NCAAB: McLemore Makes Kansas Legitimate Title Threat
College basketball has become the minor league affiliate of the NBA. Players stop by the NCAA for a year, sometimes two, before heading on to the Big Show.
One player, who will certainly head to the NBA before his four-year college career is over, is Ben McLemore. The budding star from Kansas is making the Jayhawks a legitimate title threat.
His coach, Bill Self, says that McLemore plays effortlessly and is not even sure what he is doing yet. Self says that McLemore is trying to figure out the time that is best to drive the lane, when to shoot and when to dish off.
Some basketball analysts said if McLemore can figure it all out before the season ends, then he is the one player who could determine who wins the National Championship in NCAA Men’s Basketball in April.
McLemore is a 6’5” freshman who was redshirted last season. He was not eligible as a true freshman last season when the Jayhawks fought and lost the national championship against Kentucky. However, he said that experience has helped him to thrive academically at school and on the court to work on improving his individual game while he was waiting to join the team.
This season there are great players that surround McLemore at Kansas, including three excellent seniors. Even without McLemore, the three seniors would most likely win the Big 12 championship. However, giving him the opportunity to become the team’s focal point on offense will give Kansas the change to compete and maybe even win their fourth national title.
Self says McLemore makes plays that cannot be coached. He makes an average offense great through his talent and he can make the plays when the team needs it most, in crunch time.
Kansas has only lost once this season – to the Michigan State Spartans back on November 13 – and McLemore only scored 14 points in that game on just seven shots. His coach said he was too inactive in that game. Self says McLemore needs to drive more, shot more as he is the only player on KU who can shred even the best of defenses from the outside.
Kansas is now ranked no. 6 in the country at 10-1 after their 74-66 win over the then no. 7 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. They are strong on both ends of the court and as McLemore grows as a player, they will get even stronger. McLemore is averaging 16.5 points per game and shooting 40% from three-point territory.
Self has had great players come and go since he started coaching including Brandon Rush who now plays for Golden State in the NBA, but he said he has never had a player like McLemore.
He said McLemore can impact games due to his scoring ability and he is the type of player who is fun to coach because you can draw up plays for him that no one else would be able to run.
The Jayhawks will start their tough Big 12 conference schedule in early January. If McLemore continues on the pace he is now, he just might give the Jayhawks the extra factor they need to get back to the NCAA final and win it.