Most of the attention coming into this season in Lawrence has been on the phenomenal freshmen class of the Kansas Jayhawks. Andrew Wiggins has drawn plenty of hype along with fellow first-year Jayhawks Joel Embiid and Wayne Seldon and is generating plenty of excitement around the KU program. But when the games get going, it will be sophomore Perry Ellis who should lead this Kansas team in 2013-14.
While not the flashiest player on the court, Ellis has the ability to be extremely productive and started to show flashes of that ability late last season. The 6-foot-8 forward is skilled with the ball in his hands and has a knack for getting into position to make plays. He saw limited action last season, averaging just 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game. With more opportunities this season, he should easily double that production in his sophomore campaign.
Bill Self will need Ellis to really tap into his ability to score and lead the offense in the half court, especially when the fabulous freshmen run into the inevitable growing pains of a grueling Big 12 schedule. The biggest skill that Ellis can bring to this Kansas team is his ability to break down defenders one-on-one and get to the rim. As one rival Big 12 coach described it, Ellis “pivots so quick and can put you in a blender before you know.”
The headlines may be focused on Wiggins and the freshmen stars coming into Lawrence but the overall success of the Jayhawks this season may come down to how well Ellis progresses in his sophomore year. Can he produce the offense he’s capable of to get KU deep into the NCAA Tournament?