Last summer Ellis participated in the LeBron James Skills Academies and was one of just a few sophomores in attendance. Going up against the nations top upperclassman was an experience and the 6-foot-8, 215-pound big man used it as a learning opportunity.
"It helped me a lot because I got to play against the best of the older kids," Ellis said. "I got to see what it's like and how it's going to be. They play hard and that's something that I need to do. They play hard all the time and that's something that I learned from them."
Ellis took his experiences from the summer and worked towards improvement during the off-season. Now in the midst of his season, Ellis has his team sitting with a 10-2 record, while averaging an impressive double-double.
"I've been playing pretty good," he said. "To me I've gotten better from last year. I'm averaging 25 right now and 11 boards. I'm shooting a lot better than last year and I've been working real hard on that."
Heights coach Joe Auer has seen the improvement and complimented Ellis' work ethic and drive.
"There are more pieces to his game that he's utilizing," he added. "He's attacking the rim a lot more this year. He's shooting 40-percent from three right now…He's also been good handling the ball against pressure."
Thus far a number of schools have made the trip to Wichita to check out the 2012 talent. Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Missouri State, Arkansas Little Rock and Wichita State have all been to games this season, while North Carolina, Texas A&M, Memphis Stanford and Oklahoma State made trips for open gyms.
"It's going good," he said of his recruitment. "I just went to Kansas State/KU game and I got to talk to coach Frank [Martin] after the game."
But Kansas State isn't the only school Ellis, who has a 4.0 GPA, has already visited. Ellis has also been on the campuses of Kansas, Memphis, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Wichita State and North Carolina. His next visit is to Oklahoma this weekend.
According to Ellis, Kansas, Kansas State, Memphis, Oklahoma, Wichita State and Kentucky have early scholarship offers on the table. North Carolina, Arizona and Oklahoma State are also showing varying degrees of interest
"I'm not going to make an early decision," Ellis told Scout.com. "I just want to get to know these schools as well as I can as early as I can."