Kansas Jayhawks: Perry Ellis Starting to Silence Critics

Perry Ellis and the Kansas Jayhawks have had an up and down year.

The Jayhawks as a team have been criticized as too young, too small, and just not good enough.

Ellis has been called soft, not emotional enough, and ragged on for missing a few critical shots.

Yet, here we are March 2 and the Jayhawks are one win away from an 11th straight Big 12 Conference title, and Ellis was just named conference player of the week — for the third time.

That’s what happens when fans, media and everyone else expect you to be good all the time.

It’s an unrealistic, unfair expectation, but one that will exist as long as sports are around.

I have to include myself in the list of critics — at least at times.

At 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, he does seem to get pushed around some under the basket. He still has too many shots blocked and fades away from the hoop more than he should.

But honestly, what else do the critics expect?

The man is averaging 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds per game. In the past five it has been 22.4 and 8.

Those are pretty good numbers for being “soft.”

Ellis is the only Big 12 player to register in the top-10 for points (6th) and rebounds (4th). The most comparable player would be Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash who is second and 14th respectively.

He’s also shooting 47 percent from the field (sixth in the Big 12 among qualifiers), and 70.7 percent from the free-throw line. That puts him at 12th in the conference.

How dare he finish outside the top-10 in a category!

He nearly became the first Jayhawk to score 30 points in a game this season with 28 Saturday against Texas. While it did seem like he once again had his shot blocked a few too many times, he still muscled his way to a game-high 13 rebounds.

It’s time we stop criticizing Ellis and recognize that while he may not be conventionally good, he’s still good.

In fact he’s better than good.

He’s been the most consistent Jayhawk since the end of January, and if he closes the year playing like he is now, he might just go and pass Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield as the favorite for Big 12 Player of the Year.

It’s time to recognize that his play the past two weeks is a major reason the Jayhawks are about to wrap up another conference title.

If you Google “Perry Ellis, soft” you get hits about the famous designer Perry Ellis and his line of boxers and other clothing.

And that’s all it should be.