For years now, Perry Ellis has been hearing the jokes that he's been at Kansas long enough to have played with Wilt Chamberlain or Danny Manning.
I've made a couple Wilt jokes myself on Twitter, and Ellis showed his sense of humor by rolling with the punches.
"Since I supposedly have unlimited eligibility why don't I just come back next year?" Ellis joked on Senior Day after his final home game at Allen Fieldhouse, an 85-78 victory over Iowa State in which Ellis went for 22 points and 7 rebounds.
As it turns out, Ellis' eligibility is actually up and Kansas will have to replace him in 2016-17.
They hope to do so with Thon Maker, the 7-footer from Athlete Institute in Ontario, Canada, who took his first official visit to Kansas for the Senior Day festivities against Iowa State.
"Basically, I would replace Perry Ellis as a skilled big for them," Maker told me Sunday night by phone. "They get Udoka [Azubuike] and he would play the five but they recruit 2-4 bigs a year and my job is to replace Perry Ellis and bring that same type of skillset and energy."
Maker added of Ellis: "He was the heart of the team. Even though the offense doesn't look like it runs through him, he was the heart of the team."
Maker took his first official to Kansas and enjoyed the atmosphere.
"It was good, it was good," he said. "They put on a show. It was not an easy team to beat on Senior Night, it was good. It wasn't an easy team to beat. Iowa State put up a fight."
Maker didn't stay with any Kansas players on the visit.
"Me and Coach [Ed] Smith stayed in a hotel," Maker said.
Kansas loses Ellis, Hunter Mickelson and Jamari Traylor to graduation and could lose freshman Cheick Diallo to the NBA Draft. He's projected as the No. 31 pick by DraftExpress.com.
They will return freshman Carlton Bragg, who would play alongside Maker, as would incoming power forward Mitch Lightfoot.
"Oh most definitely, we lose four or five big guys," Kansas assistant Jerrance Howard said on The 4 Quarters Podcast. "That's always been our goal coming into this class, recruit two or three big guys and we're on track. We're always losing guys and always adding pieces. We're always recruiting at a high level and trying to get the best kids at Kansas basketball."
Smith, meantime, was impressed by the Kansas visit.
"They're in our top five and one of the serious contenders," Smith told SNY.tv. "They have a lot of positives. They return a strong backcourt in Frank Mason and Devonte' Graham. I think they're going to get a couple of other pieces. They'll be making a push. They have a very strong supporting cast."
Maker is also considering Indiana, Arizona State, Notre Dame, St. John's and UNLV but has no other dates planned right now. St. John's assistant Barry "Slice" Rohrssen visited him in Canada last week.
"I think we might have a few more visits within the next three weeks," Maker said.
Asked where, he said, "Nah, I don't know yet."
A projected first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com, he hopes to decide by April.
"Yeah, by April," he said. "Whenever in April."
He's looking forward to getting it over with.
"Yeah, just get it out off my chest," he said. "I can't wait. The good thing is I got time so I have to use that time to consider every choice I have."
BAMBA, RANDOLPH ATTEND ST. JOHN'S GAME
Mohamed Bamba and Brandon Randolph, two Class of 2017 stars from the Westtown (Pa.) School and the PSA Cardinals AAU program, attended the Providence-St. John's game on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
"St. John's has done a great job and is showing Mohamed and Brandon that they will be very important to their future," PSA Cardinals coach Terrance "Munch" Williams, a Wesleyan University man, told SNY.tv.
Bamba, Randolph and 2017 forward Hasahn French left the game to workout at Terminal 23 near the Garden.
"It was a great experience," Randolph, who also holds offers from Louisville, Xavier, Seton Hall and others, told SNY.tv. "They came up us before the game and said hi."
COLE ANTHONY ADDS ST. JOHN'S, GEORGETOWN OFFERS
Cole Anthony, the 6-3 Class of 2019 point guard from Archbishop Molloy, had a huge game on Sunday, going for 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists as Molloy knocked off Iona Prep, 53-43, in the CHSAA Class A Intersectional playoffs at Fordham.
Molloy will meet Xaverian in the semifinals on Wednesday at St. John's after Xaverian knocked off Cardinal Hayes.
Anthony, the son of former Knicks point guard Greg Anthony, was rewarded with offers from St. John's and Georgetown. Numerous coaches were on hand to watch Anthony, including Minnesota's Richard Pitino and Kimani Young, St. John's Barry "Slice" Rohrssen, Georgetown's Tavaris Hardy, Miami's Chris Caputo, VCU's Rasheen Davis, Rutgers' Van Macon and UCF's Oliver Antigua.
"I see it but that's not my focus right now, I'm focused on this game and I'm trying to win it," Anthony said.
Anthony said he grew up rooting for Duke and UCLA.
"A lot of the big colleges, I'm a fan of all of them," he said. "My dad, me and him talk about it, but it's not for the public right now."
In the end, Anthony will end up going wherever he wants. For now, he's focused on a championship.
"We just have an incredible group of guys this year, guys who just do not give up," Anthony said.
MOSES BROWN WANTS TO VISIT MARYLAND, KANSAS
Moses Brown, a 6-11 sophomore big man from Molloy, holds offers from St. John's, Minnesota, Iona and St. Peter's.
"The other day Minnesota offered me, St. John's," Brown said. "High interest from Kansas, UConn, Tennessee, Maryland."
Georgetown is also interested now.
Brown said he hopes to visit a couple schools soon.
"Definitely I'm going to visit Kansas and Maryland soon," said Brown, who went for 11 rebounds, 6 points and 6 blocks against Iona Prep. "I want to become more versatile and also work on my speed."
RAKYM FELDER TO SOUTH CAROLINA
Rakym Felder, a 6-1 point guard from Abraham Lincoln High, committed to South Carolina.
He is still waiting on his test score but hopes to be academically eligible.
"USC is my dream school," Felder told SNY.tv. "I always wanted to go there since I was young. Coach [Frank] Martin opens doors and kept it real with me. I know Coach Martin will push me past my limits and have faith in me to get the job done."
As for his skillset, Felder said, "I will be a floor general to lead the team with character and heart."
Lincoln coach Tiny Morton has coached Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair, Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Whitehead.
"He's a tough point guard that will run through a wall for you," Morton said. "He can hit the open three but thrives on ball pressure defense."
Felder joins 6-9 Sedee Keita and 6-9 Maik Kotsar of Estonia in South Carolina's 2016 class. Corey Evans first reported the Kotsar commitment.
Omar Silverio, a 6-2 sophomore guard from St. Raymond's, added offers from VCU and UCF after dropping 24 points in a 79-77 double-OT loss to Christ the King. CTK junior point guard Jose Alvarado went for 21 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in the win. Alvardo holds offers from St. John's, Seton Hall and Indiana, among others. Holy Cross-bound forward Tyrone Cohen added 22 points and 7 rebounds, including a clutch shot off the window in the first OT that forced the second OT. Christ the King will face the Bishop Loughlin in the Class AA semifinals on Wednesday at St. John's after Loughlin beat Holy Cross, 78-62.