Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis probably will miss Saturday’s game at No. 15 Oklahoma after spraining his right knee in Tuesday night’s 76-69 overtime victory over West Virginia.
After the game, coach Bill Self said MRI results on Ellis’ knee were positive, but it’s still likely he will be out a week. He could return to play in the NCAA Tournament.
“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.
Ellis was limited to just 17 minutes before injuring his knee in the first half when teammate Landen Lucas rolled onto his leg while falling to the court. A candidate for Big 12 player of the year, Ellis has been at his best in February, raising his season scoring average to 14.2 points per game. Ellis had four points in the first half on Tuesday.
“We’re hopeful (that) for the Big 12 tournament that he’ll be ready to go,” Self said.
Keith Langford reflects on Self’s first season
From his couch in Russia, halfway around the world, Keith Langford will turn on a Kansas basketball game and hear the commentators bring up the program’s vaunted conference title streak.
It’s a source of pride for Langford, a former Kansas star who was there for the streak’s origin during the 2004-05 season, his senior year in Lawrence. It’s also a source of mild regret.
“I watch sometimes, and when the commentators mention the streak and how long it's been, I cringe,” Langford told The Star this week in an interview from Russia, where he’s playing for BC UNICS. “I cringe because the class I was a part of won three out of four, so I cringe at what could have been had we found a way to get it together that third season.”
Indeed. The Jayhawks finished 12-4 in the Big 12 in 2003-04, tying for second place in Bill Self’s first year at Kansas and the junior season for Langford, Aaron Miles, Wayne Simien and Michael Lee. First-place Oklahoma State took the title at 14-2. So while KU fans discuss the 11 straight titles, Langford thinks of a streak that could be at 14 straight years, one better than UCLA’s record of 13 straight conference titles in the Pac-8 and Pac-10.
“(John) Wooden's UCLA record would have been broken already,” Langford said. “I seriously hope coach Self and those guys are able to pull through.”
Langford, though, has been amazed by the consistency of the Kansas program. He watched up close in recent years, watching as his younger brother, Justin Wesley, helped Kansas hit 10 straight titles last season.
“It's so hard to win anything,” Langford said. “I really hope the fans, the teams in the Big 12, the college basketball world and all KU players that have had a hand in this don't take this run for granted.”
Back in 2005, when the streak began on his senior night, Langford said he and his teammates were just focused on making up for the wasted opportunity during the previous year. They did that, giving Self his first Big 12 title, and at the time, Langford remembers thinking how cool it was that Kansas won three Big 12 titles in four seasons.
“Funny thing is,” Langford said, “at that time we thought three out of four was a dominant stretch. Little did we know.”
▪ West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was not entirely pleased with the officiating after Tuesday’s game. The Jayhawks, playing at home, shot 43 total free throws, making 34, and were whistled for 23 fouls. The Mountaineers shot 28 free throws, hitting 16, and were whistled for 31 fouls.
“When you’re standing where I'm standing, sometimes you think things aren't quite equitable,” Huggins said. That’s as nice as I can say it.”
▪ Kansas senior walk-on Christian Garrett started Tuesday’s game and delivered a senior night speech after the game.