Ellis Receives Mr. Jayhawk Award at Team Banquet

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Perry Ellis was honored with the Danny Manning “Mr. Jayhawk” Award in front of the Kansas basketball family to highlight the annual team banquet activities on Wednesday night at Abe & Jake’s downtown Lawrence.  

The night was emceed by longtime radio voice of the Jayhawks Bob Davis, who is stepping down after 32 years behind the mic. Kansas head coach Bill Self acknowledged the legendary play-by-play man in front of the crowd of Jayhawk fans and boosters.

“There are a lot of hall-of-famers that have walked through hallowed the halls of Allen Fieldhouse,” Self said. “Bob, you will be missed. You will never be forgotten and nobody is better at their craft than what you are at yours.”

Following a welcome by KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, dinner and a video, Self reviewed the highlights of the season and recognized the players’ parents and men’s basketball support staff before introducing the team. Each senior briefly addressed the crowd – one final chance for Ellis, Evan Manning, Hunter Mickelson, and Jamari Traylor to say their thank yous.

Kansas went 33-5 in 2015-16 and won its 12th-consecutive Big 12 regular-season title. The Jayhawks won their 10th Big 12 postseason championship and advanced to its 27th-straight NCAA Tournament. KU’s 12-straight league titles and 27 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances are the longest active streaks in NCAA Division I.

When introducing Ellis one last time, Self presented him with the Mr. Jayhawk Award for team player of the year for the second consecutive season. Ellis ended his career No. 8 on the Kansas career scoring list with 1,798 points and No. 12 on the KU career rebounding list at 834. His 16 career double-doubles tied for 13th all-time in Kansas history. Ellis is only the fifth player in KU history to rank in the top 12 in both scoring and rebounding, joining Danny Manning (2,951 points/1,187 rebounds), Nick Collison (2,097 / 1,143), Raef LaFrentz (2,066 / 1,186) and Clyde Lovellette (1,979 / 839).

In addition to three starters returning (Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham, Landen Lucas), one of the reasons why Coach Self declared “we are going to be really good next year” was made clear by the intentions of freshman forward Carlton Bragg Jr. With his ever-present smile on his face, Bragg kept it short and sweet as he announced to the crowd that he would return for his sophomore season at KU.   

Bragg’s announcement concluded what was a wonderful night of relieving memories from a year that included the Jayhawks’ 12th-consecutive Big 12 Conference regular-season title, a Big 12 tournament title – a journey that started by winning gold at the World University Game last summer.

But when a team doesn’t win the last game of the season, end-of-year banquets can sometime be a bitter-sweet affair. With two weeks of reflection, Self explained his different perspective on the season.

“After watching the video and thinking about it for the two weeks – we didn’t come up short. These guys played to their ceiling,” Self said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed coaching a group of young men more than what I have enjoyed coaching these guys this season. These guys are winners. Absolute studs. Unbelievable ambassadors to our University. They will never be forgotten by us and you will never be forgotten by our fans.”

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