Keenan Ellis is back with the D-1 Greyhounds 17 and under team. And the 6-foot-10, 190-pound center is bringing some new found confidence with him.
Ohio AAU rules won't allow more than two players from the same high school team on the same AAU team during the school year so Ellis has been holding down the middle for the Greyhounds' 16 and under program. He's had his chance to shine with the younger guys but now that he's back with O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker, teammates at North College Hill in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ellis is beaming.
"I'm real happy to be back," Ellis said. "Real happy."
The long and lanky shot-blocker is still painfully thin and the five-star prospect from the class of 2007 admits he should have spent some more time with the squat machine and the bench press.
"My game is a little bit better. I should have hit the weights a little more harder," Ellis said.
He is armed with some mental strength this year though.
"Confidence, a lot more confidence," Ellis said when asked what he's bringing to the table this year opposed to last. "I feel like I can do more than what I used to do. I feel like I can go out there and compete with anybody now. The confidence is something you always have but once you build on it you can be a whole different player."
College coaches can start recruiting class of 2007 with phone calls and Ellis has received his fair share of conversations and text messages. But the Indianapolis native said the calls don't hold a lot of weight yet.
"I haven't paid any attention to it at all," Ellis said. "Honestly, I haven't."
Want proof he isn't thinking about it? Check his school list. "The Big Ten conference," Ellis explains who is recruiting him. "I couldn't even tell you who I like. I just don't think about it."
Ellis will be back in action at the ABCD camp on July 6 in New Jersey.