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Kansas snags in-state star Ellis (cue massive exhale)


Mike Miller

Much to Bill Self’s relief, Perry Ellis couldn’t pass on the in-state power.

Ellis, a Wichita product and one of the state’s top players in years, announced Wednesday that he’ll join the Jayhawks, giving Self’s squad its first big-time 2012 recruit. And after a so-so 2011 class, Ellis was a sorely needed prize.

Especially when it reportedly came down to Kansas and Kentucky. Losing Ellis to an out-of-state school would’ve hurt. He also was considering Kansas State and Wichita State.

“I’ve been there so many times, I just felt so comfortable there,” Ellis said during a press conference at his school. “All these schools were real close to me. They’ve been there three or four years now. It was a tough decision.”

The 6-8, 222-pound forward isn’t seen as an explosive athlete, but he’s a skilled frontcourt player with a reliable mid-range game and can run the floor. He’s perfect for Kansas’ system and is a winner, too. He averaged 22.2 points and nearly eight rebounds a game at Wichita Heights while leading the school to its third-straight state title and 44 straight wins.

Now if Kansas can snag big man Kalen Tarczewski, it’ll have its frontcourt of the future secured.

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