Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Perry Ellis is from Kansas, but he grew up a Duke fan.
“I actually grew up liking Duke but not [any] more,” the 6-foot-8, 212-pound rising junior said by phone from the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Chicago. “That’s what I liked growing up more.”
Now a member of the USA Developmental National Team and one of the top small forwards in the nation, Ellis has a slew of elite programs after him — but he isn’t counting Duke among them.
Ellis lists Kansas, Memphis, Kentucky, Kansas State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Stanford, Oklahoma and Wichita State as college options.
“Nobody has a an edge. I’m just looking,” said Ellis, who carries a 4.0 GPA.
Ellis said he plans to visit some of those schools during the upcoming school year, but has no immediate plans.
As a freshman, Ellis was named the 2009 Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, the first freshman in Kansas to ever receive the award.
“Being a young player and getting an opportunity to get that it’s a hard thing to do with all the seniors and everybody,” he said.
Ellis helped lead Wichita Heights High School to a 24-1 record, including a perfect 16-0 mark in the Greater Wichita Athletic League en route to the Kansas Class 6A State Tournament championship. Along the way, Ellis averaged 19.2 ppg. and 11.7 rpg., also being honored as a consensus all-state first team member. In the title game, he pulled down 20 rebounds and scored nine points, helping his school win its first championship since 1977.
Being from Kansas, it’s only natural that fans want him to play for the state university.
“Everybody’s bugging me, ‘Kansas, Kansas,'” he said.
Now he’s running with Durant and other elite forwards before playing at the LeBron James Skills Academy July 5-7 in Akron, Ohio.
“It’s going pretty good,” Ellis said. “[Durant] played with us all [Sunday] and [Monday]. It’s good to see how he works.”
Ellis says he wants to improve his “ballhandling” and “footwork” so he can try and follow in Durant’s footsteps.
Just don’t expect him to do it at Duke.
(USA Basketball contributed)
(Photo courtesy Rivals.com)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.