Ventura College alumnus James Ennis '11 has signed a contract with the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association. Ennis, who led the Pirates to the Western State Conference's best record in his sophomore season at VC, becomes the third former Pirate to reach the ultimate level of professional basketball competition, joining VC Hall of Famers Cedric Ceballos '88 and Rafer Alston '95.
"I want to thank the @miamiheat for believing in me and giving me this great opportunity," Ennis wrote on his Instagram page Tuesday. "It is a blessing to be where I am and to all my friends, family and supporters who have been by my side along this journey you don't go unnoticed, I appreciate all the love that keeps me going."
Ennis, a 2008 graduate of Ventura High School, transferred to Ventura College in the spring of 2010. He played his sophomore season for the Pirates in 2010-11 under then-head coach and current Athletic Director Will Cowen, and then assistant and current head coach Joey Ramirez. He transferred to Long Beach State from VC, and was selected in the 2013 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round, the 50th overall pick. The Hawks subsequently traded Ennis' rights to the Heat. He spent the 2013-14 season playing for the Perth Wildcats in the Australian Basketball League, leading the team to the ABL championship.
"I'm glad I went to Ventura College," said Ennis. "Being around good people like Coach Ramirez and Coach Cowen really helped me realize that school is very important and would take me to the next level.
"Never give up on your dreams," he continued. "Anything is possible if you stay focused and work hard."
"The official addition of James Ennis to the Miami Heat roster will long be remembered as one of the great examples student success in the history of organized basketball in Ventura County," said Cowen. "James' determination and reliability in the classroom and with his teammates afforded him the opportunity to continue his career on the Division I stage, internationally and now in the NBA. On behalf of the department of intercollegiate athletics at Ventura College we wish to congratulate the entire Ennis family and wish James a long, healthy and prosperous career in the NBA."
Miami Heat Press Release: http://www.nba.com/heat/news/heat-signs-james-ennis