Perry Ellis

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Kansas/USA advances to World University Games semifinals

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Late in the third quarter of the Kansas/USA team’s World University Games quarterfinal matchup with Lithuania, Bill Self’s team led by just one point (43-42) and appeared to be locked in a struggle similar to that of their one-point win over Serbia in group play. However that would not be the case, as the Americans clamped down defensively and Lithuania could not hit a shot.

A 15-0 run established the distance needed to put the game away, with Self’s team going on to win by a final score of 70-48. After scoring eight points in the third quarter the Americans outscore Lithuania 25-6 in the fourth, with Frank Mason III leading a balanced offensive effort with 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Joining Mason in double figures were Wayne Selden Jr. (13 points, five rebounds) and Perry Ellis (11 points, six rebounds), with SMU’s Nic Moore adding nine points and six assists. Kansas received solid efforts from big men Landen Lucas and Hunter Mickelson as well, with the latter making the start at the center position. Lucas contributed seven points and nine rebounds, with Mickelson adding six points and four rebounds and freshman Carlton Bragg grabbing five rebounds during his time on the floor.

Paulius Dambrauskas, who scored 12 points and was a difficult matchup for the Americans in the first half, led Lithuania with 18 points but did not score again until just past the halfway point of the fourth quarter. Also of note on the Lithuanian team was Evansville rising senior forward Egidijus Mockevicius, who had a quiet night after rolling his right ankle chasing down a rebound just over a minute into the game.

Mockevicius, who has led the Missouri Valley Conference in rebounding each of the last two years and was a first team all-conference selection in 2014-15, finished the game with two points and five rebounds. As a team Lithuania shot just 27 percent from the field, with their percentage plummeting after they made seven of their 13 shots from the field in the first quarter.

Next up for the United States, which has reached the semifinals of the World University Games for the first time since 2009, will be either Russia or Estonia. That 2009 team, coached by Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, won the bronze medal.

Perry Ellis is returning to Kansas for his senior year

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Just days after getting news that Wayne Selden will be returning to school for his junior season, Kansas fans found out that their leading scorer and rebounder will be back in Lawrence for his senior year.

During a banquet to announce that he’s won the Mr. Jayhawk award, power forward Perry Ellis made it official.

MORE: Who has entered 2015 NBA Draft?

“There’s still a lot left on the table,” Ellis said, according to the KC Star. “It will be best for me to come back.”

“I went through the process, I heard some first round, a lot of second round. You can’t rush it. I’ll know when the time comes, and it hasn’t come yet.”

Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander are both off to the NBA, but with Ellis and Selden returning — along with Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham, Svi Myhailiuk, Brannen Greene, Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas — Carlton Bragg joining the program and the Jayhawks in the mix with every elite recruit left uncommitted, Bill Self looks like he’ll once again be a favorite to win the Big 12.

Had he gone pro, Ellis was a likely second round pick.


Kansas head coach Bill Self updates status of three players who missed last regular season game

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Kansas finished its regular season with a road loss at Oklahoma without junior Perry Ellis, sophomore Brannen Greene or freshman Cliff Alexander. Ellis had a sprained knee, Greene was suspended and Alexander was being held out due to eligibility concerns and Jayhawks head coach Bill Self gave an update on the trio in a podcast with ESPN‘s Andy Katz.

The most concerning loss is Ellis, a first-team All-Big 12 selection who is arguably the team’s most important player. Self said they’ll take precaution when it comes to playing the junior forward.

“He will wear a brace for the rest of the season,” Self said to Katz. “If the doctors say he’s not feeling well enough, we will sit him for the tournament. All indications are he is doing well with his lateral movement.

“We will press forward and put him in position, and hopefully he’ll be 100 percent by the NCAA tournament.”

Greene, a key shooter off the bench for Kansas this season, missed the game due to suspension.

“It should be a one-game suspension as long as he did what he was supposed to do,” Self said. “Hopefully he’s been on time for class and done what’s required. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t play. We certainly could have used him. We were short-handed. We’re certainly better with him in the long run.”

So it sounds like Ellis and Greene could be back for the NCAA Tournament, which means that Kansas will nearly at full strength.

The same can’t be said for Alexander, however, as the freshman is dealing with the NCAA looking into his eligibility. Self didn’t sound optimistic that his McDonald’s All-American power forward would be back.

From Katz’s podcast:

“I had never heard of an agent or financial adviser mentioned [with Alexander],” Self said. “That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

Self said Alexander won’t play until the NCAA enforcement and the family meet to discuss the situation.

“We’re basically moving on and preparing as if we’re not having Cliff,” Self said. “We won’t have him if they’re not all on the same page.”

Self said he’s still optimistic Alexander will return but “the odds would be zero and no chance” if the parties don’t meet.

Things don’t appear good for Alexander’s freshman season at Kansas, and the Jayhawks might have to move on without him. They still won plenty of games against good teams this season in which Alexander had poor outings and played minimal minutes so it shouldn’t be that big of a loss. But if Alexander can return, and he plays with confidence and returns to form, he can be a bruising presence in the paint and gobble up a lot of rebounds.

Report: NCAA investigation of Kansas freshman focuses on possible receipt of impermissible benefits

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Kansas freshman forward Cliff Alexander has experienced the highs and lows that most newcomers have to deal with in college basketball, but his season took a significant turn February 28. Alexander was sidelined as a result of the NCAA looking into an issue that could compromise his eligibility, but not much was offered up by Kansas as to what the NCAA is looking into.

Late Thursday, Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported that the NCAA is looking into the possibility that one or more of Alexander’s family members received impermissible benefits from an agent. Alexander has missed the last two games for the Jayhawks, and it’s likely that Alexander be forced to play the role of spectator Saturday when the Jayhawks visit No. 15 Oklahoma because of the “speed” at which the investigation is moving.

Alexander has not yet been interviewed by the NCAA, sources said, though not because of a reluctance by either the school or NCAA investigators. Sources said legal counsel has been retained by the Alexander family and that may be slowing the investigative process.

Kansas will also be without junior forward Perry Ellis, who suffered a sprained right knee in Tuesday’s overtime win over No. 20 West Virginia. Ellis will be re-evaluated next week, and the results will determine his status for the Big 12 tournament. Even with Alexander on the court reserves such as Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor received opportunities to earn minutes, and in the win over West Virginia Hunter Mickelson was solid as well.

With there being no set time as to when Alexander will be able to return, those three become even more important for the Jayhawks as they look to play deep into March.

Injured Kansas forward’s status will be re-evaluated next week

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Having already locked up yet another Big 12 title, No. 9 Kansas will complete its regular season schedule with a game at No. 15 Oklahoma on Saturday. And in his weekly press conference, Kansas head coach Bill Self stated that he hopes to know more about the status of junior forward Perry Ellis by the middle of next week.

Ellis left Kansas’ overtime win over No. 20 West Virginia Tuesday night in the first half with what was later diagnosed as a sprained knee. Without Ellis big men such as Hunter Mickelson and Jamari Traylor stepped up as the Jayhawks erased a significant deficit to force overtime.

“He’s responding well to treatment, but he’s definitely not going to play (Saturday at Oklahoma), exactly what the doctors said the other day,” Self said Thursday. “Hopefully in a week we’ll know if he can get out there and play.

“That is not anything that’s been negative whatsoever. We’ll just have to wait and see. But hopefully by next Tuesday or so we’ll have a better feel on what his status will be for the Big 12 Tournament.”

Ellis is Kansas’ leading scorer and rebounder, and with Cliff Alexander sidelined indefinitely due to an ongoing NCAA investigation, this is another hit to their interior depth that the Jayhawks did not need. Traylor, Mickelson and Landen Lucas will see even more minutes with both players out, which could help them moving forward.

But if Kansas is to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, they clearly need a healthy Ellis on the floor.

Bill Self says Perry Ellis sprained knee, back in ‘a week or so’

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Kansas got a massive scare on Tuesday night, but as it turns out, it may have only been a scare.

Perry Ellis, the junior forward who has been playing like an all-american for the last month, had a teammate roll up on the side of his right knee in the first half of last night’s win over West Virginia. The knee buckled, Ellis went in pain and he didn’t return to the bench until overtime.

It looked like every ACL tear that you’ve an NFL lineman suffer, but after the game, head coach Bill Self had good news to share: it’s only a sprain.

“We don’t know the extent of it, but the good news is we think he can be back in about a week or so,” Self said.”We’re hopeful (that) for the Big 12 tournament that he’ll be ready to go.”

Kansas locked up the outright Big 12 title with the win over West Virginia.

The Big 12 tournament starts next Wednesday.