MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies held their first pre-draft workout on Thursday, and among the six players taking part was a local who hopes to turn tragedy into triumph.
Truth be told, Memphian Octavious Ellis might not even get drafted, but the fact he’s at the Grindhouse working out for his hometown team is amazing, especially when you consider what he’s overcome.
“I could have stopped a long time ago with all the issues that happened in my life. I could have stopped a long time ago but I kept pushing. I’m blessed to be in the position that I’m in because, coming from where I come from, Whitehaven, not that many guys make it out of that part of town,” said Ellis.
In 2003, Ellis was home with his two sisters when his mom was shot and killed by his stepfather.
Ellis was only 10-years-old.
That tragedy took a toll.
As his basketball skills increased, so did his temper.
Back in 2011, Ellis was involved in the infamous brawl between Cincinnati and Xavier.
Six months later, the Cincinnati standout was kicked off the team for his role in an altercation at a local nightclub.
While Ellis did work his way back to the Bearcats, he’s still trying to shake the label of being a dirty player.
“That I’m a changed player, that I’m not such a thug on the court like how people say I am,” said Ellis. “I’m just a regular basketball player that plays with a lot of energy and emotion. It’s been hard because, whatever little things I do, they will always bring up my past so I try to stay clean head on the court.”
“It’s always hard. You’re trying to project what 20-year-old kids are going to be like when they are 25 and 30 and what not. I think back to what I was like when I was 20, I wouldn’t want making calls about me. It’s interesting when you try to project ahead as guys mature,” John Hollinger said.
Now, Ellis is working hard.
He’s scheduling more workouts ahead of the June 23rd NBA Draft.
At the end of the day, he’s hoping to find just one NBA team willing to give him a shot, knowing he’s doing this for more than just himself.
“All of this is for her. She played basketball and I’m just basically living out her dreams.”
Hopefully, that will end with Ellis listed on an NBA roster.