Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Perry Ellis ‘honored’ by preseason attention

Kansas forward Perry Ellis floats in for a bucket past Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim during the first half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis floats in for a bucket past Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim during the first half on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.


A year ago, Kansas University freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins adorned the covers of a batch of preseason basketball magazines.

Now with expectations high, but not out of this world, for newcomers Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander, a junior — Perry Ellis — is receiving his share of preseason pub, appearing on the covers of Sporting News and Athlon’s, not to mention the soon-to-be-released Journal-World 2014-15 Magazine, of which Ellis and sophomore Wayne Selden adorn the cover.

“I mean, it’s definitely an honor,” said Ellis, KU’s leading returning scorer (13.5 ppg) and rebounder (6.7 rpg) off last year’s 25-10 team.

“Just keep working hard. It’s been paying off ... from my freshman to my sophomore to my junior year. I’m just going to continue to work. It’s going to be more responsibility on my end, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Ellis, a 6-foot-8, 225-pounder from Wichita Heights, drew rave reviews from those who attended this summer’s Nike Big Man, LeBron James and Adidas Nations camps at which he worked as a counselor and took part in drills and pickup games.’s Jeff Borzello named Ellis as the most improved player at the James camp from a year ago.

“And I thought he was very good last year,” Borzello wrote.

The Sporting News this summer ranked Ellis the No. 3 power forward in the country behind Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell and Kentucky’s Karl Towns.

“I’m ready. I’ve been working hard, had a great summer with the team and individually at those camps, so I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Ellis said of his junior campaign.

“I’ve been definitely working on my shot,” added Ellis, who hit 54.9 percent of his attempts a year ago. “I’ve been trying to put up as many shots as I can. You can’t put up enough right now. I’ve been doing that.”

He and his teammates are in the second week of two-week, 6-7 a.m. Bill Self Boot Camp conditioning.

“I think that’s going to make us all better in the long run,” Ellis said, recalling Boot Camp only being one week a year ago. “It’s going to push us even harder.”

One of KU’s team leaders, Ellis was asked which Jayhawks have improved the most since last season.

“Wayne (Selden) has gotten better, I think. Landen (Lucas). All the upperclassmen who have been here, Jamari (Traylor), Conner (Frankamp) … everybody is improved pretty much. They’ve got more knowledge and (are) gaining more experience.”

Recruiting: Cheick Diallo, a 6-9 senior forward from Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York, had an excellent weekend visit to KU, a source close to Diallo told

Sophomore guard Selden, a native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was Diallo’s host on the visit.

“He loved the place and what they have to offer as far as his development,” the source told

Diallo, who has been playing basketball for four years after playing soccer as a youth in Mali, will visit Iowa State this weekend and St. John’s on Oct. 17. He’s visited Kentucky and Pittsburgh.

Diallo is “leaning to (signing in) the spring, but it’s not final yet,” a source told

Tables taken: Table packages are sold out for “Celebrating 60 Years,” an Oct. 27 gathering in Allen Fieldhouse to feature KU coach Bill Self, plus former KU coaches Larry Brown, Ted Owens and Roy Williams. Emcee for the program will be ESPN’s Jay Bilas. Fifty tables, seating 10 individuals per table, were sold for $5,000 each. Seating remains available in the stands at or by calling 1-800-34HAWKS.


Bryce Landon 8 years, 2 months ago

One thing I'd like to see Perry Ellis do is to knock it off with the finger-rolls and JAM THE DAMN BALL IN THE BUCKET. How many bunnies did he miss the past two seasons when he tried to finger-roll it in there instead of throwing it down?

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Perry Ellis needs to improve his toughness. Perry Ellis is a soft, finesse player that seems more like a Roy Williams type player than a Bill Self type player. If he improves his toughness and starts embracing contact, it would address the points the Jack and Bryce mention.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 2 months ago

Ellis " ... appears to be headed for another year of improvement."

I agree.

One thing I do wonder about is that defensive tenacity is a bit different than working on your drop step, or jumper. I just think it's harder to improve on that. It's more effort and attitude related. Further, he was easily moved. Meaning, he didn't have a solid "anchor" on defense and got pushed around quite a bit. His defense was pretty poor last season. Having both he and Tharpe on the court was quite difficult.

Last season, Self played Traylor over Ellis many times by choice (meaning for stretches that weren't related to rest or fouls).

But if Ellis can improve his defense 25%, it will make quite a bit of difference. We definitely need his offensive game on the floor.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Perry Ellis is a very good college player. If he develops some toughness, he could be a great college player.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

Perry has been ok for us. He is inconsistent on offense, weak at defense. I would like to see him add a shot fake and drive to the basket to draw a foul from 10 feet out. This would require more toughness from him, which would also improve his defense. I like Perry, but he has a lot of room for improvement.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 2 months ago

He uses the shot fake and drive to the basket too often, in my opinion. He ends up driving to the basket and then putting up an awkward sideways layup amidst contact that usually either gets blocked because he didn't elevate or misses due to a high degree of difficulty. He needs to become a dangerous interior passer and commit to knocking down the open jump shot, and then the driving lane will open up for him for an easy dunk. I don't know if he will ever be a serious threat for us from 15+ feet because it seems like he lacks confidence in his ability to shoot. He's got the range, when it's the pressure is on he won't let it fly. I'm pretty sure that he can shoot it from NBA range when he feels comfortable, so hopefully as an upperclassman he gets more comfortable.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

I would only add that he is a step late when he does try a shot fake. He waits for the defense to come to him it seems then ends up with that awkward shot that he misses. You really cannot count on him every game since he has been here. I like him as a person, glad he is on the team, but he needs to work on his game to me.

Billy Derringer 8 years, 2 months ago

The only thing that he does, i wish he didnt is that damm spinning all the time..

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 2 months ago

Ellis has driven my crazy. I was beginning to have confidence in him as a consistent performer the Stanford happened, which set that confidence back a few notches. Same goes for Traylor. Our 4s killed us in the Stanford game.

Mike Adams 8 years, 2 months ago

Wow! All this negativity for someone we need to get behind he will be or top inside scorer. Perry shot a tremendous percentage for a sophomore and has more moves to get a shot (decent shot) than any player on the team. I have never understood the frustration with Perry. IMO people get frustrated because he does miss some shots that are perceived as 'easy' but this is a compliment as he has an incredible arsenal of moves to put himself in those positions and will shoot an even higher percentage this year. His defense will be better. You don't win unless you put the ball in the bucket we need players that excel at scoring even if they give a little more on defense than some would like. If anyone saw Cliff play in high school with the games on tv it was clear he is a force on put backs but had a below average shooting touch. Fans will be screaming for Perry to get the ball this year. Our guards struggle to keep anyone in front of them yet Perry is consistently knocked for defense I don't get it.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

Mike - WOW is right, take the homer glasses off buddy.

Shianguu Hsieh 8 years, 2 months ago

I think his weak defense has to do with his size/reach. Perry is under sized (weight and girth) as a 4. Perhaps he got a bit bigger or stronger. That said, I am glad to have him. Wasn't he the 2nd leading scorer and 2nd rebound-er last year?

Gary Bedore 8 years, 2 months ago

You guys in bad moods today? I don't think Perry is soft. He also was second on the team in scoring and rebounding last season. I guess in this day and age people want instant gratification, but in Perry I see a steadily improving player. We'll see if he enters beast mode this season. Remember, Paul Pierce absolutely stunk as a freshman, then was dandy the next 2 seasons. Sometimes it takes some time. I think Perry's been good; can he be great? Anyhow, tough crowd today.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 2 months ago

I hope Ellis has a big year. He is everything we can possible want in a player, i.e. polite, scholar athlete, a gifted athlete, and a big heart.

I can't help but wonder if he's out of position. It seems the 3 would match his personality much better. Too often he gets pushed around at the 4 and becomes uncomfortable. When he gets uncomfortable, he really struggles, which leads me to question if he can produce in big time NCAA Tournament games. Additionally, he seems to be unconformable on D. How many times last year did our D vanish from the 1 and 4?

I love the guy and hope he learns to expand his comfortable zone.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

"Dandy"??? Is it 1950's??? The last word you would use for Perry the last two seasons would be tough. The second to last word you would use is dandy! ;)

Gary Bedore 8 years, 2 months ago

Rodney I was in a light mood yesterday unlike some of the posters :) Hence the word "dandy." Now go after my word, "hence." Kidding of course. Cheers.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

Gary I was just having fun too. Reminded me of Vin Scully, Keith Jackson, Hank Stram, Pat Summerall, Jack Buck, and maybe Max. Now that is some fine company to be in for sure! The best of the best to me. I am sure there are others but my home has always been in the CT time zone. "Let's matriculate the ball down the field, boys" One of the best sports quotes ever!

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

Chris you ever see Perry play? He is ok, not great.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Part of my frustration with Perry is because like you said, Perry has greatness in him and we've seen flashes of it, but we just want him to be more consistent with his greatness. Jack Wilson pointed out that Jamari Traylor was on the floor in a lot of critical situations last season because of his defense and take no crap from anybody mindset. Perry has the skills to be an 18-12 type of player, it's just his lack of toughness that's keeping him from being a great player instead of just a very good player.

Kevin John 8 years, 2 months ago

Settle down KU Folks, Perry is a 4 time Gatorade POY and 4,0 Scholar. Be patient, WE need solid backbone players like this to beat Kentucky. Remember my boy Terrance Jones that sold out UW for ''that lowly snake in the grass'' asked about ''what bout our contract with nike?'' LOL

Perry is better than TJ, by far. And I am A Seattle Jayhawk.


Chris Oestreich 8 years, 2 months ago

Perry Ellis has been a tremendous Jayhawk! Average 13 and 6 on one of the top teams in the country and you say he has been just ok... Every college player has gaps in their game. Perry has given us his best and obviously has worked hard at becoming even better. Quit nit picking at our players constantly!

Gary Bedore 8 years, 2 months ago

I was just a little taken aback at some preseason critiquing of Perry in a little preseason article mentioning him being on mag covers. Remember this kid went to 3 camps this summer trying to get better. And he was darn good last year for a soph. A lot of guys need to dunk more. That critique is something I'm sure he's aware of. Again, he coulda gone to a bunch of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals concerts all over the Midwest this past summer instead of working on his game. Little joking reference to my buddy Eric Chenowith there. And no, Eric did NOT follow the Dave Matthews band around all summer. It was just a couple concerts but that story grew into legend.

Trace Stark 8 years, 2 months ago

Really enjoy your insight Gary! Thanks!

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

I think with all the new faces, and Perry hitting the camp trail, he is the player who is going to get the covers. Who else are you going to use that is in a KU game jersey? Wayne? From a stats standpoint the silent warrior Perry is the choice by default. I like Perry hope all his extra work pays off for him. It is really one word Toughness he needs to show this year.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

So... never say anything bad about any player if they are a Jayhawk? Got it... Chris you might be in the wrong place, it is actually OK to critique one of our players. Perry scored 9 points or less 12 times last year and shot 50% or worse in 16 games. In Key games, FL, SDS, ISU, OS, TX he had scored in single digits. Stanford 3/10 from the field. He disappears just too often for me.

Gary Bedore 8 years, 2 months ago

It's just bad timing IMO, Rodney. Perry was second leading scorer and rebounder on a 25-10 league title team. He's the team's leading returning scorer and CBS says he's third best forward in the country. He's gone to 3 huge camps and got good reviews during camp season to improve his game. He's going to be preseason all-league first team and probably get a vote or two for preseason player of year in the league. Through his sophomore year I'd give Perry a grade of B. I think he's definitely been better than a C. What grade would you give him. Just wonderin is all. You have the right to question any player obviously. I think if you look at Perry's resume, right now it's a pretty decent resume.

I may be biased as I really like Perry's personality. But I think the numbers give him the benefit of the doubt entering year No. 3. If I'm wrong, so be it.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 2 months ago

Gary, I think we all love Ellis and very pleased he is a Jayhawk. Rodney and I make the point that through his first two years, he's not be tough enough to lead the team through the most difficult challenges. I suspect some of it goes to where he played HS ball. Wichita is a long way from the Chicago Public Schools! Ellis is so gifted, I suspect he just got comfortable playing at a level where he could dominate Wichita and KS players, which is a far cry from elite Div. 1.

Offensively, I do expect Ellis to take his game to a higher more consistent level this year. Defensively, I have some doubts. I would grade Ellis' D last year as a low C or D, sometimes an F. I can't recall many, if any, outstanding defensive plays he made.

The other thing about Ellis, like Mason, he is so quite. Hoping for the best but my sights are set more on the contribution from Selden, Oubre, Alexander, Frankamp to determine if we have a stellar year, which means Big 12 Championship, advancing to the Elite 8 or Final 4, less than 5 losses. Ultra high standards but that is the bar Self has established for one of his team to be considered stellar.

Mick Allen 8 years, 2 months ago

Suzi, I see you're still beating the drum for Frankamp over Mason. Are you saying Mason is too quiet to be a leader? That seems to be a rather limiting definition of what it takes to be a leader.Why do you think Frankamp can contribute more as a leader than Frank? Just curious.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 2 months ago

Mick, I really like Mason and how much he progressed from Florida/Wake Forest to Stanford. My biggest concern about Mason is how quiet he is, on and off the court. I'm not sure if a guy that quiet and emotionless can lead a team, although there are always exceptions. Guys like Marcus Smart, Selden, Kivisto, Kruger are excellent leaders who constantly demanded more from their teams.

With regards to Frankamp, he won me over as a fan with his Stanford game. We have to get some outside shooting on the court. We will soon find out.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 2 months ago

I would not say spoiled as much as not believing the preseason Hype till we actually see improvement. My grade on him last year overall C , offense B, defense D, average a C. Last year in some very big games for us he was a non factor on offense as well as a defensive liability that had to be replaced with Traylor.

Here in the comments section all anyone wants is praise no matter what for our players and team. Rather than just rubber stamp any positive thought I prefer a realistic point of view. In Perry's case since toughness is missing, and he does not seem to be that kind of person, I still have questions on if he is going to be able to bring that on the floor. We have not seen that yet from him. Saying that all the experts see a big year for him is not enough. (keep in mind that Bilas, whom I like, forgot Hunter is playing this year and did not list Texas as competition for another B12 tittle, they can miss a thing or two during the offseason)

Nice post Suzi!

Sam Burns 8 years, 2 months ago

I am really glad to have Perry, but he is not tall enough to play against the big defenders inside. He has great games against short teams, but loses his touch on his shot when he gets a few blocked by the big teams. Then he disappears. I'm hoping he worked on his vertical and grew a little.

Gary Bedore 8 years, 2 months ago

Good post, Suzi. My only beef would be that fans (not saying you) are somewhat spoiled around here. Perry is considered the No. 3 forward in the entire country by entering the season. I think he's pretty good and has a great chance to lead the team in scoring this year. I respect your post though. Well written and thought out.

Stephen Simmons 8 years, 2 months ago

Somebody else mentioned it, but Perry's biggest problem is that he's small for a 4 and we've had too much depth at the 3 to put him there (and I'm not sure how well he'd play there). There was no way he was going to take Wiggins' roster spot last year, so he stayed at the 4. Against smaller teams, he'd usually do very well. If, however, the opposition had big, wide-body, physical players playing in the paint, he had trouble competing as well. That leaves us with 2 options: 1.) Work with Hudy to bulk him up so he CAN be more physical down low (if it's possible) or 2.) Play him at small forward and allow him to use his agility rather than muscle along with his shooting ability to get points.

Brian Wilson 8 years, 2 months ago

For Suzie......I agree on Frankamp. As a leader, fewer mistakes, smarter play and positioning, better ball handling, and better shooting. Frankamp may be white and can,t jump as high, run as fast, or have greater reach, but in IMO when ballhandling he is the quickest We have and early on he will show he is a better defender and the most talented PG on team. Which, btw, is the reason why Frankamp is the highest rated PG by Scout, ESPN, and Rivals that the Jayhawks have landed in a long time and it amazes me how much everyone doesn't want to accept it.

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