POPLARVILLE, Miss. (PRCC Athletics) - The two-time defending Region XXIII Champion Pearl River Wildcats have completed their 2020-21 roster with one final addition.
NJCAA Coach of the Year Chris Oney announced Friday the Wildcats have signed 6-foot-11 transfer James Ellis.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native joins the Wildcats after spending the last two seasons at Duquesne.
"James is a kid who's coming in with a lot of experience and a lot of hunger," Oney said. "He's poised to take that next big step like our other Division 1 transfers have in the past."
Listed at 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, Ellis will add a needed post presence to the Wildcats' lineup.
"Every year in recruiting you have empty boxes. James' best attribute will obviously be protecting the rim. He's also a great finisher in the paint," Oney said of Ellis, who has a 7-foot, 7-inch wingspan. "With the signing of James, we checked off the last box heading into this year with an eye on three-peating as region champs."
Ellis appeared in five games for Duquesne as a redshirt freshman in 2019-20.
Prior to signing with the Dukes, Ellis was a highly sought-after recruit from Pittsburgh's Westinghouse High.
He averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds and an astonishing 7.6 blocks per game while leading Westinghouse to the City League title game and a PIAA first-round win. He finished his prep career with 1,014 points and collected a number of honors, including being named the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's City League Player of the Year. He also landed on several teams, including the Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class 3A All-State First Team, the Post-Gazette's "Fabulous Five" and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's "Trib 10" all-star squad.
When Ellis originally signed with DU in May 2018, Dukes coach Keith Dambrot raved about the center's potential.
“James has great touch, he can run the floor and has shown excellent timing as a shot blocker,” he said.