Elijah Johnson overlooked as Kansas’ best weapon

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It’s no secret that Anthony Davis and Deshaun Thomas have been killing it during the NCAA tournament. Thomas leads all players in scoring, while Davis the favorite to win MOP for the Final Four.

But they’re hardly the only ones.

This instructive post by Dan Hanner over at RealGM.com details the offensive ratings, percentage of minutes played and percentage of possessions used. Basically, who’s playing, who’s scoring well and who’s playing the largest roles.

For Kentucky, Darius Miller and Doron Lamb could stand to be more aggressive, while Jared Sullinger’s been more efficient for Kentucky while using more possessions. Louisville’s Russ Smith still isn’t scoring efficiently, but he’s somehow been better than he was during the regular season while using even more possessions. (Russ-diculous indeed.)

Then there’s Kansas guard Elijah Johnson, one of the few Jayhawks who’ve been able to score during their Final Four run. (Center Jeff Withey also deserves some kudes.)

Johnson’s boosted his scoring from 10 ppg to 13.5 ppg, his shooting percentage from 42.5 percent to 51 percent and is shooting 11 percentage points higher from beyond the arc. Considering he’s played more minutes than any other Jayhawk, he’s probably undervalued as a major factor for Saturday’s game.

“I’ve become much more mature,” he said. “I think I’ve understood how the college system works.  I understand how college basketball is supposed to be played. I think it shows in my game.”

The nice part for Kansas and coach Bill Self? He could be even better.

“I think Elijah is probably as talented or right up there as talented as any guard we’ve recruited here when you talk about explosiveness, touch, vision, being able to slide.  I mean, he has all the physical attributes, plus he’s got a great skill set,” Self said.

“He’s played great the last month for us, probably been as good a performer as we’ve had in the tournament. But, again, I think he’s still got another big step to take.”

That’s a promising sign considering Johnson will probably be the go-to guy for Kansas next season.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Kansas lands second commitment in the Class of 2018

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Kansas landed their second big man in the Class of 2018 on Sunday, as David McCormack, a top 50 prospect, announced that he will be a Jayhawk when he plays his college ball.

The 6-foot-10 center picked Kansas over Xavier, NC State, Oklahoma State and Duke.

A product of the famed Oak Hill Academy, McCormack averaged 15 points and 10 boards on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring. He joins fellow four-star big man Silvio de Sousa in the 2018 class for Bill Self, although the Jayhawks will get three players eligible after they sit out the 2017-18 season as transfers: Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who transferred in from Memphis, as well as Charlie Moore, a point guard from California.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.