Ellis Named Senior CLASS Award Finalist

Vote Link VOTE ELLIS: SeniorCLASSaward.com

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Kansas forward Perry Ellis has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2015-16 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate basketball, the award announced Thursday.

To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must be classified as NCAA Division I seniors and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of finalists follows this release.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their athletic platforms to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. 

The finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 men’s candidates announced in January. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to submit votes online at the Senior CLASS Award website through March 21. Fan votes will be combined with those of the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winners. The Senior CLASS Award recipients will be announced during the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four®.

Historically, Kansas’ Wayne Simien won the Senior CLASS Award in 2005. The award also recognizes five-member first and second teams. In 2002-03, Kansas’ Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich were first-team honorees. In 2011, Jayhawk Tyrel Reed was a first-team selection. 

Ellis is a sport management major and business minor who will graduate from Kansas in May 2016. The 2014-15 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year started his college career with Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team honors in 2013. Ellis has graced the Athletic Director’s and Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll seven times and has continued his academic success by being named as an Academic All-Big 12 selection in both his sophomore and junior seasons (note: the 2016 Academic All-Big 12 Team has yet to be announced). The 2015 All-America Honorable Mention honoree’s work in the classroom is no surprise as he was valedictorian at Wichita Heights High School where he carried a 4.0 grade point average.

The 2015 Danny Manning “Mr. Jayhawk” Award recipient and All-Big 12 First Team performer exudes all the qualities and characteristics expected of leader. Ellis was selected as an Honorary Hero by the Real Men Real Heroes Organization for his extraordinary contributions to the community. He has spent countless hours visiting local schools and youth centers, such as the Boys and Girls Club, to mentor and offer encouragement to young kids. He spends time volunteering at the Wichita Children’s Home, where both of his parents work. A previous NABC Good Works Team nominee, Ellis also devotes one-on-one time with Special Olympics basketball player Tony Parker and is a regular visitor of cancer patients at Via Christi Saint Francis Hospital in Wichita.

Additionally, Ellis contributes to the community as a member of the Kansas men’s basketball team. Each year the Jayhawks host the Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic during the heart of conference play. The team also gives approximately 450 women a taste of being a Jayhawk at the annual “Ladies Night Out” event in Allen Fieldhouse, an occasion that creates awareness for breast cancer and benefits Jayhawks for a Cure, the Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) and the KU Cancer Center. Every year, the KU team participates in a holiday shopping trip to Walmart in order to provide items from a wish list for area families through the Salvation Army. Finally, Ellis and his teammates sign more than 1,500 basketballs annually with proceeds going to local charities.

Ellis will go down as one of the most decorated players in Kansas men’s basketball history. He is only the eighth player in KU lore to rank in the top 15 in both the career scoring and rebounding joining the likes of Manning, Lovellete, LaFrentz, Collison, Robisch, Randall and Simien.

This season Ellis is one of only two players in the Big 12 to rank in the top seven in both scoring and rebounding. In November, he earned all-tournament honors in leading Kansas to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational title. He is on numerous national awards top lists including the Naismith Trophy Midseason 30, the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 and the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year top 10.

One of five finalists for the 2015 Karl Malone Power Forward Award, Ellis was an All-Big 12 First Team honoree as a junior and third-team all-league selection as a sophomore. A four-time Big 12 Player of the Week honoree, in Nov. 2014, Ellis was named the CBSSports.com National Player of the Week after being named the Orlando Classic Most Valuable Player. Additionally, Ellis was a 2015 NABC Division I All-District 8 First Team selection and a Lute Olson All-America Team honoree his junior year.

In the summer of 2015 Ellis started all eight games for team USA at the 2015 World University Games in winning the gold medal. Following the competition he was named to the World University Games second team.

As a freshman Ellis was named to the 2013 Big 12 All-Tournament Team in leading Kansas to the tourney title. As a sophomore in 2013-14, he was named to the all-tournament team at the Battle 4 Atlantis in addition to later being named All-Big 12 Third Team.

For more information on each of the candidates, visit SeniorCLASSaward.com.

Senior CLASS Award Finalist:
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
Perry Ellis, KANSAS
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Marcus Paige, North Carolina
Justin Sears, Yale
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga

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