June 10, 2024

NBA Player Keon Ellis Returns to Leesburg High: Practices with Local Kids

2 min read| Published On: June 10th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

NBA Player Keon Ellis Returns to Leesburg High: Practices with Local Kids

2 min read| Published On: June 10th, 2024|

Keon Ellis, who turned into one of the NBA’s great success stories this past season, returned to Leesburg High School that he called home and won state championships with back in 2017 and 2018.

Ellis, who plays for the Sacramento Kings in California, returned to practice with local kids in the area. He gave advice and worked on techniques. For Ellis he was just giving back to the game he loves. There was certainly no better place to do that, than right back at home. Ellis gives hope to so many kids in the area that they can one day make it to the NBA or WNBA.

(Keon Ellis showed that hard work pays off. He came from Lake County and through his hard-work was able to grind his way to a starting spot on an NBA roster with the Sacramento Kings. Photo Credit – NBA.com)

Keon has had an incredible journey to get to where he is. Ellis won two FHSAA Class 6A titles with Leesburg and then played with Florida SouthWestern, a junior college program where he excelled. Eventually, Ellis earned a scholarship to the University of Alabama, where he would go on to have a terrific career in the SEC.

After going undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft, Ellis signed a two-way contract with the Sacramento Kings. He played in the NBA Summer League along with the Stockton Kings in the G League which is the NBA’s developmental league. Ellis impressed last off season and got the chance to move up to a full time NBA roster with Sacramento for the 2023/24 season.

(Young aspiring athletes joined Keon Ellis who’s wearing the white shirt standing in the back, in a shoot around session at Leesburg High School. This is the same gym Ellis and his teammates practiced, played and ultimately brought home two consecutive FHSAA Class 6A State Championships.)

Ellis played in 57 games for the Sacramento Kings and averaged 5.4 points per game. He started in 21 games and was a big part of the team’s success in the Play-In Tournament. Although the Kings ultimately fell to the New Orleans Pelicans in the second stage of the play-in tournament, it was a huge breakout season for Ellis.

“It was great seeing my brother Keon come back and practice with all the kids. His journey to the NBA is inspirational to these young kids and even to me to just keep working towards what I want in life,” says assistant coach D’mani Nettles, who actually played with Keon Ellis during the team’s state championship run in 2018.

Keon Ellis continues to inspire those who have followed his journey. It was great to see him back in Lake County giving back and showing young kids what is possible with hard work and determination. We can’t wait to see what the summer brings as we head into the 2024/25 season.

Photos – D’mani Nettles and NBA.com

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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