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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gary Bedore’s notebook: Basketball recruit Ben McLemore says he will choose either Kansas or Missouri Saturday

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor defends against a pass from Valparaiso guard Erik Buggs during the first half, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor defends against a pass from Valparaiso guard Erik Buggs during the first half, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 79-44 victory over Valparaiso on Nov. 15, 2010.

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McLemore won’t sign, but …

Prize basketball recruit Ben McLemore, a 6-foot-5 senior guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., said Monday night he will not sign a letter-of-intent during the early signing period.

However, McLemore, who is Rivals.com’s No. 17-rated player, told the Journal-World in a phone interview he will orally commit to either Kansas University or Missouri on Saturday.

At the urging of his mother, he will return to his hometown of St. Louis on Friday to discuss his college options. It’s also Thanksgiving break for Oak Hill.

“KU is still the favorite,” McLemore said from his dorm room Monday night. “I’ll go home Friday and commit to a school Saturday. It’s why I’m going home, to talk to my mom and hopefully make a decision.”

McLemore had a two-hour phone conversation with his mother Sunday night.

“It’s not that reason,” McLemore said, asked to comment on rumors his mom won’t let him choose the Jayhawks over the Tigers. “We had a good conversation yesterday. She wants me to come home and talk face-to-face with the family (including his uncle).”

Asked if he wanted to attend KU, he said: “It’s still up in the air.”

McLemore, who had planned to concentrate solely on academics and basketball second semester, was asked if it was difficult not to sign in the early period, which concludes Wednesday.

“A little bit,” he said. “I’ll be OK. All the seniors who have signed, I’ll congratulate them. I will not be mad. I would like to sign, but I’ll be able to handle doing it this way.”

Tharpe official

KU on Monday announced the signing of Naadir Tharpe, a 6-foot senior point guard from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.

Tharpe, who is Rivals.com’s No. 91-rated player, had signed his letter-of-intent Wednesday, the first day of the weeklong signing period. He chose KU over Oklahoma, Minnesota, St. John’s, UCLA, North Carolina State and others.

“We are all very excited about Naadir. We feel so fortunate that we were able to sign him,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Even though we got involved recruiting him late, we saw him play a ton over the last couple of summers. He reminds me so much of Aaron Miles. He’s a good, solid point guard, quick, athletic and has become a very good shooter. I really believe he will be a great addition to our program.”

Tharpe averaged 13 points and six assists a game last season for 35-5 national prep champion Brewster, then had a big spring and summer competing for the New England Playaz AAU team.

Originally from Worcester, Mass., Tharpe was a standout at St. Peter-Marian High before heading to Brewster two years ago.

“He comes out of a program at Brewster, much like we got with Tyshawn Taylor, in that Brewster won the national championship last year like Tyshawn’s team did his senior year at Saint Anthony’s,” Self said. “To have two players in our program that have won national championships will be great for us.

“(Brewster coach) Jason Smith is one of the best coaches out there and to have another young man out of his program is great for us as Thomas Robinson was Naadir’s teammate during Naadir’s sophomore season,” Self noted. “Naadir is a true point guard, and the better players you have around him, the better he will play.”

On the bench

Sophomore Elijah Johnson did not play Monday. He has been held out of the first two games for disciplinary reasons. Self said he believed Johnson would play in Friday’s game against North Texas. … Self said there was no update on Josh Selby’s eligibility case, only indicating he felt the NCAA would be deciding upon the matter “soon.”

Stats, facts

Tyrel Reed’s three threes moved him ahead of Paul Pierce on KU’s all-time three-point list. Reed is 16th in school history with 109. … Valpo’s 17 second-half points were fewest by a foe since Alcorn State scored 12 in the first half on Dec. 2, 2009.

Comments

rockchalkchampionship 9 years, 11 months ago

McLemore, please don't let me down. I hope he makes his decision this weekend and sticks to it. Of course, seeing him in Crimson and Blue next year would be special. Rock Chalk!

Steve Gantz 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm sure he'll consider your feelings before making his decision :)

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 11 months ago

If "KU is still the favorite," then how can it still be "up in the air"??? Makes absolutely no sense!!!

David Leathers 9 years, 11 months ago

Why doesn't it? KU was the favorite last night against Valpo, but everybody knew the outcome with still "up in the air". I mean sheesh look at Keegs, picking us to lose by one.

Craig Lang 9 years, 11 months ago

In my experience, when a recruit says one school is his favorite, he almost always picks the other school. Then he'll say on the day of his announcement, "I had planned on picking (School A, the one that was his "favorite") but last night I had a dream that I was playing for (School B)!" Either that or he will say he saw someone wearing a School B jersey and he saw that as a sign that he should go to that school.

I just hope I'm wrong in this case, and McLemore will say something mature like "I was always leaning towards KU, and the more I looked into it, the more sure I was that I was making the right decision."

Michael Pannacciulli 9 years, 11 months ago

He's not going to commit to the Journal World...they are pressing the kid for answers he's not ready to give. Let's have a little faith, and let it play out with Ben.

Brianna Zaleski 9 years, 11 months ago

No kidding. And now the uncle is involved? Sounds like a full court press by the family to get him to Mizzou. Something stinks...

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 11 months ago

Maybe they all just want to look him in the eye to make sure he has made a solid decision and not one he will regret later.

jhox 9 years, 11 months ago

If he chooses to go play in front of 5,000 fans a game in MU arena, instead of 16,000 in Allen, then you can bet something crooked is going down there. I sure hope that's not the case, but when you hear of things like Uncles getting involved, it makes one very suspicious.

f8 9 years, 11 months ago

If Ben's mom is a single mother then the support of extended family is important. This is an important decision. I am sure his family just wants what is best for him. The possibility of an NBA lockout looming is not a non-factor. I really, really, really want Ben to choose KU. In the end, even if highly touted recruits choose not to come to KU---KU always dominates the conference and the media attention and MU is always obsolete.

JayhawkBigXII 9 years, 11 months ago

It's the same in football. Misery could be #3 in the AP, but they never command the media attention. Serves 'em right...them dirty-cats.

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 11 months ago

The kid needs to let his family know that "it is his decision, and his decision alone---period!" If mama wants Missouri, not much to do about that. Hopefully, he'll make the right decision----humm, playing in front of 5,000 fans or playing in front of 16,000 fans? Not much choice there---Rock Chalk!

Steve Gantz 9 years, 11 months ago

You're saying he would be wrong to pick Missouri? Why? You can't let a kid make a decision without judging him for making a "wrong" decision?

JayhawkBigXII 9 years, 11 months ago

Bill Self. End of discussion.
And Misery must die.

didjabuti 9 years, 11 months ago

It's funny that when Moms like KU you never hear this complaint. Most kids talk to their families when deciding on a college. She is definitely more part of the decision than you or me.

JacquesMerde 9 years, 11 months ago

It's not the number of fans that ought to cause him to choose KU, it's the tradition. What has M.U. won in basketball except a couple of conference championships. Where are their national championship banners? K.U. has owned the Big 12 in basketball. I would certainly rather play for K.U. considering the prestige its name has in basketball circles. You have to wonder what other coaches and supporters promise in places like Missouri, Waco, and Austin? Check their rankings of recruiting on web sites that carry such things this year Way out of proportion to their achievements.

slowplay 9 years, 11 months ago

It's not the number fans, it's not the tradition, it's always about PT and exposure. Denmon should be gone next year and McLemore would start at the PG or SG for MU. That's not a given (starting) at KU. In fact, red-shirting is more probable.

kcgregory 9 years, 11 months ago

That's a ridiculous assertion. I'll grant he may see PT at Mizzou as attractive, but when we lose Brady, Tyrel, Selby, and possibly Tyshawn why would a RS even be considered? He would redshirt so that Elijah, Royce, and ........Teahan could play? He'll play plenty from day 1 at KU and he knows it.

slowplay 9 years, 11 months ago

WTF. All I said is that RS is more probable than STARTING. You forgot to mention Tharp (a true PT), Taylor leaving is not a given, and Woolridge as well as Releford seeing more PT at SG. As opposed to an immediate start at PG/SG for MU. It's more ridiculus to say he will play plenty at KU. Talylor, Johnson, Woolridge, Tharp, Releford, Teahan (who knows) and McLemore. Right now he's fifth or 6th in the possible guard rotation. In any event it's all speculation.

kcgregory 9 years, 11 months ago

It is speculation, but he's I'd say he's more like 2-4 in the rotation. IF Taylor stays he's obviously in there. Mclemore would have just as good chance as any of the others to take the other spot (and better than Teahan, Royce IMO). Releford will not play 2 and neither will Tharp. It would likely be down to him and Johnson and given Elijah's issues... I think Taylor and McLemore is feasible. There is no way he red-shirts, that's really what I'm getting at. No way.

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 11 months ago

Jacques---good point! My comment, although, I did not explain myself very well, was in reference to tradition. But you are right on! Rock Chalk!

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 9 years, 11 months ago

It has been a very difficult year for us in recruiting for sure. A commitment from Mr. McLemore would make it tolerable (and I have faith he will be a Jayhawk).

We definitely need to step up the recruiting for next year though and sign two or three studs!

Ken Sedgwick 9 years, 11 months ago

Hey mom, ever seen a national championship ring?

FreddyinLA 9 years, 11 months ago

Rings don't buy groceries, but a nice job in Lawrence would.

ccarp 9 years, 11 months ago

Jayhawk nation, chill out, it will all be fine.

JayhawkBigXII 9 years, 11 months ago

Hey, what if I dont want to chill out? I'm not going to chill out just because you tell me to! But I'll chill out alright! When I am good and damn ready too!

Ok. Now I'm good.

inkcube 9 years, 11 months ago

Things like this smell fishy to me, wonder who at MU is influencing her and how?

Clydecito 9 years, 11 months ago

Mom's missing her boy, since he is away at Brewster and she knows they would be closer with him playing in Columbia. More notoriety for her, for her son (big fish in Moo's little pond), and for the moo family connections (including 'uncles'). I don't sense malice from slavers, they want him as bad as we do too. He will make the right decision for himself, hopefully, and see that the path to the league is more likely through Lawrence then stumblia.

kugrad93 9 years, 11 months ago

Clyde beat me to what I was going to say. St. Louis to Columbia = 126 miles St. Louis to Lawrence = 289 miles

gchawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Ben, forget the "Big fish in a little pond" aspect of Missouri, you have the distinct opportunity of being a "Big fish in a Big pond" at KU. Very few have the privilege of playing for the Crimson and Blue, make the most of it, you'll never regret it.

Tallhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Kansas would be the obvious decision for all Kansas fans, however Ben is being told that if he attends MU he will be the "Star" get all the playing minutes he wants and be the go to guy. Hopefully we land Ben, we really need to get at least one 5 star in my opinion. Kansas Jayhawks will move forward as always if he decides to pass on Kansas, and look at the bright side, we would still see Ben twice a year as we pound MU like always.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 11 months ago

Well darn.....I think we just dropped to underdog. Let me tell you why:

1] His Mom is more comfortable with Coach Anderson for obvious reasons. Absolutely justifiable but it goes beyond the basketball court. 2] They will try to convince him that he will be considered a "traitor" for going to Kansas.....any other school would be tolerable...except Kansas. 3] Playing time will be very important. The perception of which 2011-2012 roster gives the greatest "PT" potential will be paramount. KU is always loaded...MU is not. 4] It appears he is alone in wanting to go to Kansas while the rest of his family and friends are MU backers. 5] Think about, everyone...if his family was behind him, they would have encouraged him to follow his heart a long time ago. This trip back to St.Louis will be an all-out attempt to change his mind.

Ben could still prevail, convince everyone that Kansas is his final decision and declare it so. However, by not signing a Letter of Intent, I am afraid which either way he declares, this drama has a five month run!!

If he declares for Missouri, will he follow his heart and switch? If he declares for Kansas, will he be able to fend off all the pressure to switch?

I'm getting too old for this!!!!!

Sam Constance 9 years, 11 months ago

4] It appears he is alone in wanting to go to Kansas while the rest of his family and friends are MU backers.


If you are correct--and it's anyone's guess as to whether or not you are--that's an incredibly sad state of affairs. Nothing quite like railroading your kid into going to the school YOU want him to go to, rather than letting him make the decision for himself. Pathetic.

And I have to say, I get the same sense as you, Oakville. Yesterday there was an article on here saying that McLemore was getting pressure from his mom to wait until April to make his decision so he could think it over some more. At the time, I thought is sounded like a Missouri native hearing her son leaning towards Kansas, and begging him to wait in the hopes that she and the family could convince him otherwise.

Now, a day later we have this article saying that his decision is just around the corner, and that he will meet with his family--including some uncle--before giving the final word. Sounds to me like the kid balked at waiting almost 6 months, and that a final, full-family sit-down was the best his mom could get out of him.

On the negative side of things, that pretty much means this kid is getting the all-out blitz package from his family to stay in Basketball Purgatory. Those kind of odds are daunting, to say the least--an 18-yr old kid against heavy pressure from the people who are presumably closest to him.

On the plus side, he wasn't cool with waiting until April, so he seems to have some resolve to stay with what appears to be his personal first choice. Maybe he's one of those special kids who knows what he wants and won't let anyone stand in his way.

The things that drive a kid to be a self-sufficient individual that makes his own choices are often the same kinds of things that make for a leader on the basketball court.

gchawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Oakville, probably an ignorant question, but what is/are the reasons for Ben's mom being more comfortable with Coach Anderson over Coach Self?

gchawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Other than the proximity logistics, I don't know of any other reasons for her being more comfortable with Anderson over Coach Self.

didjabuti 9 years, 11 months ago

I was thinking the same thing what possible reason would.......wait, is this a race thing?

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

"Tuesday's with Naadiir"

~Now Naadiir can shoot, too?! If he plays the point as well as Aaron; this makes him better than Aaron. And Hudy can put a few pounds on him.

~Ben is getting pressure from Mom? Sometimes it works for KU, sometimes against KU; that is as it should be.

~Ben, listen to your mother, unless she's a bad one.

~I believe Self knew exactly what he was getting into with Selby. Selby was going to UTenn and Pearl, before he shifted gears and came to KU. He couldn't possibly have been completely above suspicion and investigation with the UTenn connection alone. No one that knows much about hoops was oblivious to UTenn's rep for rule manipulation. I believe Self wanted Selby enough to pay this price--delay and uncertainty about Selby ever getting cleared. Self bent over to get X, too, a couple of times. He doesn't break the rules. He bends over and takes the uncertainty, after others have broken the rules. He can't win .82, if he can't get some of the good ones in here and it is clearly increasingly tough to get the very top ones in here on the first bounce. There's apparently just too much corruption out there swaying players' decisions. What I like about Self is that he is apparently not committing the violations. He is instead willing to wade in to the muck and pick up what the others befoul, and what the NCAA enables afterwards. It is like taking an option on Selby. He may never play, but it is a rather small and honest investment in a young man, a kid that could be turned the right direction at KU. Bully for Self for trying, whether Selby winds up being cleared, or not. This is playing take what they give us in recruiting. If we can't land the top guys, because everyone else is breaking all the rules to get them, then we can at least pick up those players that the system catches in the net when trolling for the outlaw coaches, only to find in favor of the player subsequently.

Rock Chalk!

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Bottom line we are agree here. But the way I would put it is slightly different. Among all the good parents:

a) there just are some parents lacking character that are willing to sell away their kid's abilities and futures in sports for quick money; and

b) there just are some decent parents hurting so badly that cashing in quick means the difference between hunger and danger and full bellies and safety for their families.

So: under these conditions, while it is probable that most parents are looking out for their children's best interests, there just are some cases where they are not.

I actually think many are misreading Mother McClemore in this circumstance.

When I try to put myself in the shoes of Mother McClemore, I, too, would darned well insist on my son and I getting together before any decision was made. Good lord, one of her babies has gone to the East Coast, while still in high school, for a year. She probably hasn't seen him for several months for the first time in both their lives. And after this period apart, her son, who has always wanted to go to KU and play for Self, suddenly says he's looking at MU and leaves the implication that he's starting to consider other programs too (as of a week or so ago). Many leaped to the conclusion that it was Mother McClemore that insisted her son consider MU. But maybe that is not the case at all.

Maybe Ben got his head turned by people back East, or maybe by an MU recruiter. Maybe Mother McClemore has no real idea what has caused her baby's change of heart.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Or maybe Mother McClemore got to thinking that if KU has no AD, and the AD they had was forced out for ethics questions, and a lot of folks in KUAD were breaking the law scalping tickets, well, then, maybe as a good mother, she ought to talk to that nice Mr. Anderson down at Columbia one more time. Maybe Anderson, or Self, or both of them told mother McClemore, heck, yes, you ought to get your son home ASAP and talk it over to make sure no one unseemly is influencing him.

Or maybe Mother McClemore has just realized she is missing her son back East waaaaaaay more than she thought she would and wants him back close enough to home that she can get in the car and go see him any time she chooses, and MU is closer than KU.

Frankly, I can see a lot of positive drivers that could be propelling all this. I could see a greater probablility of positive drivers spinning it than negative ones.

But...

It is just a fact that there is a whole lot of investigating going on in college basketball these days, and they are not investigating persons with positive drivers. They are investigating a lot of corrupt behavior.

When a kid who has said he wanted to go to KU forever suddenly gets a change of heart and dumps KU for Baja KU, or Duke, well, I think its foolish, but I can understand it. The grass can seem greener at one Maybach school than another in any given year.

But when a player who has wanted to go to KU forever suddenly decides MU is the place to be, well, one of my eye brows just does raise.

I do think orals in fall and writtens in spring make the most sense to me, regardless of who you are. There is just so much change in coaching and rosters over the course of a season, one seems kind of unwise to sign early unless one might get squeezed out of consideration by waiting (e.g. Naadir Tharpe).

Rock Chalk!

nohohawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Can you same Cam Newton? Does this sound familiar..... "I really want to come to Mississippi State, but my dad chose Auburn for me." What happened next?? NCAA investigation because his dad seems to want to make money off the school his son attends. The sad thing is this is likely to be heavily looked at by the NCAA just because of how strange this is turning out. This kid has been in love with Kansas from day one and basically said it's his dream school. The NCAA is going to ask, "If you stated publicly that you loved Kansas so much and wanted to go there, then why are you looking to go somewhere else??"

These players are still considered kids. What happened to parents supporting their kids decisions rather than these kids SUPPORTING their parents.

nohohawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Lots of stuff happening right now on message boards and twitter saying that the NCAA has cleared Selby!

gchawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Any links to what you're saying? Hope it's true.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 11 months ago

When was the last time there was a dilema between KU and MU by a basketball recruit? And, what was the outcome?

I don't recall Ryan Robertson being particularly vexed by the choice. There was the Rush family situation.

But, in the scheme of things, if a guy wants to play for MU, it's ok. We'll just make him feel welcome when visiting AFH, right? Plus, he'll have plenty of opportunity to see KU play when he's in street clothes in post-season.

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