Kansas' Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis has announced that he will return to Lawrence for his senior campaign.
Rumors had been swirling around Ellis after both Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr. announced their intentions to enter the NBA Draft. The theory goes that Ellis has proven all that he can in college basketball, so why not give it a shot at the next level? Instead, the return of the Wichita native puts Kansas in a strong position to win their 12th straight Big 12 championship.
Ellis has been one of the most productive offensive players for the Jayhawks over the past two seasons. Last year, he led the team in both scoring and rebounding. His 13.8 points per game accounted for 18.3 percent of the total points the Jayhawks scored this season while both his offensive and defensive rebounding rates ranked in the top 500 nationally according to KenPom. Ellis has been a mainstay in the starting lineup for Kansas over the past two seasons, playing nearly 70 percent of available minutes during each campaign.
Had Ellis chosen to declare for the NBA Draft, the Jayhawks would have been put in a difficult spot. Kansas would need to rely on a group of returning front court players that lack offensive firepower while attempting to integrate incoming freshman Carlton Bragg as quickly as possible. Instead, Kansas will get to rely on the steady hand of Ellis without having any additional pressures to land another high profile big man this spring.
Bragg should fill in nicely as a more offensively talented version of Alexander while Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk ought to be able to replace the departing Oubre. Ellis, though, will be the focal point as he tries to lead the Jayhawks to another Big 12 championship and a deeper NCAA Tournament run.
Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly calculated the percentage of points Perry Ellis accounted for.