LaPhonso Darnell Ellis (born May 5, 1970) is an American retired basketball player. He was selected by the National Basketball Association's Denver Nuggets as the fifth overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.
|Born||May 5, 1970|
East St. Louis, Illinois
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||240 lb (109 kg)|
|High school||Lincoln (East St. Louis, Illinois)|
|College||Notre Dame (1988–1992)|
|NBA draft||1992 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5th overall|
|Selected by the Denver Nuggets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||7,410 (11.9 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,032 (6.5 rpg)|
|Assists||981 (1.6 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
He was an outstanding high school basketball player at East St. Louis Lincoln High School, where he led the Tigers to two straight Illinois Class AA boys' championships in 1987 and 1988. In a heavily hyped-up matchup, Ellis outplayed Alonzo Mourning in a holiday tournament his senior year. Also in 1988, Ellis was named a Parade All-American and McDonald's High School All-American. In 2007, Ellis was voted one of the "100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament", recognizing his superior performance in his appearances in the tournament.
Ellis was one of four captains of the 1991–92 Notre Dame team. Throughout his career, he scored 1,505 career points, and averaged 15.5 points per game to earn school rankings of 12th and 22nd, respectively. He recorded 200 career blocks, a school record. He ranks third on the school's career rebounding list with 1,075, and eighth on the career rebounding average list, with 11.1 rpg. He led the '91-92 team in scoring (17.7 ppg), rebounding (11.7 rpg), field goal percentage (.631) and blocked shots (2.6 bpg). He led Notre Dame in blocked shots in each of his four seasons, the only player in school history to do so. Ellis graduated from Notre Dame on time with a degree in accounting from the undergraduate college of business.
Ellis was the fifth overall selection in the 1992 NBA draft, picked by the Denver Nuggets, In his rookie season, he averaged 14.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. He was also named to the 1992–93 All-Rookie first team. Ellis later on struggled with injuries, only playing six games in the 1994–95 season. Ellis had his best season in 1996–97, leading the Nuggets in scoring with 21.9 points per game.
After playing six years in Denver, Ellis signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks. He spent two years with the Hawks before going to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 2001, Ellis signed with the Miami Heat, where he retired after the 2003 season. He played professionally in the NBA from 1992 until 2003.