Did Ellis, Selden help or hurt their NBA stock in 2016 NCAA Tourney?


As fans of college basketball, we’ve all seen it a hundred times.

A player who has some ability but may be a little under the radar explodes during the NCAA Tournament and, just like that, finds himself listed as one of the hot draft prospects for the next NBA Draft.

Big time performances on college basketball’s biggest stage have a way of cranking up the hype machine on these types of players and, whether NBA Scouts truly put THAT much stock into an impressive tournament run, it’s impossible to argue that such a stretch does not at least catch their eyes and make them look at a player in a different light.

While the positive side of the equation is the way it goes most often, there also is something looming on the other side. Although it does not happen quite as often — because players are most often judged and evaluated on their full body of work instead of just a bad game or unlucky night — we have seen college players have their NBA draft stock suffer because of poor tourney performances.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, it’s undeniable that playing well in the NCAA Tournament can have a major impact in the draft status for a college basketball player. Does a good run turn a no-name into a lottery pick? Not likely. But can a monster showing elevate a future pro from the second round into the first or from the late first into the lottery? You bet.

The Kansas basketball team’s recent 3-1 run in the NCAA Tournament that ended in heartbreak one game shy of the Final Four last weekend, featured some big time games from some of KU’s biggest names.

Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) gets to the bucket past Maryland forward Robert Carter (4) during the first half, Thursday, March 24, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) gets to the bucket past Maryland forward Robert Carter (4) during the first half, Thursday, March 24, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. by Nick Krug

Naturally, now that the season has ended, it only makes sense that we start to wonder what that will mean for their draft status.

For a senior like Perry Ellis, who has no choice but to leave for the NBA, were the three 20-point games enough to validate a career made on consistency even though that career ended with a whimper?

And for a junior like Wayne Selden, who had his best year at Kansas and seems to have so many of the tools the NBA likes to see in its prospects, will the off night in the season’s final game reintroduce doubts into the minds of the scouts?

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) and Jamari Traylor celebrate a three from teammate Perry Ellis during the first half against UConn during the first half on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) and Jamari Traylor celebrate a three from teammate Perry Ellis during the first half against UConn during the first half on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. by Nick Krug

Because all 32 NBA teams have an entire army of scouts and not just one, it’s impossible to get a feel for this without talking to multiple representatives. But ESPN Insider’s Chad Ford, who has dozens of NBA scouts on speed dial, recently released its Tourney Stock Watch update and both Ellis and Selden were on it, under the heading “Stock Neutral,” which basically means that neither Ellis nor Selden hurt or helped himself that much by what he did in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Here’s a quick look at Ford's blurbs on each Jayhawk:

Perry Ellis, 6-9, 225-pound senior forward

"Ellis had been on fire in the first three rounds of the tournament. He had one of the best offensive games of his career against an athletic Maryland front line, scoring 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting. However, his Kansas career ended on a sour note, as he scored just four points, committed four turnovers and shot 1-for-5 from the field against Villanova.

Ellis's fundamentals and steadiness will get him a good look in the second round. However, that performance against the Wildcats left scouts with a pretty bad taste in their mouths." — Chad Ford

Wayne Selden, 6-5, 230-pound junior guard

"When Selden is aggressive, he can really look the part of an NBA player -- especially when his 3-point shot is falling. He was aggressive against Villanova, but shot 0-for-6 from the field, including missing two wide open 3s in the final minutes that would've put Kansas on top.

I hear he is seriously pushing to declare for and stay in the draft. He's had a solid junior season and may warrant a second-round selection. But for all the talk about him being a lottery pick, I don't think so." — Chad Ford

From my perspective, I think both Ellis and Selden are guys that, in the right situation with the right teams, could enjoy long NBA careers.

Selden probably has a better shot to make a true impact because he has the size and skills you can plug into an actual NBA position. Ellis, though more talented overall than Selden, is not quite suited to play either the 3 or the 4 at the NBA level and, therefore, is going to have to catch a break by landing with the perfect team, of which there might only be 3 or 4 out there.

Picture Ellis on a team like the San Antonio Spurs, for example. His skill set, focus, versatility and appreciation for the finer points of the game could land him a spot on that roster very easily.

Regardless of where they end up or when they're picked, it seems clear that both will get all that any college player can ask for — a chance.

And it should be fun and interesting to watch how things play out for both players, whether Selden leaves this year or not.


Kent Noble 6 years, 3 months ago

Ellis is good for a second rounder. Selden I think dosen't have that Buddy Heild type senior year in him. I think if he comes back were pretty much going to get the same type of performance he had this year. But with the new NBA rule these kids can go in and decided wether or not if there ready. I like that they have the option to return back to school. I think this rule should have been in effect a long time ago. We see kids leave early and time and time again we see kids fail to play at the professinal level. I wish Perry and Wayne all the luck at the next level. I hope they are both successful in making a nice living for there famlies and what they truly love to do, play basketball.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

If Selden stayed and put a lot of work into his outside shooting, to make it a consistent treat, no question he'd be a high lottery pick next year.

The question for Selden would be...take the mid second round now or put in six months of dedicated hard work preparing for the next six months to play at a high consistant level. For the most part, the mid second round guys bunch around looking for a shot. The high lottery picks are set, barring unusual misfortune and stupidity, for life financially and professionally.

Andrew Dunlap 6 years, 3 months ago

the best team for Perry Ellis is San Antonio. He's smart and does whatever is asked of him. it might be best for him to go undrafted so he can get to the Spurs. he could have a lengthy career as a role player. Selden is projected late 1st and early second. I say go, but if he declares he can't pull out so he needs to think hard about that.

Matt Tait 6 years, 3 months ago

The new rules allow him to test the water, see if he gets a combine invite, gather feedback from NBA people and make a final decision by May 25. That's all provided he doesn't hire an agent, which I'm sure he would not. He's smart enough. Unless he's just hellbent on leaving.

Either way, guys like Selden are a perfect example of why these new rules are so great for the college players. College coaches? Not so much. But they'll live. And it's an even playing field for all the top-tier recruiters.

Craig Alexander 6 years, 3 months ago

They can go to the combine right? It isn't just see if they are invited but they can actually go, correct?

Brett Gaul 6 years, 3 months ago

They have to be invited to the combine. Not everyone makes it.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, the deadline to withdraw from the draft is 10 days after the end of the combine. Players will be able to attend the combine and then withdraw from the draft if they get negative feedback from the combine.

Bj Cassady 6 years, 3 months ago

Ellis would be great with some special teams he plays solid D and is a decent offensive player. Wayne is an explosive player to the rim, but has been a career 60% free throw shooter and hot and cold from the outside and has had turnover issues. He could develop his skill by staying another year and raise his stock and make more money. We all have seen too many kids go too early, Henry, Alexander, Selby and others... I would hate for him to make the same error.

Layne Pierce 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm going to say something a little bit sacrilegious, essentially, Perry's being an in betweener has been a big problem for this team the last 2 years. We built are team around him, because he is good, because he is consistent, but time has shown that he can be shut down. As long as our outside shooting was decent, he had good results, but once a team decided to stop him, he simply had a hard time with it.

There is also the issue that next year, we will possibly for the first time in a long time, have a real 4 man, and not a 3.5er.

In all fairness, the other problem Perry had was no other real threat in the post. I love Landen, but he is not an offensive threat. Unless he improves next year that is going to continue to be a problem for us, we desperately need his rebounding, but can we function without post scoring?

If Selden comes back, I believe it will be like when Brandon Rush, tore up a knee, and ended up coming back. Without Rush we don't win in 2008. At the end of this season I saw Selden start to rebound more, go to the rack with real authority, and even occasionally make 2 free throws when he was fouled. I truly believe another year would help him and us.

And like all of you, I wonder if we are going to play Bragg, and just go with him, or Svi, or both. We want to win the Conference, so we will probably not invest in playing Diallo, Svi, and Bragg with the idea of getting them ready for the conference. Frankly the home winning streak and the conference streak may be just too much.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

I've said this once before, but it bears repeating. I think that Ellis' NBA ceiling is very high, but his margin for error is tiny.

I look at Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks and think that Perry Ellis could have an equally long and successful NBA career in a very similar role. Millsap is un undersized 4 who struggled early with the Utah Jazz trying to fit in as a traditional NBA PF, but he progressed into a 17 pt 8 reb player and developed a 3pt shot. When he finally made his way to Atlanta he blossomed under former long time Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer who uses him as a stretch 4 and gave him the green light to bomb away from the perimeter.

Millsap doubled his salary because of his ability to play the stretch 4 spot. He is making $18.5 million this season from the Hawks.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and Millsap was the #66 recruit in 2003 and was drafted 47th overall in 2006

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 3 months ago

Millsap also has 20 lbs of muscle on Perry and though they are both listed at 6'8", I've heard a lot of people doubt that Perry is actually that tall. I'm curious to see how he measures at the combine. We have a history of rather wonky height listings here at KU...

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

Paul Millsap pre-draft measurements height w/shoes 6' 7.25" (6' 6.25" barefoot) with a 7' 1.5" span. We'll see what Perry measures at, but likely similar in height yet less in length.

But you are right about the muscle mass. He weighed 258 lbs at the draft combine. With a max vert of 32.5"

His pre-draft scouting report listed him as a bruiser, and a great rebounder with length but who couldn't handle the ball or shoot it beyond 12'. Perry has a huge headstart with his perimeter skills, though he doesn't have the raw size and strength.

Millsap this season is getting 17 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 47% from the floor and 32% from three in 32 minutes a game. I never see Perry getting that many rebounds, since he didn't do it at Kansas, but he can be a very efficient offensive player and a more than adequate defender in the right situation.

And he will naturally fill out more as he ages, though he may not make up the full 20+ pounds that he gives up to Millsap.

Anyhow, I see that as his NBA ceiling, but duly noted that his margin for error is very small in order to achieve that ceiling.

Terrence Cernech 6 years, 3 months ago

IMHO the biggest disparity between Ellis and Seldon is that Seldon frequently does not not have to rely on an entry pass from his point guard. Ellis, at KU, was totally dependent upon that entry pass, e.g. the Villanova game in which 'Nova applied intense pressure on the guard while fronting Ellis. With Mason's penchant for wanting to score himself Ellis was frequently locked out and if you go back to look at the entirety of the season Mason preferred not to give up the ball to Seldon.This obviously had effect on both players ability to contribute. KU was and will be much better off with Graham at the point and Mason at the two spot. Let Graham make the decision as to who gets the ball.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm not saying that I don't agree with you, but I don't understand why we couldn't get Ellis involved. Villanova denied the pass very well, but we've seen time and time again Ellis' ability to get the ball on the perimeter off of a ball screen and then drive by his man and score with the running hook shot from 6 feet out. If I were Ellis I would have been demanding the ball, and not just trying to post up at the free throw line. Maybe I'm misremembering already, but it seemed like the few times that Ellis actually did get the ball at the top of the key off a ball screen he turned it over trying to hand it back off to a guard. I just don't understand how the best scorer on the team only has 5 FGAs.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.