Cody Ellis will not play for the Perth Wildcats, the team his father played 302 NBL games for, instead deciding to wear the purple and gold after he decided today to sign a two year deal with the Sydney Kings.
Ellis returns to Australia upon completion of his communications degree at the University of St Louis, where he has played for the Billikins for the past four years. At 23 years of age and standing 203cm the Ellis will be sure to provide a spark off the bench for the Kings and could quite possibly be favourite to win this years Rookie of the Year award.
The Wildcats had been vocal in their hopes to sign Ellis as an under-24 development player next season and had been involved in talks with the NBL to investigate whether an exemption could be made due to Ellis’ birthday falling just six days outside next April’s cut-off date.
Rather than wait to find out the answer Shane Heal’s Sydney Kings swooped in to offer Ellis a spot on the club’s twelve man roster, where he will be joining fellow big name recruit AJ Ogilvy and last year’s biggest surprise performer current Boomers gaurd Ben Madgen.
“Cody is a fantastic pick-up for the Sydney Kings,” Heal said.
“Whilst it’s crucial to have an eye on the present, I also believe we need to invest in the future.”
The roster opportunity arose for Ellis after Kings big man Ian Crosswhite suddenly announced his retirement last week.
“It’s not perfect for him to come in to the group in mid-December, but we hope to ease him in and believe he can contribute in the second half of the year.” said Heal
Mike Ellis won two NBL championships in 1990 and 1991 (He also won another two championships as an assistant coach in 1995 and 2000), all of his 302 NBL career games were as captain and his jersey hangs among the rafters at Perth Arena.
Cody Ellis first Television Interview in 2007
“Cody, whose father Mike was a champion in our sport, will become a very good NBL player and I look forward to help develop his skills so he can play a valuable role in our future success” said Heal.
Cody Ellis will not lead the Kings in scoring but he will help them win, it’s something his father no doubt instilled in him well. This was proven during his senior year in college when he averaged 83% from the charity stripe and led the team in charges taken. Cody Ellis is a playing in the same mould of Tony Ronaldson, David Stiff and of course Mike Ellis whose play is synonymous in helping teams win.
The streaky long range shooting of Ellis was pivotal in the St Louis Billikens 62-56 victory over Virginia Commonwealth to win the 2013 Atlantic 10 conference tournament.
Ellis was also a big part of the 2009 Australia under 19 squad who led the Emus to an undefeated pool play record and to the bronze-medal game. He was Australia’s second-leading scorer in that tournament and third on the team in rebounding.
The Sydney Kings roster now stands at 12 players with Cody Ellis, Shaun Gleeson, Kyle Armour, James Harvey, Jesse Sanders, AJ Ogilvy, Ben Madgen, Kevin White, Charles Carmouche, Brad Hill, Ben Allen and Tom Garlepp.