Demetric and Elijah:  Friendship and basketball

When Elijah Johnson talks about his best friend, he talks just like an older brother.  "First of all," states Johnson, "He was a baseball player.  And he was skinny, he was so skinny, that dude was so skinny.  When I moved to Vegas we ran into each other in the gym.  He was in the gym shooting the ball but he wasn't taking basketball serious."

It didn't take long for Elijah to influence his new neighbor, and soon to be best friend, Demetric Williams.

"When he started hangin' with me all I was was basketball," says Johnson.  The rest, was history.

Williams and Johnson helped lead Cheyenne High School to a state championship and in the process created opportunities for each other.  Johnson was being recruited nationally which turned eyes on Demetric.  When Wichita State and Kansas came calling for Williams and Johnson, it was too good to  be true.

You see, Elijah and Demetric, or Easy and Meechy as they know each other, go way back.  Johnson's face turned stone cold serious when I asked him how close he and Demetric are.  He stared at me and said, "That's basically my brother from another mother, that's how close we are."  He went on to explain, "My dad and his dad are best friends and he stay right down the street from me.  It's closer than just being from the same city and going to the same school, we actually are close close."

They're also both getting close to the end of their careers and for the second straight year both of them find their teams in the NCAA tournament.  They got there through support and understanding, with a few tears here and there.  When Elijah was struggling to hit from the field he got a phone call from Demetric, but Johnson says the focus wasn't on his issues in Lawrence.  "He (Demetric) was struggling, had some frustrations with an injury and he was wondering on what he should do.  He was scared of it, you know?  And I told him I've been there, done that and you can't be scared of it.  It's a situation and you have to deal with it."

It's that honesty that both guys need from each other because they're the only one the other trusts implicitly.  "Most people are sitting at home watching on their couch and working a 9-5," says Johnson.  "He's actually in the gym as many hours as me, getting yelled at by his coach just like I am, having to lift weights and just the same schedule.  So it's more easy to listen to him and for me to talk to him about things because I don't have to explain myself.  He pretty much understands."

Elijah's phone has been on airplane mode since he arrived in Kansas City on Wednesday at 4 pm.  He says he does it so that he doesn't get any phone calls or texts and he can completely eliminate distractions.  So when I told him this afternoon that Wichita State had won their first round game he was beaming from ear to ear.  "They beat Pitt like that?" exclaimed Elijah.  He didn't need to text Demetric or call him up, his face said everything.  Demetric's will say the same if Kansas beats Western Kentucky on Friday night.