Octavius Ellis is a 26 year old 208cm center playing his fourth professional season and third with ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1). Last season he helped the club reach the Greek league final playing 34 games averaging 9.7ppg, 6.0rpg, Blocks-4 (1.2bpg), FGP-2 (67.9%), FT: 72.3%; and played 14 BCL games averaging 5.9ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 67.3%, FT: 60.0%. He also played with Enisey Krasnoyarsk (Russia-VTB) and also as a rookie played with KK Mornar Basket Bar (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 8 games averaging 12.8ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 70.2%, FT: 68.8%; and also played 15 BCL games averaging 9.3ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.1spg, Blocks-5 (1.4bpg), FGP: 64.3%, FT: 69.6%; and played 25 Adriatic League games averaging 10.1ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, Blocks-3 (1.6bpg), FGP: 66.2%, FT: 68.5%. He played at Trinity Valley JC (JUCO) and played three seasons with Cincinnati (NCAA) and as a senior played 33 games averaging 9.8ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 54.7%, FT: 64.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Eurocup game in Ulm.
Thanks Octavius for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome to Germany. Your playing your third season with ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1). You already got a dose of travel with KK Mornar Basket Bar (Montenegro-Erste Liga) and Enisey Krasnoyarsk (Russia-VTB). Was the travel during the VTB season your toughest?
Yes playing in Krasnoyarsk Russia was definitely by far the toughest traveling schedule because we had to fly 5 hours to Moscow and then extra hours to our final destination.
You are preparing for a Eurocup game against ratiopharm Ulm. This is your third time in Germany? What do you know about the country and it’s basketball?
Yes this will be my third year playing against a German ball club . I know that Germany is one of the physical leagues and they always have stacked teams with quality players. They always play good basketball
You have played against German teams Oldenburg and Bayreuth. Do you offhand know what your record is against German teams?
I think that I’m 3-1 so far but I could be wrong hahaha
Congrats on the amazing season with ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1). If someone had told you in the first month of the season that you would reach the final what would you have said?
I would say that’s hard to believe but at the same time it’s basketball and anything is possible with this game
You kept a good core of last season’s team and added three new Americans. Does the team feel a lot of pressure to be as successful as last season?
Yeah we have 3 new Americans that fit right in with our system
I wouldn’t say pressure but you always want to do better than last season
How refreshing is it playing with Chris Babb? A few years ago, he was a huge reason for the massive turnaround of ratiopharm Ulm. How vital will his presence and play be for the success of the team?
Chris is one of our go to guys when we need a bucket and I like playing with Chriss he’s a great shooter and his passing and defense are very under latex I think he needs more credit for his passing as well. He played on a lot of great teams through out his career so he tries to help me on the little things that can help me get better as a player and I respect that a lot
Last season you had a very strong season in the Greek league scoring 35 points in a league game and having very good regular season games against Euroleague powerhouse clubs Panathinaikos and Olympiakos as well as having a good final series against Athens. How confident are you that you can make the next step this season on the court?
Playing against those big teams you have to show them that you can play with them because the goal is to one day be on one of those teams and doing good against those can help build your confidence as a player because it’s not easy playing against those guys
In the 2017-2018 season you began with Enisey Krasnoyarsk (Russia-VTB) and then moved to ASP Promitheas Patras. What memories do you have of Russia and was leaving the biggest step in your career?
The memories I have with Enisey were very cold and long travels but I’ve been doing good in my career with Promitheas This club has taken huge steps every year and we don’t plan on taking steps backwards I’m very happy to be a part of this Patras club
Let’s talk about your game. You can score and rebound, but are also a strong defensive presence that can block shots. Would you describe your game as a guy that defines his game through his defense which sparks his offense
Yes because if I’m not making shots I can always rely on my defensive presence and rebounding
If you had to compare your game to an NBA player to whom would you pick that most resembles your game on both ends of the court?
That’s hard to say but I’m going to go a little old school with Keyon Martin , Hakim Warrick, Tyrus Thomas,
You really improved your field goal percentage as a rookie. Is your shooting something that you feel has gone a bit unnoticed over time?
Yes I can say so my coach always tells me to shoot my mid range jumper that’s something that I will start to use more often this season
As a rookie you played with KK Mornar Basket Bar (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 8 games averaging 12.8ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 70.2%, FT: 68.8%; In the BCL you played 15 games averaging 9.3ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.1spg, Blocks-5 (1.4bpg), FGP: 64.3%, FT: 69.6%; In the Adriatic League you played 25 games averaging 10.1ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, Blocks-3 (1.6bpg), FGP: 66.2%, FT: 68.5%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away form Memphis, Tennessee?
My wake call was being alone and calling all my friends ,family ,my son and daughter on FaceTime every day and being accountable for myself
How important was a guy like America Lamont Jones in your transition from the NCAA to Europe?
It was very good to have veteran point guard like Momo my first season He tried to teach me the game as simple as possible for me because he could tell that I was lost once I first came over here
As a rookie you beat Mega Leks 87-85 in a Champions League game and you had 6 points, 12 rebounds, seven blocks and three steals. Was this one of your most memorable rookie season games?
Yes it was because my coach talked to me the next day in practice and said you see scoring isn’t everything this can make you a special player.
You started your college career in 2011 at Cincinnati (NCAA) playing only four games before playing two seasons at Trinity Valley JC (JUCO) where you won MVP honors. What was missing from your game then that helped you in your last two seasons at Cincinnati?
I would say slowing down and reading the game let the game come to me you don’t have to be in a rush all the time
Did you know in your freshman year that a guy like Sean Kilpatrick would not only make the NBA, but stay and be an impact player?
Yes I knew because his work ethic was unmatchable at the time he was a basketball junkie
You averaged 9,7ppg, 7,4rpg and 1,7bpg in your last two seasons at Cincinnati. How do you feel did you grow as a player?
Felt good but I think I still have room to improve
In your two years at Cincinnati, you had a 3-3 record against top basketball school UConn. You had some heated battles winning 58-57 or 65-60, but lost your last game against them 104-97 playing 45 minutes and scoring 13 points and getting 10 rebounds. Were these games some of your most memorable?
Yes they where because I think we went to like a triple overtime that game and always playing against UConn was going to tough because both teams had old big east mentally where nothing was going to be easy
In your last game as a junior you lost to Kentucky 64-51, but held your own with 9 points and 10 boards against a team stocked with seven future NBA players. Was that the best team you ever played at the NCAA level in terms of talent?
Yes it was by far the best team I’ve played against and I try to tell people all the time that I’ve been playing against good players and always held my own no matter who I was up against
When you look back at how you held up against big men like Trey Lyles, Karl Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein, do you ever contemplate what they have and you don’t and what separates you from the NBA?. Is there really so much skill difference? Stat wise you were all about the same in this game.
I really can’t say but I continue to do my job and just play basketball and continue to put the work in now with me it’s all about opportunities
How did head coach Mick Cronin groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He just told me to stay focused off the court and on the court think defense first and save your money and invest
How intense was the friendship and competitiveness on the court at Cincinnati with Coreontae Deberry. In an interview with me he said this about you. ‘Ellis was a good player and one of my good friends at Cincinnati. We played off each other’s energy in games and practices. I’m happy he is still chasing his dream’.
Cory was my guy playing with him was so easy when I played the 4 and he was at the 5 it used to be crazy out there on the court and yes I played the 4 and was very successful and I’m happy my big dawg is still hooping doing thing
Who won a one on one in practice you or Coreontae Deberry?
I don’t think we ever played one on one only 5 on 5 and he was a big dude to guard every day in practices I needed breaks some days
Your cousin is NBA player Monta Ellis. What has been your most memorable with him?
We were at a cook out hahaha
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Karl Towns by far and in high school was this guy named Jarnell Stokes
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
That’s a tough one Kobe Jordan Lebron Wilt
Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time debate with Michael Jordan?
I would say Lebron in my era and they also play different positions
What was the last movie that you saw?
Queen of the south
Thanks Octavius for the chat