LAS VEGAS (TNS) — For former Kansas star Perry Ellis, the process of crafting his game as a professional basketball player has been a fulfilling experience.
He's come close to realizing his NBA dream, playing well in the developmental G League in 2017 and being invited back to play in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas for the third straight year since graduating from the University of Kansas in 2016.
Ellis has been playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, who lost to the 76ers, 91-89, Saturday. Ellis scored three points to go along with a rebound and a block in five minutes of action.
While playing in the NBA is a dream, it's not the No. 1 priority for Ellis.
"For me, the thing I enjoy the most is the process of getting better as a complete basketball player," Ellis said. "I'm really enjoying putting in the work and adding things to my game and improving. I want to see what I can do next.
"I'm definitely enjoying it and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon."
Right now Ellis, a 6-foot-8 forward, has been working on perfecting a mid-range jumper to add to his arsenal.
But he hasn't had much playing time to showcase his skills for the Bucks in summer league.
If Ellis doesn't hear back from an NBA team following summer league, he said he's just as comfortable returning overseas to play professionally. In the 2017-18 season, Ellis excelled for the Sydney Kings in Australia (14.8 points, 4.7 rebounds) and then finished the year with Red October Cantu in Italy (7.1 points, 4.9 rebounds).
"There's a lot of ways to make money all over the world," Ellis said. "There will be opportunities, I just have to see what shapes up for me after summer league. If nothing works out here, then most likely Europe."
Exploring major international cities like Sydney and Italy, all while getting paid to play basketball, has been an enjoyable experience for Ellis.
But whenever he can, he likes to return home to Wichita, Kan., and give back to his community. Ellis won four straight state championships from 2009-12.
Next weekend Ellis is partnering with Fellowship of Christian Athletes to host an elite basketball skills camp at Derby North Middle School in Derby, Kan. The camp is targeted for first- through eighth-graders.
"It's always been a big part of me to be able to give back to my community," Ellis said. "FCA came to me and offered to put this on and I think it's a good opportunity for me to share how basketball and God impacted my life. Both of those things are a big part of who I am.
"They'll get all of the drills and the coaching, but they'll also get me talking about my journey with Christ and basketball and how it all kind of intertwined together."