Boom Sydney recruit Cody Ellis says the lure of playing under NBL legend Shane Heal was the primary reason for him linking with the Kings.
Ellis joined his new club this morning after stepping off a plane from the USA, where he has been attending University in St Louis and playing College basketball for the past four years.
His signature with the Kings was inked earlier this year but his arrival had to wait until he had completed his studies in business.
Among the first to greet Ellis on his arrival in Sydney was his new coach.
“Shane Heal has been anywhere and everywhere with basketball and he’s seen it all, done it all. So with his knowledge being a point guard you know he can help develop my game and show me what he wants for me,” Ellis said.
The 203cm College star is the son of Perth club great Mike Ellis. Mike played more than 300 games for the Wildcats and captained Perth to their first NBL title in 1990.
The family synergy with Perth is strong. Cody’s uncles Glenn and Brett both played for the Wildcats in the 1980’s. His grandfather Gordon also coached the club for a season.
But despite all that, he chose Sydney as the club where he is likely to make his NBL debut on December 29 against the New Zealand Breakers. And he says there are a few nerves now that he has landed back on Australian soil.
“A little bit but once you hit the court you kind of forget that kind of stuff,” Ellis said.
“You kind of have that white line fever where as soon as you step across the line it’s you, the guys on the floor and your teammates. And that’s all that you care about. The crowd is an added bonus obviously.”
“But now, sitting down thinking about it, there’s definitely that added pressure but I won’t let it get to me that much.”
Ellis was in the States awaiting his NBL assignment when news broke that NBA star Sam Young was joining the Kings as its new import.
“It was pretty awesome to be honest with you. You know, high-flying Sam Young! I’ve seen him play for all the teams he played for over in the States,” Ellis said.
“I’ve always liked his game and it’s going to be good to play with him. I think he’ll definitely be able to pass on knowledge that could help me.”
And he said the signing of Young caused quite a stir among the American basketball scene when it was revealed early last month.
“I think it’s good for the club. It’s good for the league the fact that we’re starting to get some high name players down here means that it kind of opens up the scene to the rest of the world that we’re here to play and we can play.”
Ellis joins a Kings line-up currently third on the NBL ladder.
Press play to see his first official NBL interview!