Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Self sees Ellis as Kansas’ go-to guy in clutch

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) turns for a shot over Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) during the second half on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) turns for a shot over Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) during the second half on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Bill Self knows which player to call on when Kansas University’s basketball team desperately needs a basket.

“I’d turn to Perry. I’d put the ball in Perry’s hands in some way, shape or form and say, ‘Hey go do it,’’’ Self said, asked on this week’s ESPN/Andy Katz podcast which Jayhawk he’d most likely rely on if a bucket is needed during crunch time.

“Perry can make a face-up jumper and he can also drive the ball. That’s a pretty good combination to have late-game,” Self added.

Perry, of course, is junior forward Perry Ellis, KU’s leading scorer (14.3 ppg) and rebounder (7.0 rpg), who hit a floater to bust a 55-55 tie in Saturday’s 63-60 win over Utah in Sprint Center.

The 6-foot-8 Ellis scored 11 points in 14 minutes the first half as KU built a 39-21 lead. He had three points in 16 minutes the final half, his only bucket in three tries the one that gave KU the lead down the stretch for good.

“He (Ellis) is very capable of making easy baskets, especially in pressure situations,” junior forward Jamari Traylor said. “Coach drew up the play for everybody to drive it. He (Ellis) was the one who made the play, so props to him.”

Ellis for the season is hitting 44.4 percent of his shots, including four of 15 from three. He’s a 76.3 percent free-throw shooter.

“Sometimes it’s fools gold when you make shots early. The way he scored early (4-for-4 from field, including one three first half vs. Utah) ... he drove it one time,” Self said. “Basically he’s a face-up guy playing from the perimeter. We’ve got to have him playing everywhere.

“I thought he was by far the best player in the game the first 10 minutes or so but after that he was a total non-factor like our other big guys were. We’ve got to find a way to keep plugging in Perry when they are taking away what he can do. If he’s a pick-and-pop guy and they switch ball screens, that negates part of it. Now you’ve got to be able to take advantage of the switch. Those are things we are not doing yet and don’t understand yet, but we’ll gain on at practice.”

The soft-spoken Ellis says he’s trying to “be aggressive” all the time.

“If I’m aggressive and keep competing, things will happen. I try to be aggressive as coach tells me to be. Coach is always telling me to attack. I try to do that,” Ellis said.

Of his solid start to the season, the first-team preseason all-Big 12 pick said: “I feel a lot more confident. I trust in myself and trust the system.”

Defending drafts: KU’s Self has been taken to task by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and’s Jonathan Givony following Self’s comment about mock NBA drafts after KU’s win over Utah on Saturday.

Self said: “The mock drafts don’t mean anything. I’d tell the guys if he was here doing the mock drafts ... they are ridiculous. You can follow the mock drafts. They will have 120 players go in the first round this year in mock drafts. That is true. You can count them. Obviously they don’t know and are guessing.

“With some kids it takes more time in a system. Kelly (Oubre Jr., ninth in’s 2015 draft) never played guard. We’re asking him to do some things he’s never really done. The thing we’ve done that has turned out to be OK but could have gone the other way is you play a schedule that can’t bring freshmen along, because they can’t play through mistakes because you’ve got to win the game. I’m proud of Kelly. He’s hung in there and kept a really good attitude. He’s going to be really good. You can see it. He hasn’t quite got there yet. I think the last two games have done wonders for his confidence.”

Givony tweeted: “Bill Self is getting tired of being asked why he’s not playing Kelly Oubre. So he is lashing out against mock drafts.”

Another Givony tweet: “Self says ‘some kids take more time in the system’ which is why mock drafts are ‘ridiculous’ and ‘don’t mean anything.’ Got that, Kelly?”

And another Givony tweet: “I second the challenge made to Self: ‘Show us whose lives were made worse in 2014 by the existence of mock drafts or drop this tired crusade.’’’

One more from Givony: “College coaches often get confused about the difference between being a great college player (like Perry Ellis) and a great NBA prospect.”

Goodman tweeted: “Yeah, mock drafts kill these kids. It’s not the fact most people (including coaches) kiss their you-know-what’s thru the recruiting process.”

Semi update: Former Ottawa High forward Semi Ojeleye, who has announced plans to transfer from Duke, so far has heard from KU, Kansas State, Wichita State, Wisconsin, SMU, Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, Creighton, Cal and Washington, according to ESPN’s Goodman.


Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

Funny that talking heads can ask Self 'why isnt Oubre playing more?' when they arent the ones tasked with coaching the team. They see Oubre's 2 recent good outings and assume he's been that good all along and that Self just "wasnt playing him". Oubre's learning curve has been ridiculously steep, that much we know.

It is far more likely that Oubre simply was too far behind to curve until the last week or so, to actually be a net-positive force in games.

Their being critical of Self is such an oustider-looking-in type of comment that its laughable. I'd bet that Self, Kelly Oubre, and Oubre's dad know exactly what Oubre is working on to earn more mpg.

I'd tell those talking heads to actually listen to Self's critique of early Kelly Oubre, and they might get a clue, and not have to ask such an un-informed question. Those clowns dont need to 'champion' for Kelly Oubre...maybe if they'd actually watch some KU games of Kelly's earlier attempts to play, they would have sounded more like many of us KU faithful who commented on Oubre looking "lost" and "not ready yet". But it seems he may be turning the corner. Of course, the talking-tweeters will think their 'pressure' on Self has now caused him to play Oubre more...when actually credit should be given to Kelly Oubre for busting his tail and actually earning some increasing mpg through his own hard work, eh?

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

Ok, question for Jayhawk fans: Who do you want on the FT line for clutch FTs? Perry Ellis? Jamari Traylor? Frank Mason? Graham? Greene? Selden?

So far, Traylor, Mason, Graham, and Greene are real life FT heroes...

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

Mock drafts at this point in the season are merely talking points for the people who create them and Self called them out on it and they don't like it. The only thing that can really be taken from them right now is who the NBA execs think have NBA potential and how high a kid's ceiling is.

As for your FT question, I want Mason and it's not even close at this point.

Ryan Michael 7 years, 9 months ago

On the FT line? Greene. Greene has been far more clutch with his free-throws than anyone else period.

I don't even know how anyone would want anyone BUT Greene in that position. Kid hasn't missed.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

Greene came through in one game, Mason has been clutch several times in his short career so far. Greene just doesn't have the volume of his body of work at this point that Mason has.

Luca Rossi 7 years, 9 months ago

Aaron - sorry man but this is a no brainer, its Greene all the way. Like I saw a poster previously say before, the ball barely touches the rim when he shoots them.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, but it's not a no brainer. Brannen Greene has shot 13 FT's this season. Mason has made just under 90% with almost triple the attempts. I'll reconsider my opinion when Greene has iced more than one game in his career and has a high % with higher volume of attempts.

Asad Zoberi 7 years, 9 months ago

Greene for sure. The guy is so confident on the line, hasnt missed one so far this season.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure one of his foul shots has even touched the rim!

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, not sure how you can NOT pick the guy that is shooting 100%. As far as who do you want controlling the ball? That would definitely be Mason. Brannen has some of weakest handles of any of the guards--just ahead of Oubre--so I wouldn't want him handling the ball in a pressure situation to get to the line.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

For those of you picking Greene, just remember that he's only attempted 13 FT's this season. Mason is hitting just under 90% with almost triple the attempts.

Mike Riches 7 years, 9 months ago

Traylor isn't 100% on the year, but I believe he's 4/4 in big time clutch moments (MSU & Utah). We're probably not 8-1 without those...I'm not saying he'd be my first choice necessarily, but he has impressed me in those moments...

Micky Baker 7 years, 9 months ago

Givony and Goodman didn't have the guts to mention Bill Self in their tweets. They said some stupid things. Mock drafts are just that. They're fake. Then they went on to say that the solution was to recruit lesser talented kids. There is a reason they didn't mention him. They're disingenuous. Self didn't call them out by name at all. He isn't worried about the mock draft and shouldn't be. The draft is not something that Bill Self can control. If they wanted Self to respond, it wouldn't have been that difficult to send Self a tweet about it, but they didn't do that.

This is one reason why I watch very little TV, especially when the "experts" are on, regardless of what the topic is. I watch almost exclusively Jayhawks sporting events and other games that include KU's opponents. At this point in the season, the mock draft doesn't mean anything. Bill Self is right. In March, they will have more meaning. It seems to be that Givony and Goodman are the one's who's fragile ego's were damaged in some way and they need to be asked how they're lives have been hurt by Self's statements.

Does anyone think that Perry Ellis isn't going to be drafted? He probably won't go in the first round because too many college players use the NCAA as a stepping stone. I have an idea though. Don't let players go to college and use scholarship dollars if they only stay for one season. If they leave after one year, make them pay the money back to the college that gave them the chance. In fact, do that to anyone who doesn't graduate within two calendar years after leaving before they graduate for the draft. If they get drafted, they can pay the money back. It will also make the players have to be sure that they're going to be drafted high enough to get a big enough pay check to pay it back or return to graduate within 2 calendar years. That will stop this one and done non-sense. College is for education. The NCAA wouldn't go for this because the see $$$$ and that's all they see.

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

I love it.

Bill is in the business of developing young men. He just happens to do it through the game of basketball. And he happens to be outstanding at both coaching (and winning) the game while also motivating his kids to be better people on and off of the court. Look at his academic track record for additional proof of the benefit he brings to our school and region.

Bill has sent a kid to the NBA year after year. Even kids we did not think could make it: Withey, Cole, Morris Twins (early), Darnell Jackson, Tarik, etc. he was able to develop and get them a shot or a sniff at NBA rosters.

All Givony & Goodman do are talk and write and talk and write and talk and write. Whose lives have they changed? Who have they help assist to evolve and morph into greater basketball players and human beings? It's so laughable to me that they have the nerve to put themselves on the same pedestal as Self when it comes to actually DOING IT and not just TALKING ABOUT IT. Blowhards.

Micky Baker 7 years, 9 months ago

What Goodman said was a straw man. Self didn't say it hurt any of the players' lives. It's too bad our fans or so self-loathing that they won't stand up for what they know is right.

Tom Longhofer 7 years, 9 months ago

‘Show us whose lives were made worse in 2014 by the existence of mock drafts or drop this tired crusade.’’’

Well, Bill Self's for one.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 9 months ago

Those guys (Goodman and Giovny) a a bit hyper sensitive. Their mindless moch draft boards are on thin ice when coaches like Self, K, Cal and the NBA become critical.

Nevertheless, I do look at them.

Luca Rossi 7 years, 9 months ago

I have never heard of or Jonathan Givony until now and after reading this article wish I still hadn't.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 9 months ago

This article shows pretty well why Self gets the big bucks and Givony writes about it.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

You do not have to look further than Christopher Guest's Mockumentaries; Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, to know that the word Mock is a just a joke to have fun with and has almost nothing to do with reality. Givony is nothing more than a Mock expert, not authentic, contemptuous, and takes his so called job way to seriously.

Bville Hawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Getting back to the theme of the column, all I have to say is that we are in trouble if Perry Ellis is our "go to" guy in the clutch.

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