University of Kansas

Texas shooting guard Elijah "E.J." Elliott to join KU hoops program as walk-on

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Elijah “E.J.” Elliott, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound shooting guard out of Carroll High in Southlake, Texas, will play basketball at Kansas as an invited walk-on, he announced Sunday.

Elliott chose KU over Wake Forest and Nebraska.

He also at one point had Alabama, Arizona, Baylor, Bowling Green, North Texas, TCU, Texas A&M, UConn and others on his list of schools.

Elliott, a left-handed shooter, attended Liberty Christian High in Argyle, Texas, for two years, then Advanced Prep in Dallas for a year, where he was a backup to guard Terrance Ferguson (currently with the Oklahoma City Thunder) and teammate of former KU forward Billy Preston.

Elliott finished at Carroll, then last season spent a short period of time training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Elliott returned home from IMG and worked out with various trainers this past school year while considering the various walk-on offers for 2018-19.

“Honestly, Coach (Bill) Self was the first one to believe in me, to make calls and texts,” Elliott said Sunday. “When I took a visit, it felt like home. Everybody says it, but you really do feel like it’s home when you know where you need to be.”

Elliott attended the KU-Oklahoma State game his junior year on an unofficial visit. He attended the KU-TCU game this past campaign.

Elliott actually committed to KU on April 5, waiting until Sunday to make it official after having a conversation with Self to finalize details.

Elliott seriously considered playing for former KU phenom Danny Manning at Wake Forest. The Elliott family has known the Manning family for about 20 years.

“We had stayed in touch with Coach Self and the staff there. They’d seen him play in a couple tournaments (on both the Nike and Adidas AAU circuits),” said Bryan Elliott, E.J.’s dad, who played basketball at Midwestern State.

“They invited him up for a visit the year before last. He liked the culture and met some of the kids currently on the team. He knew Udoka (Azubuike) from (Nike) EYBL. He went to school with Billy at API. He felt comfortable with the players and staff. You get a shot to play for a legend (in Self). I told Elijah, not many guys will raise your game (as Self will). The history and basketball fraternity at Kansas … it’s a special opportunity.

“Obviously it’s a stacked team next year. He’ll go in and try to earn his way, and he’s ready to do that. He played against Quentin (Grimes, incoming KU freshman) on the Adidas circuit last year. He’s really looking forward to it.”

E.J. described himself as “I believe a shooter. I’m athletic, somebody that can guard, just do anything coach asks.”

He told the Nike EYBL website: “I don’t believe anybody has worked harder to get to this point than me.” The site described him as “a natural two-guard with sharp-shooting abilities, who has been skilled enough to comfortably play positions one through four.”

Bryan Elliott said his son is “a very good outside shooter, athletic, a good defender, smart, not so much break (you) down off the dribble but can get to the cup. He’s good coming off flares. He’s a late bloomer, as most of the men in my family are. He wasn’t there physically to play major Division I (after senior year at Carroll in 2016-17). He’s just trained this past year and his body has come a long way. He’s worked very hard. He is in the gym all the time.”

E.J. said he would be reporting to KU for first session of summer school on June 1.