Perry Ellis does most things quietly, so perhaps it’s not a surprise that he’s quietly closed in on 1,000 career points.
Ellis, a 6-foot-8 forward, finished with 14 points in Tuesday’s victory at Texas Tech, leaving him with 997 career points. He’ll need just three points against No. 16 Baylor to hit the milestone Saturday inside Allen Fieldhouse.
“We’re playing Baylor, (so) he’s going to need to get more than three,” Kansas coach Bill Self joked Thursday. “But I think that it is a great accomplishment. There’s not as many kids doing that in today’s time as what there was before, because kids don’t stay for three or four years. If he were to stay here for all four years he could be in that 1,500 range possibly, which would be a great accomplishment to be one of the top 20 scorers in school history.”
Ellis, a native of Wichita, is scoring a team-high 12.9 points per game after averaging 13.5 points as a sophomore. His numbers, though, have spiked in late January and early February. In Kansas’ last eight games, Ellis has been in double-figures seven times and has averaged 14.3 points per contest.
“His personality has really come out, I think, in the last year or so,” Self said. “He’s a stud. He’s a stud, and he’s been a great ambassador for our University and for our program, and he’ll continue to do so.”
Alexander to hold down starting spot
After earning his second career start at Texas Tech, freshman forward Cliff Alexander appears poised to remain in the starting lineup moving forward. Alexander finished with 10 points and four blocks against the Red Raiders, adding an element of physicality to Kansas’ front line.
“It was something that I just think our team needed,” Self said. “It wasn’t that Jamari (Traylor) had done so poorly. It was just the fact that we needed a bigger presence, and so that’s what we’re going to — that’s the direction that I thought we should go.”
Self remembers Tarkanian
One day after the death of college basketball coaching legend Jerry Tarkanian, Self remembered the former UNLV and Fresno State coach as a “unique” figure in the world of college hoops.
Self said he first met Tarkanian during Tarkanian’s tenure at UNLV, but their relationship grew while Self’s Tulsa teams competed against Tarkanian’s Fresno State teams on an annual basis in the late 1990s.
“I thought he was unique in that he was very complimentary of other coaches,” Self said. “… My last team at Tulsa lost five games. All five were at the buzzer, last possession. We lost five games on the last possession. Three of them were to Fresno State, and he came in our locker room after they beat us at their place in the (conference) tournament.
“They made some shot to win by one or two, whatever it was. And I think it was a three from the corner, Terrance Roberson, but who remembers that kind of stuff. He asked me after the game, ‘Can I come talk to your team?’
“He got in and talked to my team, he said: ‘I just want to tell you guys, ‘God, I love watching you guys play. Now, we’ve beat you three times, but this is the only three games we’ve played worth a crap all year long.’ I mean, just going on and on.”