D’Angelo Russell wasn’t the only freshman to step forward for Ohio State Thursday night

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Thursday’s matchup between No. 16 Maryland and Ohio State was billed by many as a showdown between freshman guards Melo Trimble and D’Angelo Russell and rightfully so, as both have been stars for their respective teams this season. The play of those two had a major impact on the game, with Trimble struggling mightily (as did his teammates) and Russell countering with 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.

The Buckeyes won 80-56, with Maryland shooting just 30.5% from the field and Trimble accounting for just three points (0-for-8 FG) and one assist. Marc Loving (19 points, 5-for-5 3PT) led Ohio State in scoring, and another freshman stepped forward to give the Buckeyes the effort (and toughness) they’ve lacked in the paint at times this season.

Jae’Sean Tate, a 6-foot-4 freshman forward making his third consecutive start, accounted for 16 points and eight rebounds with five of the caroms being of the offensive variety. As a team Ohio State rebounded just over 42 percent of its misses against Maryland, converting those extra opportunities into 18 second-chance points.

“I thought we played tougher, we were quick to the ball, we got a little careless there in transition in the second half, but for the most part, I thought guys did what they were supposed to do,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said after the game. “I think we rebounded the ball well, we rebounded out of our area. I thought we did a good job of the rotations defensively and walled guys up.”

Finding consistent play in the front court has been something that Ohio State has worked to do all season long. Graduate transfer Anthony Lee, who averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game at Temple last season, hasn’t been as productive for the Buckeyes and senior Amir Williams (6.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg) was recently removed from the starting lineup.

Someone had to step forward, and despite being undersized from a height standpoint Tate (who leads the team in offensive rebounds per game at 1.9) has been that man in each of the last two games.

Tate’s performance against Maryland comes on the heels of his 20-point, six-rebound effort in Ohio State’s win over Indiana on Sunday. Whether or not Tate continues to score at this clip remains to be seen, but at the very least the Buckeyes need him to bring the energy that he’s supplied in each of their last two games. If Tate can continue to provide that spark, Ohio State will have a better chance of accounting for their lack of consistent production in the post.

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.