By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
A pair of larger-than-life Jayhawks were roaming the court at the Thomas Jefferson Fieldhouse on Friday afternoon.
Perry Ellis, a sophomore forward for Bill Self’s Kansas team, and Greg Dreiling, a former KU center and 10-year NBA veteran, were on hand to give their expertise and encouragement at the Thomas Jefferson Advanced Basketball Skills Camp.
The camp was hosted by Bill Carter, current director of development at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, and former coach who is in the MBCA Hall of Fame and the Texas A&M-Kingsville Hall of Fame.
He coached Dreiling and Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel to a state title in the 1980s.
“When Coach Carter calls, I come running,” Dreiling said. “He said he had a bunch of young kids who wanted to learn basketball and the lessons it can teach, so here we are.
“He could call me over to China or South America. Wherever he is, coaching or teaching, I’ll be there for him.”
Dreiling was on hand all week to help instruct the campers, but Ellis was the main attraction on Friday.
Ellis, a highly-touted recruit out of Wichita Heights, is coming off a freshman season that saw him start slow before coming on strong late.
The 6-foot-8 forward displayed a mix of power and finesse around the basket that sometimes called to mind post players of an earlier generation, such as Dreiling, who starred for Kansas from 1983 to 1986.
“I definitely am (old school) with some of my moves,” Ellis said. “I can shoot left-hand hooks, right-hand hooks and a lot of shake moves with it.
“It was nice getting to meet (Dreiling) in person finally.”
Dreiling, who played for the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, had similar words when discussing Ellis’ game, even referring him to Celtics great Kevin McHale at one point.
“He’s developing an all-around game. I love his ability to turn around and hit the jump shot,” he said. “ He’s got nice up-and-under moves, kind of McHale-like down in the low block. You have to honor his jump shot and he can give you head fake after hitting a couple and then swing it through and finish with jump-hooks the other direction.
“And he’s just going to keep building on that. He has a nice foundation.”
Ellis and the Jayhawks dropped a dramatic overtime game to Michigan in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last March, failing to hold a 14-point second-half lead and a five-point lead with 21 seconds left.
“You lose games and there’s nothing you can do about it now,” said Ellis, who had eight points and five rebounds in the loss. “We’re just looking forward, not looking back at that. We’re just worried about the next season and working hard.”
The Jayhawks made big news when they secured Andrew Wiggins, the top recruit in the 2013 class, earlier this summer.
“He’s a great kid, a humble kid,” Ellis said of Wiggins. “He’s similar to me in that he’s real quiet. He’s a great kid and he’s doing great up there right now. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
The Jayhawks will send a young team onto the court this season, but Ellis said he had high hopes for the squad.
“This is going to be a real athletic team. We’re going to be able to run and get up and down the court a lot,” he said. “It’s going to be different. We’ll have a lot of new faces so we’ll have to get adjusted well. It’s going to be great.”