else has a target on your back that Superman is not their to deflect the howitzer shots away from.

You one of da men now, Jeff.

You one of da main courses, now.

No more supporting role. No more optional production. No more narrowly defined game.

Now you have to put on the costume, the one with the cape.

This is not a reset.

This is a big, big step up in burden.

Remember how it weighed on Cole his last season.

Remember how it weighed on Marcus his last season.

Remember how it weighed on TRob last season.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

There were times, when TRob almost did not know whether to defecate or stand up, and still he had to produce.

Many bigs can have your back this season, as you had TRob's, because the recruiting stork brought in a lot of babies.

But babies is all they are.

You da man with the "been there in a starting supporting role" experience. None of the other bigs has been. Not even Kevin. He's going to be learning how to be a starter.

Don't bring a knife to a gun fight.

Muscle up now.

You can be one of KU's fine bigs, maybe one of its greats.

You have an appointment with destiny.

But its only an appointment.

You have to keep it.

Self will find a way to mask your weaknesses as he did for TRob, Marcus, Cole, and Darrell.

But you have put on the muscle.

You have add the decisive moves.

You have bring the warrior.

And then you have to learn what it is like, when everything is going wrong, and the teammates look around and say silently, "What do we do, Jeff? How do we survive? All of us little guys cannot get it done and the highly recruited kids are still cutting teeth."

Its then when you have to keep going and believing, when there seems no way.

That was the crucible of all the recent KU bigs that preceded you.

Play through the absence of hope. Find the door that seems invisible, but is there. Tear it off the hinges if you have to. But walk through it each time the going gets tough.

How do you carry on through the violence--delivering when you can, enabling others when that is the wiser tactic for brief periods, facing down those that would intimidate you and your teammates, while playing through the attempts to sucker you into getting thrown out.

You signed on a for a load of the big "R", what Aretha might wail as "R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I.....B-I-L-I-TT-Y!!!!"

Just ask TRob, Marcus, Cole, Darrell, Kaun, Sasha and Wayne.

Its Big Man U. Shaw has that nailed.

Rock Chalk!

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

P.S.: What I believe Danny Manning taught KU's big men during his years coaching and mentoring is that the little guys don't need a rah-rah big man. They can swagger. Self doesn't recruit anyone that can't. They don't need a guy to give lectures. They need big, strong, silent, man of action. They need the guy with the eyes that mean business. They need the man with a territorial imperative about--an ownership interest in--the painted regions of the sacred wood. They need a man with the power of the bear. He can be a stroker, a joker, a midnight token; he can be a specimen, a mad stork, a rock, or a long john silver, but he's got to eat punishment for breakfast and dish it out for lunch and dinner. When all the little guys get done doing all of their spectacular tricks and acrobatics, and when the other team is still coming, still not broken, the big men of Big Man U have to be willing to roll up their sleeves and take it into the maw of guys that are even better than them. They have to succeed most of the time and be able to tolerate being crushed occasionally, when Self has no other option.

Watching every KU player play through the blast furnace of tempering that Self puts them through is one of the great, enduringly dramatic and inspiring spectacles I have witnessed in my life. But even in this blast furnace, there is nothing quite like the fire that KU big men play through. Lovellette, Born, Chamberlain, Wesley, Cook, Suttle, Williams, Von Moore, Knight, Canfield, Manning, Randall, Chenowith, Pauley, LaFrentz, Pollard, Collison, Gooden all watching over things, casting shadows from the pre-Self past, and now Simien, Kaun, Arthur, jackson, Aldrich, Morris, Morris, Robinson forming the unbroken recent chain. You just know this season with Withey, Young, Ellis, Peters and Lucas is going to be filled with blast of the bellows of Big Man U!!!!

RJ King 10 years, 2 months ago

I assume the switch from "toker," to "token" was deliberate!

Withey grew up a laid back SoCal kid. He seems soft-spoken by nature. But he's worked on his aggressiveness with good success. He's still getting used to having to speak to the media, and I expect a few more perfectly not-so-perfect comments from him next year. His intelligence probably surpasses his ability to articulate, but all things point to a lot more interview opportunities to hone that skill as well.

I think when he said "perfect" he meant "great, fun, enjoyable, and way beyond expectations."

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

jb, please do not forget Jamari! He has spent a semester shoveling coal and hauling ash.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't forget him. Every time I saw those broad shoulders on the end of the bench last season I got jazzed.

But its a long step from coal and ash, to live rounds. :-)

Spencer Goff 10 years, 2 months ago

Right on Perry, congratulations and have fun at KU. Hit up the Burger Stand at the Casbah, Free State, and for coffee do La Prima Tazza. Is it obvious I miss downtown Lawrence?

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Great find, slayr.

Wouldn't it be awesome to buy that place!

LeBo 10 years, 2 months ago

Great to have a nerd that can hoop on the squad!

CrimsonBlue22 10 years, 2 months ago

I'm tellin ya, this kid will be a GREAT Jayhawk! 4 time Gatorade POY for Kansas AND valedictorian!? And he shot over 40% from three?! That is just what KU needs at the 3 and 4 spot to stretch the defense to allow Withey to get his excited for 2012-2013 season


CrimsonBlue22 10 years, 2 months ago

Check out this potential 2013-2014 roster:

Naadir Tharpe Ben McLemore Conner Frankamp (sp) Brennan Greene (sp) Anrio Adams Andrew White Perry Ellis Jamari Traylor Julius Randle????

and that's only 9 deep..

Ben Simonett 10 years, 2 months ago

Attention Kool Aid drinkers:

this roster does not mention the "studs" you all believe we have in Zach Peters and Landen Lucas.

Commence harassment of the poster for not being a homer in 3....2....1....

Ben Simonett 10 years, 2 months ago

whoa, whoa, whoa, ralster

i wouldn't go that far, i was just trying to get somebody else hated on for a while, i'm sick of carrying the load on my own.

although, with a post like that maybe you could take some of the load off me


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