Former Kansas Jayhawks basketball forward Perry Ellis returns to U.S. as champion

Former University of Kansas men’s basketball standout Perry Ellis returned to the United States on May 12 after leading his Fukui Blowinds team to a championship in Japan’s pro basketball B3 League.

Ellis is a 6-foot-8, 220-pound, 30-year-old forward from Wichita. He played at KU from 2012 to 2016, averaging 15.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 56 games for the Blowinds, a team that won 46 of its 50 games.

Ellis hit 54.9% of his two-point shots and cashed 36.3% of his 3s. He hit 67.5% of his free throws while playing 25.4 minutes per game.

Ellis scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting (2-of-3 from 3 and 4-of-5 from the line) in a 98-88 title-clinching victory over the Kagoshima Rebnise on May 5. Former East Tennessee State player Tray Boyd had 26 points and five rebounds for the Blowinds.

“It was a great season. I feel our team had great chemistry. All the pieces worked and it definitely showed,” Ellis told The Star in a recent interview. “My body felt good overall and I felt I was pretty productive this season. It was definitely my favorite year as a pro and also got my first championship,” he added.

Ellis scored a season-high 28 points in one game for the Blowinds, who by winning the crown gain automatic admission into Japan’s B2 League next season.

Ellis has played in Japan for three of his eight seasons as a pro. He sat out the 2019-20 season rehabbing from knee surgery.

Ellis in 2022-23 played for Cholet Basket in France’s top league. In 37 games he averaged 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists. He also played 19 games in the FIBA Europe Cup, averaging 12.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. Ellis helped his team reach the Cup final where it lost to Anwil Wloclawek of Poland.

In 2021-22 he averaged 15.3 points and 5..8 rebounds for the Saga Ballooners in the Japanese B2 League. He also played 14 games that season for Osaka Evessa of the B1 League, averaging 10.9 points and 3.5 boards.

Ellis, who plans on returning to Fukui, Japan to fulfill terms of his two-year contract, has played basketball in eight countries on four continents (Europe, Asia, Australia, North America). He has played previously professionally in Australia (Kings), Germany (Oliver Baskets), Italy (Cantu), Turkey (Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi) and Japan (Ehime Orange Vikings) as well as the NBA G League.

“I signed with the same team so I’m hoping we can make another good push. We moved up to to the next division after winning the championship,” Ellis said.

Of keeping up with KU, Ellis said: “I try and follow the best I can. With the 14-hour time difference it gets difficult. On my off days I try and stay up late or wake up early to watch.”

Ellis at KU was part of four Big 12 championship teams. In 2015-16, the Jayhawks went 33-5 overall, losing to Villanova in the Elite Eight. He ended his career No. 8 on the Kansas career scoring list at 1,798 points and No. 12 on the rebounding list (834). Ellis was consensus second-team All-America and two-time first-team all-Big 12 selection. He also was two-time Big 12 men’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year.