Coming off of last weekend’s Team USA Fall Mini Camp in Colorado Springs, CO, 6’8” sophomore from Wichita, KS Perry Ellis is on the road again this weekend. Ellis, his mom Fonda and his dad will pack up the car on Friday morning and head to Memphis, TN for Memphis Madness.
For the Ellis family, this is far from the first time they’ve made this trip. Ellis’ older sister, Savannah, is currently a junior of the women’s basketball, which has been the cause of several visits to the University of Memphis campus over the past two years.
“We really want to see how the Memphis fans react,” said Fonda Ellis. “We’ve been to Kansas’ Late Night two years. Kansas fans are crazy with their late night experience, so we really want to see the atmosphere at Memphis.”
Following the lead of his mother, Ellis gave a similar answer.
“I just want to see how it goes, how it’s like at a different college,” responded Ellis. “How the atmosphere is.”
In addition to wanting to see the atmosphere of Memphis Madness, Fonda Ellis said they are also looking forward to getting a feel for the new Memphis staff.
“I’ve only met two of the coaches,” Fonda Ellis said. “We’ve met Coach Glenn and Coach Josh but we haven’t met any of the other coaches yet. That is another thing we want to see.”
So, unanswered questions and all, what are the qualities that are known about the University of Memphis and the Ellis family?
“We’ve been to games at the FedEx and they were exciting,” said Fonda Ellis. “We went when Memphis played Arizona and Fairfield. With Savannah being there already, her experiences have helped us learn about Memphis in another way.”
With Perry Ellis, his focus is rather unique. He’s not into the traditional “hype” that usually goes along with being a top ten player. All of the media attention? He pays it no attention.
“Perry is not into any of the media websites, the blogs or whatever,” Fonda explained. ”He prefers not even seeing it. Even if it’s positive, he doesn’t want to see it. He is shielded from a lot of that because he chooses to be. He doesn’t need that in order to tell him how good he is.”
In speaking with him and his family, it is obvious that he is a humble, hard-working young man that prefers being a home-body, spending his spare time playing Xbox.
“I play Xbox Live with Xavier Henry and Will Coleman,” said Ellis. “We play shooting games, UFC, all that. All kind of games. Gears of War.”
What you see is definitely not what you get with Perry Ellis. Based upon appearance alone, you may think about such adjectives as intimidating or forceful. Take the time to get to know Ellis, though, and you will find out that he is a Sour-Skittle-loving, Xbox-playing, classroom-focused, selfless young man that really seems to get the big picture.
“What Perry is trying to do is trying to volunteer and get more into the community service,” described Fonda Ellis. “His grades are good. He has a 4.0. He’s got so many other things that you don’t see about or hear about. He’s not just basketball. He’s got so many other strengths that the media doesn’t pick up on, usually. Recently, Perry’s coach Auer had him and another teammate had to take turns reading in front of the middle school. Coach Auer and Perry’s middle school coach set it up and Perry went.”
Today’s landscape in college basketball recruiting is dominated by lists, rumors, innuendo, school changes, and negative publicity. Whether it falls inbetween school or grade issues or “handlers”, the theme is consistent, which is what makes a young man like Perry Ellis so uncommon.
“We’ve experienced that and had people say that things weren’t true. One thing that I am trying to learn is not to take anything personal,” Fonda said. “His coaches are great. His AAU coach, Steve Young, and high school coach are great and are on the same team. We have all communicated and that’s what has helped.”
After his trip to Memphis this weekend, it is back to Wichita, Kansas. It is back to Wichita Heights High School, the classes, grades, practices and all. Coming off of his freshman season averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds while only losing one game in his first year, Ellis continues to push himself.
“I have been working on my shooting,” Ellis responded. ”I really need to get better with my on ball defense. I have been trying to work on that, too.”
Continuing to speak about his goals for his sophomore season, Ellis said, “First of all, I don’t want to lose any games. We lost one game last year and I don’t want to lose any this year. I want to try to improve my numbers each year.”
Fonda Ellis said that Coach Auer, his head coach at Heights, is really focusing on her son’s on-the-court demeanor.
“Coach Auer is trying to help Perry become a leader,” Fonda replied.
In addition, Fonda Ellis said that they have been helping Perry concentrate on his free-throws.
“He’s been working on his free throws a lot,” Fonda said. ”He goes to the line so much that I think it will really improve if he can hit those.”
One other unique thing you probably didn’t know about Ellis is that he used to be a track-star. Starting track around the first grade, Ellis went on to run in the Junior Olympics, which is what he and his mother attribute his current speed and flexibility to.
“I mean, it’s that I used to run track when I was little, so that helped a lot,” said Ellis. ”I ran the 100, 200 and the long-jump.”
Unusual style and all, Ellis is the embodiment of what a student-athlete should be about.
Q: How did the Team USA Mini Camp go last weekend?
A: “[The camp] went well. I did way better this time than I did last time. I went in with more confidence this time. I worked hard going into it and it really helped with my confidence.”
Q: How does it feel being there with the best of the best? What did you take from that?
A: “It’s cool being there with so many good players because you can learn a lot of stuff from them. They are all really good players so they can help you out and teach you things.”
Q: Anyone in particular that you became really good friends with?
A: “Justin Anderson, I am real good friends with him.”
Q: What was your favorite moment of the summer?
A: “Probably the Vince Carter camp. It was cool the way he acted towards us and wanted to help us.”Google+