"His sister was an all-state player and he has been part of our basketball family since elementary school," Auer, Perry Ellis' coach, said. "I followed his progress through elementary and middle school. I knew he would probably be a special player, but nobody could have anticipated the type of freshman year he had."
The 6-8 Ellis was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas last season as a freshman when he averaged 19.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game and now he's clearly on Kentucky's recruiting radar along with other schools like Kansas, Kansas State, North Carolina, Memphis, Oklahoma and more.
While he's a unique player, Ellis doesn't do anything extra to draw attention to himself on the court.
"He is very humble. He is the kind of guy you don't realize how good a game he has had or what he accomplished until you look at a stat sheet and 26 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. The only attention he draws to himself is with his action on the court. Once the action is over, he will not draw attention to himself," Auer said.
"He doesn't waste energy on things that are not about winning games. All his energy is focused on what the game plan is and what it takes to win. He has learned watching other kids waste too much energy celebrating. Basketball is a game of transition. There is not time to gloat. He expects to make good plays and makes the transition to the next play."
Away from basketball, Auer says Ellis has the same demeanor.
"He is very quiet most of the time. When he is with friends, he is more outgoing," the coach said. "But the best two words to describe him are hungry and humble. He just is not someone who says look at me and he is not one that wants to tell you what he has accomplished. Both his parents have done a great job with him. His personality is similar to his sister's. He learned from her how to handle himself and let his actions do all the talking.
"He enjoys himself when he is with friends and family, but he lets his actions do most of his talking. To me, that is pretty refreshing for a player that good."
That focus extends to his recruiting. Even though he could have his choice of scholarships now, Auer says he remains focused on becoming a better player.
"His parents have done a good job of keeping him focused on the next event and not worrying about recruiting," the coach said. "He understands if he works hard and plays hard all those things will be taken care of. It is different day and age. He is type kid that will not sit down on the Internet and read all the stories about him. He's just worried about his next game or camp. He'll let adults keep track of the other things, and that's pretty unusual for a kid that is just getting ready to turn 16."
Part 3: Ellis humble on, off court
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