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LaPhonso Ellis Jr. returns to Denver with NBA hopes

After playing overseas, Ellis Jr. is back in the Mile High City training to play professional basketball.

DENVER — Remember 'The Fonz'?

LaPhonso Ellis’ career began with the Denver Nuggets. He spent six seasons in the Mile High City.

Now, his son -- LaPhonso Ellis Jr. -- is back in father’s old stomping grounds.

"It’s the perfect place for me to come train right now. I really wanted to tap in and really be in Denver.  Because I’m looking to get into the NBA myself," Ellis Jr. said after working out.

'Zo' spent the last 10 years playing professionally overseas. Shanghai was his most recent stop. He left just before the coronavirus exploded.

"I was already OK to leave. We weren’t supposed to start back up playing until after Chinese New Year," Ellis Jr. said.

Ellis Jr. is hoping to make the roster for a G-League team, but staying in basketball shape has been a challenge.

"You can train all you want, but you need to actually play basketball to be in great shape," Ellis Jr. said in frustration.

Zo’s last organized basketball game was in November 2019. After Governor Jared Polis issued a mandatory stay-at-home order for all residents of Colorado, Ellis Jr. is not allowed to practice on outdoor basketball courts.

RELATED: Mayor Hancock: 'Plan on' Denver's stay-at-home order going through April 30

"Its weird not even being able to go to a park to get some shots up. Even out here as you see, its taped up. It’s a weird thing, and a weird time right now," he said.

Ellis Jr. dreams of playing big time basketball. He says he will be ready when the call the comes.

"For me its all about staying ready. Whether that being ready in one month (or being ready) in five, six or eight months. I’ve just gotta stay ready and keep my mind focused on the goal."

RELATED: LaPhonso Ellis: Flattered Nuggets will honor '94 team

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