NBA draft: Kansas product Perry Ellis hopes versatility will help him get drafted


Perry Ellis wrapped his 11th and final workout and was ready to take a deep breath before the draft. 

“It felt like time was moving so slow through these workouts,” Ellis said. “But it’s finally over. You hope hard work pays off.”

Ellis was one of six players who worked out with the Sixers Monday morning at their practice facility. After four seasons at Kansas, the 6-foot-8 power forward is ready to take the next step toward the NBA. He is projected to be a late second-round pick or undrafted. 

“I feel like confidence-wise, I’m really up there,” Ellis said of playing four years at school. “I feel like overall each year I got better and better. Playing under coach (Bill) Self, I feel like it really helped me become a student of the game.”

Ellis’ production improved steadily at Kansas. He began his collegiate career with a modest 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 13.6 minutes as a freshman. In his final two seasons, he led the Jayhawks in scoring. 

Last year, Ellis averaged 16.9 points and 5.8 boards in 30.3 minutes per game, earning All-America Second Team honors. He left school eighth in total points and 12th in rebounds. 

Ellis has been studying the games of Draymond Green and Marcus Morris. He wanted to show the Sixers his versatility during the workout. Ellis noted in addition to scoring, he can defend both guards and bigs. 

“Perry’s skilled,” Vince Rozman, Sixers director of operations/scouting innovation, said. “He’s a really, really good offensive player for his size. He’s versatile, he has a chance. He’s so productive throughout four years of college.”

At the workout, Ellis was reunited with former Kansas teammate Joel Embiid. They played together on the 2013-14 Jayhawks squad when Embiid was a freshman and Ellis a sophomore. Ellis tweeted a photo of the two together again. Embiid was at the facility continuing his rehab. 

“He was such a smart guy, it was impressive,” Ellis said of Embiid. “He picked up things so fast. You could just see his footwork was good. He’s going to be a great player.”

Monday’s workout also included Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono (see story), Old Dominion point guard Trey Freeman, Buffalo power forward Justin Moss, New Mexico State power forward Pascal Siakam and Stony Brook power forward Jameel Warney.

Ellis said he and Arcidiacono, who met in this year’s Elite Eight, did not discuss the Wildcats’ win that eventually led to the NCAA championship. 

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