In Tuesday night's 88-54 Kansas victory over Emporia State, the youth of this Jayhawks team was on full display. Four players scored in double figures and of those, three were either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen.
The game, though very early in the season, provided a glimpse of what we could see this year. Simply put, a lot of good and excitement with a few scratch your head moments sprinkled in.
Midway through the second half, McLemore was at it again, when he jumped straight up to follow a missed three by Elijah Johnson with a dunk with raw athletic ability that shocked the sold out crowd of 16,300 and brought about the loudest cheers of the night. He'd finished 11 points and six rebounds, on four of seven shooting from the field and a three pointer.
Though, McLemore stood out, the leader of the young pack Tuesday night was true freshman Perry Ellis. Against the Hornets, it seemed as if Ellis was simply just living out the script. The former Wichita Heights standout had been no stranger to Allen Fieldhouse, as a kid and then as a recruit. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Ellis would one day don a Jayhawk jersey. Tuesday night, it was finally a reality and he didn't disappoint, leading the team in scoring with 15 points and adding seven rebounds. Ellis showed some of what made him such a coveted recruit, showcasing fundamentals often not shown at his age.
"Perry did really well," coach Bill Self said. "He just naturally gets the ball in the basket."
Freshman Andrew White III knocked down a pair of triples in scoring 10 points and bringing down five boards.
Freshman Landen Lucas notched nine rebounds in just 12 minutes if play.
Redshirt freshman Jamari Traylor started alongside McLemore and showed some flashes that showed fans that he went up against Thomas Robinson a year ago, scoring six points grabbing four rebounds and notching four steals.
KU also turned the ball over 15 times, but you have to expect that in an early season game with many young players.
Still, given time to continue working, this Kansas team could be every bit as likable as the one that ran out of time against Kentucky in the National Championship game. The main difference is that this edition of the Jayhawks now add raw athleticism and talent to match the swagger of last year's team and much to the dismay of their rivals, look poised to stay atop their perch for as long as they want.