Former Kansas forward Perry Ellis looked mighty comfortable in an NBA arena Monday night in sinking four threes en route to 19 points in the Sydney (Australia) Kings’ 108-83 exhibition loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Arena in Salt Lake City.
The 6-foot-8 Ellis, who this past offseason put his NBA aspirations on hold after signing a one-year deal with the Kings of Australia’s National Basketball League, hit 6 of 19 shots, including 4 of 8 threes, and 3 of 4 free throws. He also grabbed five rebounds and had three steals.
“It (the NBA) is a tough league to get into and there is nothing I will hang my head over,” Ellis, 24, told Fairfax Media as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I know I work hard. It is just motivation to try and get better and better. You can’t control if you get picked up or not. I just go with the flow and have fun with it.”
The 220-pound Wichita native said he’s discovered the NBL “is a pretty physical league. You have to make sure you are playing through contact and not getting angry with what is called and what isn’t, but I have definitely played in physical games before. This is nothing new to me.”
Ellis averaged 16.9 points and 5.8 rebounds his senior year at KU in 2015-16. He was not selected in the 2016 NBA Draft and played in the NBA G-League last season. Ellis has competed in the NBA Summer League the last two years but has not yet been been offered a guaranteed contract by an NBA team.
Joel Embiid still sidelined
Former KU center Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers has been ruled out of the team’s first two preseason games — Wednesday against Memphis and Friday vs. Boston — as he continues his recovery from meniscus surgery in his left knee.
The 7-footer from Cameroon remains questionable for the final three exhibitions: Monday at Boston, a week from Wednesday vs. New Jersey and a week from Friday against the Miami Heat at the Sprint Center.
As of Wednesday, Embiid had yet to be cleared for 5-on-5 full-court scrimmaging. He told Philly.com last week that he expects to return for the regular-season opener Oct. 18 at Washington.
Embiid played “three-quarters of a court” in 5-on-5 scrimmages on Tuesday. He shot three-pointers from the corner while wearing socks before Wednesday’s exhibition game against Memphis in Philly.
“We feel good about where he’s at right now,” Sixers coach Brett Brown told Philly.com on Tuesday. “He’s doing more than I expected as a coach. I have been able to coach him longer than I had expected.”
Embiid — because of injuries he has played in just 31 regular-season games his first three years in the league — was not available to the media Tuesday, thus Brown was the one to comment on Internet videos of the 7-footer playing tennis and jogging through the streets of Philly at night.
“He declares himself to be a man of the people,” Brown told Philly.com. “I think that is true. He’s proud of that and I think he lives it.”
On Wednesday, Brown again addressed the topic of Embiid jogging and playing tennis while not yet being deemed ready to play in a basketball game, to nj.com.
“I don’t mind, I really don’t mind,” Brown said. “I understand why people would think cobblestones and tripping. But Joel is Joel. There’s a part of him who wants to be normal and feel the city. He was out for a harmless trot, playing tennis and trying to find some fresh air and finding some way to be active.
“I don’t have any problem with it. I admit it’s a little bit out of the ordinary, a guy 7-foot-2 running down the streets of Philadelphia, but Joel Embiid is unique,” Brown added.
Asked Wednesday if Embiid would play in any preseason games, Brown said: “I don’t know that.”
Carey to Syracuse; Little to UNC
Jalen Carey and Nassir Little, two high school seniors who had KU on their original list of schools but eliminated the Jayhawks in the last month or so, committed on Wednesday to Syracuse and North Carolina, respectively.
Carey, a 6-4 point guard from Immaculate Conception High in Montclair, N.J., who is ranked No. 49 in the recruiting class of 2018 by Rivals.com, chose Syracuse over Connecticut in a video released on Twitter.
Little, a 6-6 small forward from Orlando (Fla.) Christian Prep who is ranked No. 5 by Rivals.com, chose North Carolina over Georgia Tech and Duke. He eliminated Arizona and Miami last week after both schools were mentioned in the FBI investigation involving college basketball recruiting.