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No. 7 Jayhawks cruise past Emporia State, 88-54

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No. 7 Jayhawks cruise past Emporia State, 88-54

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Perry Ellis led No. 7 Kansas in scoring Tuesday night. He was second on the team in rebounding, pitched in a couple of assists and didn't commit a turnover in his college debut.

Just think: Jayhawks coach Bill Self believes the freshman will only get better.

Ellis finished with 15 points and seven boards in the 88-54 exhibition victory over Emporia State, and helped to drive a big first-half run that put the game away early.

``He scores the ball easy,'' Self said. ``He's got such a nice touch with the ball. I thought he played well, but I still think he can be a lot more aggressive.''

Yes, Self is always going to find a fault.

``But he could be a really good player early in his career,'' he conceded. ``He did good.''

So did the rest of the Jayhawks' newcomers, who will be counted on to fill the shoes left by All-America Thomas Robinson, a first-round NBA draft pick, and Tyshawn Taylor, the senior guard who helped lead Kansas to the brink of a national championship last season.

The Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the title game in New Orleans.

Elijah Johnson had 12 points against the Hornets, a Division II school from southeastern Kansas. The senior came off the bench because he was ``substantially late'' for a class, Self said.

Johnson is one of three returning starters and the top returning scorer. Seven-footer Jeff Withey, the Big 12's defensive player of the year, added seven points and six rebounds, and Travis Releford added seven points and three assists.

This one was all about the freshmen, though.

Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor both made statements in their first taste of playing in Allen Fieldhouse. The duo was part of last year's freshman class, but was forced to redshirt after they were deemed by the NCAA to be partial qualifiers. They practiced with the team the second semester but were not allowed to suit up until this season.

McLemore took a backdoor feed on the game's opening possession for an easy dunk. The 6-5 guard then brought a capacity crowd to its feet when he elevated midway through the second half to follow a 3-point miss by Johnson with another rim-rattling jam.

``Coach was telling me I need to crash the boards more often and stuff like that,'' McLemore said. ``When I had the chance to crash the boards, it came off perfect timing.''

Traylor got off to a slow start and was substituted for by Ellis in the opening minutes. But the T-Rob look-a-like got into the flow later in the half, and his basket off a feed from Releford with 6:11 remaining capped a 22-1 run that gave the Jayhawks a 34-15 lead.

Traylor then showcased his staggering athleticism in the second half when he picked the pocket of Emporia State's Kaleb Wright and went the other way for a layup and a 51-27 lead.

McLemore finished with 11 points and Traylor had six points, while fellow freshman Andrew White III pitched in 10. Ellis was 5 for 5 from the field.

``They looked like freshmen that could run and jump,'' Self said. ``They don't know what they're doing but they try real hard.''

Indeed, there were certainly plenty of teachable moments for the Jayhawks, the unanimous pick by the Big 12's coaches to win their ninth consecutive league title.

They committed a rash of turnovers against the undersized Hornets, along with getting beat to several loose balls. Withey never established himself inside despite a massive size advantage, and the Jayhawks struggled when they were forced to run half-court sets.

When they got into the open court, well, they looked just as dominant as usual.

``They're just so unselfish with the ball,'' Emporia State coach Shaun Vandiver said. ``It's not about the me, it's about the we, and they're very dangerous and very deserving of their ranking.''

Gavin Brown had 14 points to lead the Hornets, who lost 60-49 to Tulsa in their exhibition opener Tuesday night. Wright had five points on 2-of-13 shooting.

The Jayhawks play their final exhibition game Monday night against Washburn. The Hornets wrap up their exhibition schedule Sunday at Kansas State.

``I thought we played about like I thought we'd play,'' Self said. ``We did a few good things.''

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller analyze the Wizards' two picks the night of the draft.

They went in-depth on first round pick Troy Brown, Jr. and why the Wizards took him when some big names were still on the board. They also broke down why the Wizards chose to pick a draft-and-stash guy in the second round.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

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USA Today Sports

Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

The Washington Wizards selected international prospect Issuf Sanon with the 44th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Like Wizards first round pick Troy Brown, Sanon is just 18 years old and does not turn 19 until Oct. 30. President of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said that Sanon is a draft-and-stash prospect and will play at least the following year for Olimpija, a professional team in Slovenia.

Here’s what you need to know about Sanon:

Height: 6-4

Weight: 172

2017-18 stats: 20.5 mpg, 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 42.9 FG%, 28.3 3PT%, 50 FT%

*Sanon is a defensive-minded combo guard that is not expected to be ready for the next few years. However, he thrived defensively, allowing just 0.471 points per isolation possession, according to the NBA. That ranks in the 92nd percentile. In the past two seasons in Ukraine’s second division, Sanon averaged 4.6 steals per game.

*While playing in the 2017 U-18 Euros for the Ukrainian National team last summer, Sanon broke out, averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game. 

*During the middle of the 2017-18 season, Sanon changed teams. He moved from Ukraine’s Dnipro to the more competitive Olimpija in Slovenia.

*The biggest area of improvement for Sanon is developing his offensive game further. While he is just 18 and very raw, Sanon’s numbers have dipped since his move to Olimpija, especially shooting wise. Sanon’s strength comes in transition and his 6-4 frame helps him when slashing to the rim.

*Though he will not play for the Wizards anytime soon, he will come to the United States and play on the Wizards’ Summer League team.