The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Stevenson: Perry Ellis big time recruit for KU on, off court

  • Kansas University has recently had more than their fair share of problems with the NCAA concerning recruits in basketball and football.

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  • Kansas University has recently had more than their fair share of problems with the NCAA concerning recruits in basketball and football.
    That will not be the case with their most highly regarded incoming freshman basketball player.
    Perry Ellis (6-8, 220), who had a superb basketball career at Wichita Heights, is also a star in the classroom. On May 20, Ellis represented his high school as one of four valedictorians; he compiled a perfect 4.0 grade point average during his four years of high school. In today’s world, that’s a more remarkable accomplishment than his extraordinary high school basketball records.
    Ellis was voted the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year each of the four years he played at Wichita Heights and Rivals.com has him rated as the 24th best incoming freshman in the nation.
    During his senior season, he averaged 25.8 points per game and 9.4 rebounds. Ellis hit 67 percent of his shots from the field, 43.4 from 3-point range, and 78.3 from the free throw line. Wichita Heights won the state championship all four years that Ellis played.
    Perry Ellis will report to KU for summer school and team workouts during the first week of June. Ellis recently said, “A lot of good people around basketball have been through Kansas. I’m thankful that I’m going to be a part of it and I’m ready to get better.”
    Ellis will probably play at both power forward and small forward during the 2012-13 season. He has the quickness and ball handling ability to play outside as well as in the pivot.
    Perry Ellis won’t need any special permission from the NCAA to become a prized and productive member of KU’s basketball team.

    * * * * *

    Without question the Kansas City Royals have been one of the most disappointing teams in Major League Baseball.
    For the last two years, KC’s fans have been told by the baseball experts that the Royals have a great minor league farm system. That may still prove to be true.
    KC has three major areas of concern that have caused a dismal start to the 2012 season.
    The most damaging factor in the early going has been the number of serious injuries. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain and catcher Salvy Perez have been out with injuries — Perez for all of the early season and Cain for most of it. Closer Joakim Soria is finished for 2012 with arm surgery, along with bullpen regular Blake Wood and starter Danny Duffy.
    That’s the loss of five key players; Perez’s and Cain’s injuries have been particularly costly because they were expected to be dynamic everyday players.
    There’s been a significant lack of expected performance from most of the everyday players. Third baseman Mike Moustakas, shortstop Alcides Escobar, and DH Billy Butler are the notable exceptions — they have played at a high level on defense and with their bats. But the outfield has been dismal.
    Page 2 of 2 - With Cain’s injury, center field has been a weakness. Neither Jarrod Dyson nor Mitch Maier has hit at a major league level and they are average at best on defense. Alex Gordon in left and Jeff Francoeur in right have performed well below expectations with their hitting.
    Second baseman Chris Getz has been all right, but he’s battled minor injuries. And Yuniesky Betancourt has been on the DL. Rookie Irving Falu has filled in well and Johnny Giavotella is battling for regular duty.
    First baseman Eric Hosmer has been mired in a hitting slump, but he’ll come out of it. Hosmer is solid on defense and has proved he can hit big league pitching.
    The catching has been handled mainly by Humberto Quintero; his backup is Brayan Pena. Both are average on defense and neither has been effective with their hitting.
    KC’s starting pitching has been a problem, but not to the extent of the injuries and play of the everyday players.
    Manager Ned Yost also comes in for some of the blame. He changes the batting order almost every day and that doesn’t help the ballclub’s stability. Yost often leaves the starting pitchers in too long when they begin to falter. And his team makes way too many costly base running and defensive mistakes. All of those things are his responsibility.
    In short, Yost’s team doesn’t play sound fundamental baseball and that can’t be blamed on their youthfulness.
    After a 8-2 loss on May 29 at Baltimore that was filled with fundamental errors by the Royals, Yost said, “We just didn’t play well tonight.”
    That’s become the rule rather than the exception. Four months remain in the season and Kansas City has the talent to play much better than they have so far. But it’s time for Yost to take off the kid gloves and start demanding smart baseball from his team.
    Or it’s time to replace Yost.
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