PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- It was a family affair for the Ellison clan in Philadelphia at the Reebok Breakout Classic at Philly U.
Dad Pervis, the former University of Louisville and NBA star center, and son Malik Ellison, the 2015 star guard out of Life Center Academy (Burlington Township, N.J.) were coaching and competing, respectively, at the prestigious annual event to start the July open period.
Pops Ellison didn't only have his son, who Maryland was tracking at the event, on his mind, but also daughter Aja, the incoming Terps freshman forward, who they had just dropped off with mom Timi (a former Terps track sprinter) the week before at College Park as she began her UMD career.
We caught up with Pervis Ellison moments before he took the court as coach of one of the 12 teams competing in Philly with hundreds of college coaches looking on.
He began with Aja, the 6-foot-3 Terps' rookie, who was coming off a season-ending injury during her senior year of high school.
"It's a good thing. She is excited. She is taking a course there, and she is doing rehab there to try and get ready to where her progress is to get ready for the season," Pervis Ellison said.
Ellison said he believes her daughter is done growing (growth spurts helped contribute to recent injuries/maladies for both kids, with Malik missing much of the spring evaluation period himself), while she has size 9 hands (typically girls have about a size 6). And she has dunked before. Ellison said he is not sure whether his daughter will redshirt or not this fall as she bounces back from the injury.
"Her...you are not going to find too many people who....she's got a high motor," Ellison said. "So that goes a long way. So 6-3, and with a high motor and very athletic, she is definitely ready for Division I basketball at a high level. I think, obviously, the skill sets have to improve, and of course she missed an entire year, a year of basketball that she lost, and obviously the next phase is Division I. So that's a big jump up.
"So I think you got to be patient with her, get her feet underneath her, but athletically there is nothing that she cannot do on the court. She causes havoc because her energy level is so high."
Pervis Ellison said he likes the fit at UMD for Aja, and he said he left the decision to her.
"I think Coach [Brenda] Frese does an excellent job. She has got a proven track record. And they are going to continue being successful at that program, and she is going to be a big part of that," Ellison said.
Switching gears to son Malik, Pervis Ellison said he is coming around as well from lower extremity issues that dogged him this spring.
"He's just growing. All his situations have been growing pains. He had it in his hips extremely bad at Pitt, so he couldn't really play a whole lot there. So he missed basically the entire spring season. So he is coming back now," Ellison said.
Ellison said he worked his son out for the four weeks heading into the July period, and that "he is doing OK and I think he is going to have a good showing."
Pervis Ellison said he likes the direction of things under Mark Turgeon, and with his prized freshman center Trayvon Reed (also coming off injury) arriving last month as well, he has yet another tie-in to the Terps.
"I think he had a tough season last season, but he has re-tooled and I think they will have a much better team and season this upcoming season," Ellison said of the Terps.
As far as Malik, Ellison said his son's game is a versatile one.
"He's a kid who can do a little bit of everything," Ellison said. "He can shoot the ball, he can score the ball at all three areas: shoot the three, mid-range, and go inside. He can rebound the ball from the guard position. He's just one of those kids you can plug in on the court and he can fill different roles."
Malik is just a hair under 6-6 as he continues to shoot up height-wise.
"Malik, he loves the area down there [at Maryland]. We used to live down there. Obviously his sister is there. So a great opportunity. But what he is going to do is take a couple of visits, and then cut it down to maybe 3-4 schools and then make a decision," Ellison said of the recruiting process for his son.
Ellison said it would be the fall/winter before Malik Ellison decides on a college. Maryland, Penn State, Temple, Miami and others round out some of his key schools at this point.
Pervis Ellison was also at UMD for the ladies' basketball camp last month. He coaches at Life Center Academy, and is excited about Reed's prospects at UMD once back from his foot injury, which he is sidelined now but does not need surgery.
"Defense in the paint. The kid is a legit 7-1, about 245 pounds, and he's put on weight, muscle," Ellison said. "He's still raw offensively, but I think he came in this year and put in the work. He's a kid that will work. So that's a plus, and he's only going to get better. But from Day One he's a kid that I will think help Maryland on the defensive end."
Finally, on the Terps move to the Big Ten, Ellison said:
"It's a tough conference but the ACC was a tough conference," Ellison said. "Me personally, obviously you got to look at the financial benefits from a football perspective being in the Big Ten, where the Big Ten is better than the ACC. But basketball-wise, it's more of a lateral movement. Both leagues [in hoops] are so competitive."
For Ellisons, Hoops Is A Family Affair
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