Tuesday, July 15, 2014

KU’s Perry Ellis teams with LeBron James, faces top talent at camp

NBA star LeBron James plays basketball with high school athletes during the LeBron James Skills Academy on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. College athletes, including Kansas University’s Perry Ellis and Kelly Oubre, were also invited to the camp.

NBA star LeBron James plays basketball with high school athletes during the LeBron James Skills Academy on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. College athletes, including Kansas University’s Perry Ellis and Kelly Oubre, were also invited to the camp.


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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Perry Ellis describes his experiences at LeBron James Skills Academy

Back in Lawrence following a summer trip to Las Vegas, where he and Kansas University basketball teammate Kelly Oubre were two of the select few college basketball players invited to the LeBron James Skills Academy, junior forward Perry Ellis talks about playing with James and how his overall experience at ...

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Kansas University junior forward Perry Ellis, who was running the court as a teammate of future Hall of Famer LeBron James in a game at James’ skills camp last week in Las Vegas, knew what to do after accepting a flashy pass from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ phenom.


“He threw a behind-the-back pass. I was on the wing. I hit a jump shot. That was fun,” Ellis said Monday in Allen Fieldhouse.

“He (James) told me ‘good job’ out there. It was good.”

Ellis, who along with KU teammate Kelly Oubre was an invited guest at the 2014 LeBron camp, had been up close and personal with James one other time.

“I went to the camp in high school. I remember in high school being so nervous,” Wichita Heights grad Ellis said. “There were a lot more players, 100 or so high school players thrown on teams. I’ve grown a lot. There were less players (30 college invitees as well as 80 high schoolers). I’ve gotten more mature. I was a lot more comfortable.”

Ellis said he was granted no inside information regarding James’ decision last week to leave the Miami Heat for the Cavaliers in free agency.

“Honestly, it was pretty quiet. There wasn’t much commotion about it,” Ellis said. “He wasn’t making a big deal about it. He was trying to work with the campers. It was a quiet deal out there.”

Ellis, who also attended the Nike big man camp in June in New Jersey, played a lot of small forward at the LeBron camp.

“I would say it was a challenge. There were a lot of wings and guards there,” the 6-foot-8 Ellis said, indicating West Virginia’s Juwan Staten, Iowa State’s Georges Niang and Texas’ Isaiah Taylor all attended.

“I had to get out there and guard those guys a lot, which will help me, and I need to learn to do that. That was a big part of it for me, confidence. It’s definitely a confidence-booster going to these camps. Competing with all these guys, it definitely helps you out mentally,” Ellis said.

Ellis said he was most impressed with his camp roommate, Sam Dekker of Wisconsin.

“We got to talk some. He did real well,” said Ellis, who would welcome playing on the perimeter some during his junior season at KU.

“He’s definitely putting us (Ellis and Jamari Traylor) around the wing a lot more, to get the feel and see what our options are,” Ellis said of KU coach Bill Self.

Ellis, who will attend the Adidas Nations camp from July 31 to Aug. 4 in Los Angeles, said he hopes all this summer experience will translate to his junior season.

“I haven’t really thought about individual goals. I’m just focused on winning another Big 12 championship,” he said. “Just keep working toward that, keep on thinking game by game, winning.”

Obviously he hopes to play in the NBA someday.

“I mean, that’s the goal. I’m going to keep working to get better and listen to coach and go from there,” said Ellis.

Oubre out two weeks due to ankle sprain: Ellis said he was impressed with the play of 6-7 freshman wing Oubre, who drew rave reviews until spraining his left ankle near the end of the camp.

Oubre, who wore a walking boot on his left foot Monday, will be out of action up to a couple of weeks, Self said.

No surgery is necessary.

“He turned his ankle at the LeBron deal. He’ll be out for a little bit, but hopefully no more than a couple weeks,” Self told the Journal-World. “Tests were all negative. Everything’s fine, but he did sprain it pretty good.”

KU freshman Cliff Alexander recently sprained his right ankle at a KU workout two weeks ago and has been wearing a boot as well. No surgery is necessary.

Of Oubre’s performance at the LeBron camp, Ellis said: “We never were on the same team. We always played against each other. Every once in a while we’d match up. He did real well. He was competing, rebounding, attacking, shooting well. He had a great showing.”


Kevin Whelan 8 years, 2 months ago

Perry is a gentleman and a scholar. Good to learn about his variety of experiences in summer camps. It's great for Perry and his Jayhawk team. Hoping that Cliff and Kelly experience good healing for their ankle injuries.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 2 months ago

He sure is and a terrific representative of the University and State of Kansas. I'd be elated with a team loaded with guys like Perry Ellis and AWIII. I'd love to see him pull things together and have a big year.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 2 months ago

The improvement that this team needs from Ellis, beyond anything else, is defending on the block and against opposing bigs.

I appreciate him guarding on the wing, and working on that, but for KU to reach its potential, Ellis has to be something other than a nuisance on defense. He has to find an anchor -- he gets pushed around many times; and he has to find a way to move and position himself to stop opposing players' penetration and post moves at and near the basket. Holding his space is the biggest challenge.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Considering the landscape of the college game and how many bigs play on the perimeter, Ellis working on his quickness out there will be just as important this upcoming year because Ellis won't have Jeff Withey or Joel Embiid protecting the rim behind him. I'm not disagreeing that Ellis also needs to improve his toughness because this lack of it is what has turned him from a 2-3 year player into a 4 year player. Against teams that play smaller like KU will this season, Ellis is going to have to be able to defend quicker players on switches and he was flat out awful at that last year as well.

Mick Allen 8 years, 2 months ago

I agree with your post also Aaron, when the opposition goes small, or Perry is guarding a 4 that stretches the floor and can put it on the floor to get to the rim.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 2 months ago

Well, I completely disagree on the "just as important" part. Ellis post defense is significantly more important than his perimeter defense. One main reason why ... he's a post player.

There are 4s that obviously stretch the defense. But the base function that we need from Ellis is guard the post player within 10 feet of the basket. That would seem to be even more of an emphasis, with the lack of a rim protector.

I just think the basic post D is significantly more important.

Joe Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

A good example is Niang. Who, incidentally was at the camp. He posted inside when we had Withey and Embiid. He'll likely post some more against Ellis, Alex. and Traylor. They have a 7' that will likely give us an interesting challenge. Our bigs should be able to stretch him and move around the rim. Our bigs have got to step out and defend the Niangs, yet score against the taller bigs. Hoiberg saw Withey and Embiid beat them inside and decided to get one too.

Lucas and Hunter will have to answer.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Who Perry defends is 100% dependant on the other team's line up. In this day and age of college basketball, there are a lot of 3/4 hybrids out there who can play in the post and on the perimeter. When that opposing stretch 4 is out on the perimeter setting screens, Bill Self refers to switch on screens which will put Ellis on smaller, quicker players and he won't have any back up this year when he gets blown by this year.

I'm not saying Ellis doesn't need to improve in the post because absolutely does need to man up down there. Because of the style of play in college basketball right now, Ellis is going to also be spending a significant amount of time guarding out on the perimeter because of the number of stretch 4's KU will see this year.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 2 months ago

We need a better effort defensively all around, which includes from the perimeter, but there is no doubt when Joel was out teams could drive in the lane all game. That must be fixed this year, and that means everyone must get better.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Perry's overall improvement is going to be the biggest factor in KU's success after improved PG play. He has to be a threat to knock down a 3 in the high-low to open up the paint for Cliff and for the perimeter players to drive to the hoop. On defense, he has to get tougher when guarding in the post and quicker when guarding on the perimeter. College basketball has evolved to the point where one of a team's post players has to be able to guard on the perimeter because of how many team's use stretch 4's now. If Perry's defense doesn't improve quite a bit this upcoming season, I really wouldn't be shocked to see Traylor steal quite a few of Perry's minutes in late game situations because of his defense.

Mick Allen 8 years, 2 months ago

A familiar refrain Jack, with which I agree whole heartedly. Needs to develop core and lower body strength to build the "anchor" of which you speak to allow him to maintain his position down low.

Mick Allen 8 years, 2 months ago

As you suggested Aaron, I can see Traylor getting some of Perry's minutes when we are ahead in the last 10 minutes. Traylor is a better defender, but must stay out of foul trouble.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

We can hope that Perry will improve on defense but we are going to be facing some tall teams, KY, TX, Baylor, and if Perry turns into a liability under the rim I hope Self bites the bullet and makes the defensive adjustments to plug the hole. We will miss his offense but we cannot afford to play with a mismatch for long stretches of a game giving away points or fouls. They will keep pounding it to his man until we stop it. I agree with Aaron we have two main areas of concern, PG play and Rim protection. Our non conf schedule will not be easy, which is fine, but Texas, ISU and WV are also going to be tough games next year if we want another conference title. Defense is the best way to level out height mismatches.

Joe Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

I researched a bit and found this piece on Mickelson. I think some have forgot this little piece. I'm encouraged for our 5 spot.

“I actually kind of dropped a little bit (of weight) to kind of tone up. I put on a little too much when I was at Arkansas,” said Mickelson, who left Arkansas at 240 pounds. “My goal here was to increase strength and tone up a little bit. I feel a lot stronger. Our workouts with coach Hudy (Andrea, strength coach) have been great. I’ve been doing the best I can. I can definitely tell I’m getting stronger.”

Known as an oustanding shot blocker — he had a freshman record 72 blocks his first season at U of A — Mickelson also has a reputation as a guy who can stretch the defense with his shooting accuracy.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

Not so sure on how Hunter will fit this season. On paper he appears to be able to protect the rim and draw some bigs away from the basket, but right now it is on paper.

Joe Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

Then we also forgot this little piece on Landen Lucas too.

Kansas coach Bill Self and the coaching staff said they thought the world of Lucas' potential to be a key contributor in the Big 12 Conference. After all, 6-foot-10, 240-pound power forwards who can pass the rock from the pivot, knock down jumpers from the outside but don't back down from contact don't grow on trees. Admittedly, Lucas always had trouble scoring against longer, lankier shot blockers in the pivot. Lucas could free himself from these defenders, but their extended wingspans bothered his attempts at the rim. It was a problem, that is, until Lucas stood up to 7-foot Jeff Withey — Kansas' NCAA's co-defensive player of the year — every day in practice.

Withey wholeheartedly introduced Lucas to what elite college basketball is all about during the preseason, immediately swatting any shot the wide-eyed freshman put up in the paint.

“That happened for the first couple months,” Lucas says with a laugh. “I was so used to finding a way to score, but he was just so good at what he did. There were many moments where I thought I had him, and he'd come back and block my shot.”

Lucas hopes his ability to make the extra pass and play unselfishly will get on the floor for extended minutes for the Kansas Jayhawks this coming season.

I'll let you re-read the article youself.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

Landen seems a step slow on defense which results in a lot of fouls and has not shown he can hit shots that are not layups against taller competition. Not sure he is the answer either.

Lance Cheney 8 years, 2 months ago

So who pays for these trips (airfare, hotel, etc.) to these camps? The university? The player? The shoe company? I was just curious how it wasn't a violation of NCAA rules.

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