Part 2: Ellis fast, strong, smart

Joe Auer readily admits that his star player, Perry Ellis, has had a remarkable beginning to his high school basketball career. He was Kansas player of the year as a freshman, earned first-team all-state honors, and helped Heights High School go undefeated in league play and win a state championship.

"Perry is the fastest guy on team, the strongest guy on our team, and he led us in rebounding, and free throw shooting. He's probably our best perimeter defender," Auer said. "He's getting better as a 3-point shooter. We did not ask him to shoot a lot outside because we had some gifted perimeter people last year. But this year he will be a better perimeter shooter. He's also tremendous in transition. He's the fastest guy on the team with the ball in his hands, too. From baseline to baseline, he's faster than any kid in our league. Every goal he has set, he's met. So I wouldn't want to speculate on what he might do the next two, three or four years."

The 6-8, 210-pound Ellis also has a 4.0 grade-point average.

"That is the thing he is the most proud of after his first year of high school basketball," Auer said. "He is just as gifted in the weight room because he works so hard. He's very disciplined and focused on trying to get better. He's goal-oriented about everything. He makes plans and we talk about what his goals and plans are, and should be."

Those plans include using more of his skills this season. He primarily played center last year but Auer anticipates using him in more ways this season.

"He could play any position for us this year. Obviously, he's very dominant around the basket," Auer said. "But I think each season he will do more. This summer he's spent most of the time on the perimeter playing power forward or small forward.

"He's a tremendous outlet passer. He has great vision. He is very unselfish. He is really a pass-first player even though he averaged 20 (points) and 12 (rebounds per game). He likes to find open teammates."

AllWildcats Top Stories