LeRon Ellis, a 6-foot 10-inch senior center from Santa Ana Mater Dei High School, announced Monday that he will attend the University of Kentucky.
Ellis narrowed his choices to St. John's, Georgetown, Syracuse, USC and Kentucky before choosing the Wildcats. He made a recruiting trip to Lexington over the weekend and informed the Wildcat coaching staff of his decision Sunday night. The first day a prep player can sign a national letter of intent is Nov. 12.
"I'm a spur of the moment type of person, and I'm usually not wrong when I make a decision," Ellis said. "I knew it was Kentucky from the home visits, but then I thought I better go ahead and make the trips.
"Once I saw the school, I decided I didn't want to waste everybody's time and my own time. Kentucky was just the type of place I wanted to go to."
Ellis, 17, is the son of former Laker center LeRoy Ellis. He transferred to Mater Dei last season from Parkrose High in Portland, Ore., and averaged 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and shot 51% from the field.
He established himself as Southern California's best prep center in the Southern Section playoffs last March where he was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He is rated by most scouts as one of the top 20 players in the nation.
There was some speculation that Ellis would be joining his father at USC after Trojan Coach George Raveling added LeRoy Ellis to his staff as a part-time assistant in August. The younger Ellis said his father let him make his own decision.
"My father told me to go where you think is best," Ellis said. "He let me make up my own mind. He's not mad or anything. He knows what I'm going to do."