Former South Dakota State guard Zeke Mayo commits to Kansas: How he fits with the Jayhawks

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Former South Dakota State guard Zeke Mayo has committed to Kansas, he announced on social media Tuesday. Mayo averaged 18.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 39.1 percent from 3-point range last season for the Jackrabbits.

He ranked No. 12 in The Athletic’s college basketball transfer portal rankings.

Kansas had quite a few issues this season, but none were more glaring than the fact that they didn’t have a backcourt bucket-getter. This was, quite literally, the worst offense in the Bill Self era, per KenPom, as the team finished 59th in the country in adjusted offensive rating.

For a school that has finished in the top-10 in adjusted offensive efficiency more often than it hasn’t in the last 17 years, that was a serious issue.

Neither Dajuan Harris nor Kevin McCullar had any pull-up gravity, and Elmarko Jackson wasn’t ready yet.

The good news for Jayhawks fans? That’s exactly what Mayo brings to the table. As one of the best pull-up shooters in college basketball, Mayo doesn’t fill just a positional need, he actually fills a significant skill-based need that will give Self a lot more margin for error in how he constructs the team’s offense next season.

If Hunter Dickinson returns, it’s easy to envision all sorts of fun dribble-hand-off actions with Mayo that are incredibly difficult for defenders to guard. Kansas has a few things left to fix from last season’s disappointment, but this is about as good a start as they could have hoped for.

Scouting report for Mayo

The Summit League Player of the Year is coming off a second consecutive monster season for South Dakota State. Mayo is a big-time scorer and orchestrated the show for a team that made the NCAA Tournament and won the Summit League this year.

Mayo is a real pull-up threat across the court. His 35-percent mark on 144 3-point attempts doesn’t seem wild, but he got there on insanely difficult attempts that, by and large, he had to create himself. Only 10 players in college basketball took more pull-up 3-point attempts per game than Mayo, and he finished eighth among the 25 highest-volume pull-up 3-point shooters in percentage.

Because he’s constantly probing and a threat to get his shot off from any spot, defenders have to stay attached to him, which makes him an effective driver. He was an awesome finisher in the Summit League, making 61.4 percent of his halfcourt shot attempts at the rim, and has a nice floater as well.

His middling results against top competition are worth noting. He made 5-of-13 shots for 11 points against Kansas State, had eight turnovers in a game against UCF and struggled in a game against Alabama as a sophomore. But he did play well in the team’s NCAA Tournament game against arguably the country’s best defense in Iowa State, going for 19 points on 11 shots.

Required reading

(Photo: Samantha Laurey / Argus Leader / USA Today)

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