LAWRENCE, Kansas (AP) — Kansas forward Perry Ellis announced Monday that he will return to school for his senior season.
Ellis revealed his plans at the team’s awards banquet.
“There’s still a lot left on the table,” Ellis said. “It’ll be best for me to come back.”
The 6-foot-8 Ellis averaged 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds last season. He started 34 games and surpassed 1,000 career points while helping the Jayhawks to their 11th straight Big 12 Conference title.
“There’s no way you can sign a better player than Perry as a senior,” coach Bill Self said. “We felt all along that he would probably come back, but he did it right. He got information and digested it with his family and was up front with everybody. It’s not a surprise to me at all, or probably anybody, that he came back.”
Ellis missed two games late in the season with a knee injury, but returned for the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA Tournament. Kansas finished with a 27-9 record.
If Ellis had stayed healthy, Self said his NBA contacts said he could have been picked early to mid second round in the draft. But Self thought he would have been a higher selection.
“I really believe if Perry had stayed healthy, he could have been a first-round pick,” Self said. “Hopefully, he’ll have a Frank Kaminsky-like senior year, and shoot up the charts.”
Ellis, a sports management major and high school valedictorian, said getting his degree is important to him.
“It’s huge for me coming back to get that (degree),” he said. “I’ll be set for life.”
Teammate Wayne Selden Jr. announced Thursday that he will return as well. But Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander have declared for the NBA draft.
“I’m real excited for our team next year,” Ellis said. “We’ve got a lot of pieces coming back.”