Former Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis will continue his professional basketball career in France

Former University of Kansas forward Perry Ellis will continue his professional basketball career in France during the 2022-23 season.

Cholet Basket, a team based in Cholet, France, announced on Monday the signing of the 6-foot-8, 28-year-old Wichita native to a one-year contract.

Cholet Basket evolves in the French Pro A championship.

Ellis, who was not selected in the 2016 NBA Draft after playing at KU four seasons, has competed for teams on four continents during his professional career. He is ready for his last opportunity.

“I’m really excited to play in France. We have to go with KU. We went to play (exhibitions) there my freshman year,” Ellis said Monday in an interview with the Star.

He noted that he and his wife were expecting a baby.

“We will have the baby in France. We plan to bring our parents out at some point. It’s an exciting time,” Ellis said.

He traveled overseas after playing his first professional ball season (2016-17) for the Greensboro Swarm (North Carolina) of the NBA G League. After that he played in Australia, Italy, Germany and Turkey.

After undergoing knee surgery in the summer of 2019, Ellis spent the 2019-20 season working as the video coordinator for KU basketball coach Bill Self.

In 2020-21 he returned to the field, playing for Ehime Orange Vikings in Japan. In 2021-22, he played for Osaka Evessa in Japan, then was acquired by Saga Ballooners, another team in Japan. An American player was injured on Saga’s team, so Osaka loaned Ellis to Saga.

In 19 games last season for Saga, Ellis averaged 15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. For Osaka Evessa, he averaged 10.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 14 games.

“It’s a blessing,” Ellis said of playing in so many places. “Not many people can play and travel like that. I’m making the most of this opportunity while I can.

He said he is 100% healthy right now and the current drafts have been playing for a long time.

“I probably could,” he said, asking if he could go on for another 10 years. “We will see how it goes from year to year. It was a chore last year in Japan (but) my body was awesome.

In Japan, he watched his alma mater beat North Carolina in the national title game on TV.

“It was awesome to see that. It was a crazy game for sure,” Ellis said of KU’s 72-69 comeback win. “It was so cool to see. I was really happy for everyone.”

Lawrence Vila, the head coach of Ellis’ new team, released a statement on the power forward’s signing on Monday.

“In addition to Kim Tille (power forward), we chose Perry Ellis who was very good at the University of Kansas and who had started his professional career very well. But he seriously injured his knee in 2019 and found himself sidelined for a season. He is ready to return to Europe after two great seasons in Japan. He is able to score from the three-point line as well as near the circle. He is a very selfless player who has a good reputation. Perry Ellis was diligent and disciplined on the teams he played for.

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