Doesn't it seem like Perry Ellis has been in high school for 10 years?
We've known about Ellis, because of his immense basketball talent, for a long time, since he was coming up the ranks in youth basketball. His reputation, as they say, preceded him.
And in two-plus seasons at Heights, where he's helped the Falcons win two state championships and is currently steering them to a possible third, he's done nothing to diminish himself.
Six schools are on pins and needles because of the 6-fot-8 Ellis, a junior, who trimmed his long list of potential suitors to six last month. They include, in alphabetical order: Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis, Oklahoma, Wichita State.
Who knows what order Ellis has them in?
Wichita State could be No. 1. Or Memphis. Maybe Kentucky.
Hard for me to believe Oklahoma has a real chance, but that's not based on any inside information. It's based on where the OU program is at the moment.
But Ellis isn't the only blue-chipper in town. North sophomore guard Conner Frankamp burst on to the scene in December, when he set a City League record by scoring 52 points during an overtime loss to Northwest.
Frankamp was later slowed by a concussion, but returned from the holiday break healthy, his jump shot as good as ever.
Frankamp was a starter for North last season as a freshman, but that senior-dominated team didn't fully utilize his talents.
Now, he's the go-to guy for the Redskins, who aren't winning many games because there's not an abundance of talent to help Frankamp.
Ellis, meanwhile, plays on a deep and well-rounded team that includes another Division I player, Evan Wessel, and a couple of other very good players. Ellis has never had to be "the man." If he has an off night, there are others capable of taking up the slack.
It's been a great way for Ellis to grow as a player and as a person. There's no question in my mind that if Ellis wasn't part of such a talented team, he could easily average 25 points and 15 rebounds. But he doesn't have to.
Some wonder what position Ellis will play in college. He's not a center, but he could be an effective power forward, especially as he continues to fill out. Ellis loves to bang inside and we don't get to see him stray to the perimeter much, either to guard or play offense. But recruiting experts who have seen Ellis in summer tournaments tell me he's more than capable of being a consistent shooter from the 15- to 18-foot range.
Ellis hasn't shown us his full arsenal at Heights. He doesn't have to — that's what summer is for. Heights coach Joe Auer doesn't need to use Ellis in unfamiliar places to showcase his talents for college coaches. Those coaches are already aware of what Ellis can and can't do.
Frankamp isn't a five-star prospect like Ellis. Not yet, anyway.
But anybody who can score and shoot the way the 6-1 Frankamp can score and shoot warrants a lot of attention. And Frankamp is getting it.
He's obviously a driven kid, willing to put in the work necessary to reach his potential. Having seen him play a couple of times, I'd say he's a better-than-average ball handler and passer, although he doesn't pass a lot. North coach Gary Squires needs Frankamp to have the ball in his hands most of the time, and most of the Redskins' offense goes through the sophomore guard.
It's too early to tell whether Frankamp projects as a high Division I player. The kid still has 2 1/2 seasons of high school basketball remaining and although he's been a known commodity in AAU circles, I'll guarantee you his 52-point game and high scoring average this season are going to increase his recruiting profile.
Ellis and Frankamp aren't the only big-time prospects in the City League. Southeast junior forward Gavin Thurman, who at 6-8 can play effectively on the perimeter, has a chance to be a special college player, too.
But Ellis and Frankamp are the guys everyone is talking about. They've been talking about Ellis for years now. They're talking about Frankamp because 52 points gets tongues wagging.