Opportunity can present itself in a myriad of ways but it's all about how you respond to it. In front of a record crowd of over 19 thousand fans Perry Ellis showed that he truly belongs in that crimson and blue uniform.
When Kevin Young went to the bench with a leg injury Ellis took over the entire game. He finished shooting 10 of 12 from the field and leading all scorers with 23 points. No matter where he was on the court he was a threat to score. All the while, Young was watching from the bench. He was cheering and smiling like a proud father. "I loved it," said Young. "He gave us a lot of energy. Every time he got the ball I'm like, attack Perry, attack! You got it. And he started dunking and stuff and I was over there jumping up and down and having a lot of fun just watching him play."
With just over 6 minutes left in the game Perry went up for a monstrous dunk giving him 18 points on the night and giving Kansas a 12 point lead over the Cyclones. The crowd starting chanting his name, Per-ry, Per-ry, over and over again. Ellis says, "I heard it a little bit but I wasn't paying much attention. I was just focused on the game."
A few media members sitting next to me were commenting on how this is the game they've been waiting to see from Perry. The game I was fortunate enough to see for four years when Ellis was dominating the Wichita city league at Heights. "There's high expectations on Perry coming in," said coach Self. "And a lot of the expectations probably weren't fair. But now, get through to the end of the season and everything, and for the first time he was able to show everybody what he's capable of doing."
This is the first time that the entire Kansas fan base has been able to see what Perry is able to do but the Jayhawk players and Coach Self have been witnesses all along. "We see that in practice in spurts all the time," says Self. "But that was the first time that he's been able to have the time, the minutes and the opportunity to do it during the game."
Young added that the players have been waiting a long time to find out when Perry would 'find his way' on this team, establish his role. He also said, he thinks Perry has finally found it.