In the past few weeks, Perry Ellis has been to Boston and New York. He’s lost a checked bag in Toronto, going an entire day with only the clothes on his back.
“I don’t know where it went,” Ellis said with a laugh. “They said it was at the airport, but they never put it on the baggage claim.”
It’s all part of a hectic few weeks for the Wichita native and former Kansas star, as he’s worked out for six NBA teams and is scheduled to meet with five more before the NBA draft on June 23.
“It’s been pretty good. Teams like my game and they like my character, who I am,” Ellis said. “I feel like I’ve been getting some good feedback.”
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NBA workouts mostly follow the same format. Players are tested — getting measurements like their height and wingspan double-checked after the NBA draft combine — before going through individual drills. After some shooting, Ellis and others compete in 3-on-3 and 1-on-1 games with team representatives watching.
One of Ellis’ main goals is to show his versatility.
“I’ve learned that I really can get out there and play on the wing, do some different things,” Ellis said. “When it’s 3-on-3, they switch you, put you in different positions where I’m handling the ball, coming off screens and stuff. I’m out there doing well with it. I’m learning and getting confidence in that part of my game.”
Ellis is an interesting case study. Some of his measurables are excellent, including a 3.13-second three-quarter-court sprint that was the second-best at the NBA draft combine among all players, including guards.
“I feel like I’m pretty fast, man. I’ve always been real good in sprints and stuff — in practice, always trying to get first,” Ellis said. “I did track at a younger age. That probably helped me grow as a runner also. I just ran as fast as I could. Even my mom said, ‘I know you’re going to do well in that,’ and I did. It was cool.”
Ellis isn’t as strong in other physical aspects. His height (6-8 1/4 , with shoes) and wingspan (6-10 1/4 ) have concerned some NBA teams, especially those who believe he would be best at his college position of power forward.
“It just really makes you want to work harder,” Ellis said. “Just improve and get even better and prove I can do it.”
With two weeks left to impress NBA teams, Ellis appears to be on the NBA draft bubble. NBAdraft.net projects him as the 49th pick to Detroit, while DraftExpress.com has him as undrafted.
“I think (the chances of getting drafted) are pretty good right now. It’s hard to say though, man,” Ellis said. “No matter how I get in there, it would be an honor. I’m just going to keep continuing to work hard. You just never know. It’s hard to say.”
Ellis hasn’t set up draft plans yet, though he said he’d likely be spending that day with family and friends in Wichita.
Whether his name is called or not, Ellis believes that he will eventually show himself to be an NBA player.
“I feel like what I did at Kansas was great,” Ellis said. “I just have a lot of confidence.”