Orange County Player of the Week : Ellis Collecting Memories With All the Honors

LeRon Ellis of Mater Dei High School has all it takes to deepen the green eyes of the envious.

He is considered by many to be the top high school basketball player in the county--if not the state. He has led the Monarchs to a 30-1 record this season, averaging 22.5 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Ellis, The Times' Player of the Week, had 22 points and 16 rebounds in Mater Dei's 46-42 victory over Fairfax for the Southern California Division I boys' championship Saturday.

On Thursday, the 6-foot 11-inch Ellis made a free throw with five seconds remaining to give the Monarchs a 63-62 victory over Edison of Fresno in the Southern California semifinals. He scored a team-high 22 points and added 15 rebounds.

Even without his on-court exploits, Ellis is a Big Man on Campus. He leads the volleyball and water polo teams, performs in drama productions and drives an expensive import that his parents bought for him.

Ellis will be driving to class next fall--at the University of Kentucky, where he has accepted a scholarship.

Does any of this go to his head? Apparently not.

"I think I'm kind of normal," Ellis said.

Is anything missing from his life?

"Well, people (at Mater Dei) talk about their memories a lot," said Ellis, who transferred from Parkrose High School of Oregon two years ago. "I have lots of friends, but it's just that feeling that you're still not part of the group.

"People say, 'Oh, remember when we did this,' or 'Wasn't that great about that?' Then they remember I wasn't here then. It takes so long to get those memories. I've missed out a little that way."

But doesn't Ellis know that soon he'll be a major fixture in Monarch memories and memorabilia?

"Yeah, but all those awards and trophies and stuff are kind of minor," he said. "It's more important to me to have good friends."

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