Kentucky coach John Calipari and assistant coaches Orlando Antigua and Kenny Payne watched Ellis, a top prospect out of Wichita, play an 8:15 a.m. game Thursday. So did head coaches from Duke, Memphis, UCLA, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Alabama, Dayton and Miami.
"I think he was impressed by all the head coaches that came to his first game. He called me and went on and on about all the coaches that were there," said Fonda Ellis.
The 6-9 Ellis had narrowed his list to six schools before recently adding Duke after coach Mike Krzyzewski started recruiting him when he added Jeff Capel, a former Duke player who recently was fired as Oklahoma's head coach, to his staff. "Perry wondered why coach K had not recruited him previously and asked him why and he said it was out of respect for coach Capel at Oklahoma because he used to play there and did not want to interfere with his recruiting because knew he how badly he wanted Perry," Fonda Ellis said. "He talked to him twice and then they offered him. Perry has always been a Duke fan, so he put them on his list."
She said her son has not ranked the seven schools in any order yet.
"He always speaks highly of all six schools (Kentucky, Memphis, Kansas,?Kansas State, Wichita and Oklahoma) and he likes all the schools and coaches. I don't think he could go wrong with any of those schools myself. They all seem to have made him a priority," Fonda Ellis said.
"I think Perry is going to see what happens this summer and see who keeps following him. He'll continue talking to all seven schools. He really wants to take all five visits in the fall, so two schools might not get a visit.
"If he would say at the end of the summer he just wants to visit three schools, then that would be fine with me. Perry just wants to feel comfortable with his choice and I don't care how he does it. I just want him to make the right choice. We are supportive like we were with our daughter (who played at Memphis), but we allowed her to make her own choice and it will be the same with Perry."
However, Fonda Ellis says it's hard not to be impressed with the 64 wins, Final Four appearance and nine NBA draft picks Calipari has had in two years at UK.
"I notice it. You can't not notice it. You look at the track record, the success, what players come and leave the program. Those are all things parents and players look at. It has been pretty amazing what coach Cal has done the last two years," she said. Getting to the NBA after one year of college, though, is not a priority for Perry Ellis, who has a 4.0 grade-point average.
"We did watch the draft, but we really don't talk about the NBA," Fonda Ellis said. "We know that is Perry's ultimate goal. We also know it could be a long time before that happens. That's why he is focusing so much on his grades. You don't play forever and need a fallback plan. Education is great option. "If basketball does not work, you have got to have that education in place. His goal is to play in the NBA, but we do not discuss it because we know it is several years before it is even possible and even then you don't know how long it might last. So we talk about getting that education."