Kelly Oubre Jr. was first. Then Cliff Alexander. Now Kansas’ Perry Ellis is considering his own NBA Draft decision.
Ellis, a junior forward, has requested information on his draft prospects through the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application, his mother, Fonda, told The Star on Wednesday.
The advisory committee, which is made up of NBA player personnel experts, offers evaluations to underclassmen considering a jump to the NBA, focusing on their professional prospects.
Ellis filed the same paperwork last year following his sophomore season, Fonda Ellis said, and it’s a usual practice for many top underclassmen. But Ellis is said to be seriously considering forgoing his senior season and entering the NBA Draft.
He has until April 26 to make a decision. In recent weeks, Ellis has also consulted with Kansas coach Bill Self. Kansas’ postseason basketball banquet is on Monday in Lawrence, but Fonda Ellis said her son may need more time to decide.
For now, Fonda Ellis said, she is attempting to stay neutral and let her son make his own decision.
For many underclassmen, filing paperwork with the advisory committee is not unusual, but rather a smart way to gauge professional prospects. Kansas has generally erred on the side of caution when requesting information for its players, even for underclassmen who are all but certain to return.
Ellis’ looming decision comes after Oubre, a 6-foot-7 freshman wing, and Alexander, a 6-foot-8 forward, have already announced their intentions to declare for the draft.
That Ellis is even considering an early jump to the NBA may come as a mild surprise to Kansas fans. A native of Wichita, Ellis is a former McDonald’s All-American who has grown into an All-Big 12 power forward in three seasons at Kansas. A former high school valedictorian and academic All-Big 12 member, Ellis can appear to be the model for a student athlete. Further, questions about his size (6 feet 8) and future NBA position could hurt his draft stock.
For the moment, Ellis is not listed among the top 100 draft prospects by either DraftExpress.com or ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford. Jonathan Givony, who runs DraftExpress.com, said last week that it was too early to know where Ellis might fall in the 2015 draft. His potential position, Givony said, would likely be affected by who else ends up declaring for the draft.
“That said, I would be surprised if he was considered a first-round guy,” Givony said. “I would think there’s a better chance he goes undrafted than he goes in the first. He’ll definitely get looks in the second round.”
Ellis averaged 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game during his junior season, which included some of the best basketball of his career. During the second half of Big 12 play, Ellis averaged 22.4 points per game during a five-game stretch, helping the Jayhawks claim an 11th straight Big 12 title.
His season, though, was slowed after he suffered a sprained right knee against West Virginia on March 3. Still, Ellis managed to finish the season with 17 points and eight rebounds in a season-ending loss to Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament.