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Originally published April 9, 2013 at 02:44p.m., updated April 10, 2013 at 12:13a.m.

KU freshman Ben McLemore declares for NBA Draft

Kansas guard Ben McLemore wipes away tears as he leaves a news conference with family members after declaring his intention to enter the 2013 NBA Draft. At left is his mother, Sonja Reid Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kansas guard Ben McLemore wipes away tears as he leaves a news conference with family members after declaring his intention to enter the 2013 NBA Draft. At left is his mother, Sonja Reid Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Ben McLemore, Bill Self press conference

Kansas guard Ben McLemore and KU coach Bill Self talk during a press conference where McLemore declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft on April 9, 2013.

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Ben McLemore knows he made the right decision in choosing to enter his name in the 2013 NBA Draft.

“All my teammates and coaches said, ‘If it’s your time, it’s your time.’ It was my time,” the 20-year-old Kansas University freshman sensation said at a Tuesday news conference announcing his decision to leave school with three years of eligibility remaining.

“As a kid growing up, that’s what I wanted to do,” McLemore added of playing at the highest level. “Now I’ve got the opportunity to do that and provide for my family.”

Though seen as a no-brainer — McLemore is expected to be taken in the top three of the June draft — the decision was nonetheless painful for a person who is in no hurry to cut short his college experience.

The 6-foot-5 St. Louis native covered his eyes as he was embraced by his mother and two sisters shortly after leaving the media room where he and coach Bill Self fielded questions for about 30 minutes.

“I’ll remember this place the rest of my life,” McLemore said. “I’m going to miss my teammates, coaching staff, academic people and I am definitely going to miss the fans. The fans were supportive throughout this whole season.”

McLemore recalled fondly the night he scored 30 points in a win over Kansas State — a game in which KU’s fans serenaded him with “Happy Birthday” as he left the court.

“Being here, I’ve changed a lot,” said McLemore, KU’s all-time freshman scoring leader at 15.9 ppg. “Like coach said, I’ve matured a lot too. I’m a humble person and soft-spoken kid, but just being able to be here and have this special day is a blessing.”

It’s a day Self said was inevitable because of McLemore’s skills and where the second-team All-American is projected to fall in the draft.

“My personal opinion is if he were my son I would certainly strongly recommend he make the jump at this time,” Self said.

“I don’t think there was one time our staff sat around this year and said, ‘We hope Ben comes back.’ When he started blowing up, a little bit after the Ohio State game (22 points in Dec. 22 victory), I’m thinking, ‘Oh jeez. I’m glad we have him because we’re winning, but we aren’t going to have him long.’’’

McLemore, who red-shirted a year ago, had progressed so rapidly last winter that Self just knew Ben was exaggerating when he told the staff he’d be back for another season.

“Ben kept telling us in February ‘Don’t worry about getting anybody else, I’m coming back,’ and we were like, ‘Yeah, right,’” Self said with a laugh. “We did say, ‘Do you want to make that a public announcement?’ but he didn’t ever agree to that so I knew that I was in trouble.

“But things change. The thing that was really encouraging to me about Ben and how he handled everything was he didn’t handle it during the season. That wasn’t something weighing on his head or heart because he knew he still had a job to do here, and if you do your job here then you have an opportunity to make decisions after. If he would have told me he wanted to come back I would have said, ‘Well Ben, we need to look at this again.’”

The next step for McLemore is to hire an agent.

“I’ll sit down and talk to some people and figure out where I want to sign and who I want to work with,” he said.

One thing is sure. McLemore will be a wealthy man next season. The money will come in handy after growing up in near poverty as a child in St. Louis.

“It was kind of tough, but at the same time, growing up not having a lot, I don’t need to talk about what I don’t have. I remember coach saying that,” McLemore said. “I just talk about what I want to try to get, and try to help my family. Being little, growing up, you just think about you want to provide for your family. Coming here and sitting out last year and being able to play this year, I got the opportunity to do that and I took it.”

Self said McLemore would remain enrolled in classes the rest of the semester. As far as the Jayhawks’ future, Self now must replace all five starters from a 31-6 team. KU has signed five high school players with three scholarships left to award.

“On the surface it would look like a huge rebuilding job,” Self said, “but we’ve had rebuilding jobs here before. We’d like to add another piece or two, without question. It’s hard to say if we’re going to be good, or how good, but I’d be really surprised if next year’s team isn’t competitive, and doesn’t compete for championships, just like other teams we’ve had here.”

Where will he land?: McLemore was asked if there’s any team he’d like to draft him.

“No, not really. I am a Miami Heat fan, but I really don’t have a team I really want to go to and play for,” he said.

Upon hearing his fondness for the Heat, Self cracked: “You’re not going to fall to No. 30, bud.”

Self on whether McLemore will be taken No. 1 overall: “I think Ben would agree that there’s probably no clear-cut, definite No. 1, but from what I’ve seen I think everybody’s got him 1, 2 or 3. I can’t believe that he would fall out of that range, because I know he’ll work,” Self said.

How much money?: If McLemore is selected No. 1 in the draft, he’d make $4,436,900 next season, $4,636,600 in the second year and $4,836,300 in the third year. If he’s taken No. 2, he’d make $3,939,800 his first year, $4,148,500 the second and $4,327,100 the third. If he’s selected No. 3 he’d make $3,565,000 next year, $3,725,400 the second and $3,885,800 the third. Fourth year is team option.

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Ben McLemore press conference

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Comments

akgjenkintown 2 years ago

Good luck Ben. Thanks for the memories although brief.

ManCrushOnCaptainKirk 2 years ago

See you at the All Star Break next year -- bring home the MVP of the Rookies-Sophomores Challenge!!! (P.S. Lots of dribbling drills between now and your first NBA season.)

Hozzy11 2 years ago

Good Luck Ben! Will always remember Flight23! Thanks for the memories and the hard work!

Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

Rock Chalk, BMac! Can't wait to hear about your success at the next level.

2 years ago

Best wishes Ben, we enjoyed having you for the time you were here. You will always be a part of the Jayhawk family!

Adam Evans 2 years ago

BMac: thank you. Despite only one year on the floor, it feels like you've been a jayhawk for ever. I won't wish you luck, because I don't think you'll need it. Go kick some nba butt and take some names and ill be cheering you the whole way.

Ron Franklin 2 years ago

Great Job Ben. You've Earned it.

Don't let that money change you.

Clarence Haynes 2 years ago

All the best BMac! Fun watching you soar! Make us proud!

boomrsoonr26 2 years ago

I thank you Ben, your 2 years must have been memorable! Congrats

KUBLUEBLOOD22 2 years ago

Probably a smart decision! Good luck and congrats on being able to support your family. Hold down the Jayhawk name in the NBA!

hiphopsux 2 years ago

Congrats Ben, go take care of your family and make Jayhawk nation proud. Do me a favor though and give Andrew Wiggins a call on your way out and tell him how lovely Lawrence is!

Matt Bowers 2 years ago

Ben, this is best for you and your family. Thank you for all the great memories and great plays, it was a joy. Looking forward to following your NBA career and I hope it is a long and prosperous one.

All the best, Rock Chalk

GeoHawk15 2 years ago

Thank you Ben for your dedication over the last 2 years. It was a joy to watch you play. I'll be cheering for you in the NBA!

jayhawkinnc 2 years ago

We'll miss you Ben! Very proud of you. Thanks for the great memories!

mandomax 2 years ago

Rock Chalk B-Mac. Wishing you the best in the L! Maybe make a splash and give us another pro team to root for?

boomrsoonr26 2 years ago

Because typing "League" is too mainstream!

Since79 2 years ago

Best of luck Ben! Thanks for everything!

Rock Chalk!

dumbarton 2 years ago

Nothing but the best for you and your family Ben. I can't wait to watch you develop in the professional ranks. Thanks for all the wonderful memories! You are a class act and will be a great ambassador for the University of Kansas.

archercc 2 years ago

Represented the university well and always seemed like a nice kid. Wish him nothing but the best.

Mike Bratisax 2 years ago

Yes he did. I think he will have a really good career. Maybe even close to Paul Pierce.

shinguard 2 years ago

Congrats Ben on a great decision and a wonderful season!

rockchalk_dpu 2 years ago

Very happy for Ben to have the chance to help his family and live out a dream. Also very thankful for his time in Lawrence wearing a KU uniform. He played a huge role (with Jamari) last year in helping the team prepare for their deep run in the tourney, and had a great 'freshman' season that we'll remember for a long time.

The best part of this, and perhaps the smartest also, is that he has not hired an agent yet. If something horrible were to happen ala B Rush, it would be great to have that option to return and heal up rather than being on his own.

Either way, happy for him today and excited to see how he does in the League. Rock Chalk Ben!

cobweb 2 years ago

You made the right decision, no question. Good luck!!! Make your momma proud.

Jack Jones 2 years ago

Ben, Thanks for being a part of the Kansas University Jayhawk family ~ and tradition. You gave all of us many exciting moments and memories during this season. You are not only an exceptional player ~ but even more importantly, an exceptional young man who represents, and serves as an example to other young women and men, that it is possible to overcome whatever obstacles life presents to us.

Best wishes for continued success in your basketball career ~ and in your life journey.

We will look forward to seeing you at the "Phog" many times in the future ~ as a lifetime member of the Jayhawk family.

2 years ago

Off to the rendering plant with sunbake.

Jack Jones 2 years ago

HO-HO--HO SUNBAKED EVERY VILLAGE HAS TO HAVE AN IDIOT ~ THANKS FOR BEING OURS.

Joe Ross 2 years ago

Let that Jayhawk pride fly in the NBA Ben. Thanks for the memories! McLemore >>>Selby.

Mike Bratisax 2 years ago

I don't get the Selby bashing. Do you not think he came here with the same hopes that other players do?

Being a top recruit doesn't always work out. I'm sure he envisioned his career at Kansas to be more successful.

Steve Jacob 2 years ago

Wise decision, looking like a top three pick. I think his only weakness going to the NBA is his ball handling,

Clarence Haynes 2 years ago

National media dissing KU again! All that I see on espn and other national media is talk about Oladipo going into the draft! Why are they not talking about Ben?

LAJayhawk 2 years ago

Good luck to you, Bmac. You are a hell of a talent, but seem to be an even better guy and teammate. One piece of advice: think long and hard before hiring an agent. Ask Brandon Rush; you never know what could happen while working out for NBA teams.

Otherwise, rock the suburbs, my man. Just like Quiet Riot did.

Bob Schutz 2 years ago

Good luck Ben. Thanks for being part of Jayhawk Nation. Be extremely careful with your money. The money you earn in the next few years may have to last you the rest of your life. Be wary of "friends" that come out of the woodwork.

master16 2 years ago

he'd be a strong contender for poy next year, but this was the right choice. top 5 lock this season, and possibly top 15 next season with such a strong draft.

here's to Ben being Self's first KU guy to become a NBA superstar! best of luck

texashawk10 2 years ago

Don't settle for just being a top 3 pick Ben. Start working on your weaknesses now and keep working on them every season and offseason. That will make you an elite NBA player and get you max contracts in the future. Thanks for the memories Ben!

DocBean 2 years ago

He wasn't the best college basketball player on KU's roster, but I do believe he'll be one of the best NBA players in this draft. It's a different game, and I think he'll do well.

With that said, good luck to Ben, and good luck to all our Seniors that made this year's team so much fun to watch.

kranny 2 years ago

He was the best and most talented player on the team. I'm sure his team would agree.

tis4tim 2 years ago

Good decision, Ben. Best of luck at the next level. Now, get yourself a great agent and an even better financial adviser and then go have some fun playing the game you love. The sky is your limit.

Rock Chalk!

johninkc1 2 years ago

Ben,

Best wishes to a great player and an even nicer young man. Go make us proud in the league. Play angry to take a line from the Shockers.

Lance Cheney 2 years ago

I'm just glad Tyler Self decided to stay one more year.

GabrielMichael 2 years ago

Don't be a stranger Ben! Stay humble!

Ross Hartley 2 years ago

RCJH Ben. I will follow you in your NBA career.

kevinatc 2 years ago

Happy for him but he is not ready.

Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

Dislike.

He doesn't have to be. He's got time.

Whatever team that gets him isn't expecting that suddenly they're saved and in title-contention right off the bat. Heck, they probably don't even start him - at least not more of his 1st season.

Mike Bratisax 2 years ago

I think he is ready but you can't count on having that much time. I'm sure Julian Wright wished he had stayed a third year.

Some of these kids are caught in a tough situation. Go to the NBA early and take care of your family or risk getting injured by staying another year. I still think BMac will be fine. He isn't even close to reaching his potential.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years ago

more ready than X, Selby, Wright and Aldrich for damn sure

texashawk10 2 years ago

He'll have more time to work on his weaknesses in the NBA with specialist trainers than he would at KU where there are limits on how much practice with coaching he can get.

Scott Smetana 2 years ago

Coaching in the NBA > Self and KU? Ha. What a joke. There are several reasons why he should stay in school and only money why he should not.

texashawk10 2 years ago

I'm not talking about coaches on NBA staffs, I'm talking about private trainers (usually retired players) that cost lots of money that can privately train with Ben for a few weeks at a time. Kind of like in football when players go to specialists in the offseason to get better at their positions. That's something Ben can't do at KU because he won't have the funds to do so and KU's coaching staff won't have access to him until fall practice starts up.

LAJayhawk 2 years ago

This is an argument I hear a lot that seems to miss a very key point: there is absolutely NO substitute for game reps. You just can't replicate that in a practice setting. Specifically, the key moments in big games like in the tournament. Yes, practice time is absolutely necessary, but practicing at full speed in actual games is vital to development. That's what one gets in college that they don't get riding the bench in the NBA (and the D-League is like game-speed lite; it just doesn't have the same urgency as D-1 conference play or the tournament).

So, yes, he will get a lot of help from coaching staffs and trainers, but he could miss out on essential game experience he could get at KU. That's, honestly, the biggest thing he had to weigh. I think most of us agree his talent is enough to get him a fair amount of playing time in that he should be able to build up game speed reps. But that's the risk you take leaving early. And that's why Julian Wright would be a better pro player had he stuck around another year.

My $.02, anyway.

texashawk10 2 years ago

NCAA and NBA basketball are two very different games right now. Staying in school and having limited practice time to work on his game wouldn't make Ben significantly more prepared for the NBA game than he already his.

LAJayhawk 2 years ago

Again, I partly disagree. Because while he would have limited practice time, he would, undoubtedly, get considerably more game reps under pressure situations (he would be counted on to carry the team in most games). Yes, the college game is different, but being able to get reps of stepping up in pressure situations does not change regardless of the association level. And that's something he would get in college, but probably not right away in the NBA. Again, that's a form of "practice" you can not replicate.

But, again, I think he will be fine... at least more so than Wright, X, Selby, etc. were.

ManCrushOnCaptainKirk 2 years ago

Totally agree. Although for the teams that are going to draft him, I don't think he'll be necessarily riding pine.

I think it would be hard to think past a guaranteed 11-12 million over 3 years. Regardless about other arguments.

LAJayhawk 2 years ago

This I do 100% agree with, which is why I definitely understand him leaving. He is likely to get playing time, and I think has enough talent to get a good second contract, which is the REAL contract. The point above was simply that not getting game reps is something a guy must weigh before making the jump. That's a big reason why Paul Pierce had a lot of success: he stuck around for another year of game reps. I do think BMac will be fine, so he might as well take the money now. But I do think he would absolutely benefit from another year.

But leaving is probably the right choice for him.

KansasComet 2 years ago

Ben, thanks! I am sure you will do well. The sky is the limit.

spenc1324 2 years ago

Your family just got a lot bigger my friend with the money your gonna get your gonna have "cousins" comin out of no where wanting you to help them out too. Word of advise only take care of family that took care of you. Good luck in the league you have a whole Jayhawk family rootin for you and all we want is for you to win and be successful on and off the court. ROCK CHALK

TysonHawk37 2 years ago

Best of luck, Ben! You absolutely made the right decision!

Yolanda Gay 2 years ago

Ben is no where ready for the NBA; but he made the right decision for him and his family. I keep hearing how this year's draft talent isn't very good. Right now he's a top 3 pick. Next year's draft, I feel, will be deep.

If he came back, he risks falling in draft position and worse, injury.

Work hard, Ben. I'd like to see good number next year in the 'Jayhawks in the NBA' section on this website.

jayshockcat 2 years ago

Best wishes in the NBA. You know all the true Jayhawk fans will always be rooting for you. You are family.

jayhawkinATL 2 years ago

Thanks, BMac! Time to take care of your family.

April13 2 years ago

Was listening to Jalen Rose today and, when asked directly, he said that he should have come out one year earlier - when the iron was hot. Ben did the right thing for himself and that, by the way, is his job.

Congrats Ben! Wishing you the best on draft day!

Jack Wilson 2 years ago

The beauty of this thread is that, so far, no one has said that he should have stayed to get his education. Awesome.

nuleafjhawk 2 years ago

ejookashun is hylee owver-rayted - itz awl abowt da munny. leest it wuz 4 mee.

LAJayhawk 2 years ago

That's likely because there are any number of faults with this argument. Let me list two of them for you:

1) Going to the NBA and getting an education (earning a degree or not) are not mutually exclusive. The NBA does not have a rule against players continuing their education. Just ask Michael Jordan (went back to UNC), Shaq (who actually earned an MBA), Russell Westbrook who attends classes at UCLA in the offseason, Chris Paul likewise at Wake Forrest, Kevin Durant at Texas, etc. etc. etc..... in fact, in 2009, 10% of NBA players attended classes in the offseason, according to Campus Explorer.

2) College is supposed to prepare you for your professional field of choice. No one says you are required to get a degree to pursue it. Mark Zuckerberg didn't finish his degree at Harvard. Neither did Matt Damon (supposedly 1 credit shy). Bill Gates also did not graduate from Harvard. Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College after 6 months. If you are ready to succeed in your chosen profession -- in ANY other profession besides sports -- no one makes this same argument about staying. Why, exactly, is basketball that much different?

I do think BMac should get his education, but please tell me why he can't earn at least 4 million a year while doing it?

Jack Wilson 2 years ago

Sorry .. I guess my attempt at humor could be read a few different ways.

I was just referring to the fact that there always seems to be some joker that thinks "an education" is more important than multiple millions in guaranteed money.

I guess I at least inspired a bunch of comments I agree with here.

LAJayhawk 2 years ago

I will admit, I was surprised to see that original post, as I didn't think you held that opinion. My apologies for not picking up on the attempted humor. I've seen enough of your posts, that I should have been able to discern your intended tone. My bad.

Josh Becker 2 years ago

Dollar today is better than a dollar tomorrow. Always time to go back for an education

Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

yes sir, with all that cash he can buy himself whatever degree he wants. I know this because I could buy anything in the world if I read through my junk email folder.

Brianna Zaleski 2 years ago

Is it just me or do those tears seem to be tears of sadness and not joy. I don't believe this is a decision that Ben wanted to make. I do think he has a ton of pressure to now support and provide for his family that is quite poor if all I've read is correct. And while I understand his feeling that he needs to go now because of his family, I don't think its fair and really feel bad for the kid in a way. He seemed to really love being a student here and playing basketball for such a passionate, family oriented team and fanbase. How awesome would it have been for a kid like this to graduate from college with his head held high! Might be the only or one of only a few to say that in his family.... I absolutely wish this kid all the best and thank him deeply for all the joy he imparted ME and my family the last two years. An absolute stud who should redefine the word "smooth" as it pertains to a basketball player. Just a joy to watch......

Cue the idiots who will say..."why would you feel bad for a kid who is about to become a millionaire 10 times over?.........."

texashawk10 2 years ago

Those may very well have been tears of sadness knowing he'll never put the Crimson and Blue on in a meaningful game again. I also wouldn't be shocked to see him work on getting his diploma during the offseasons either because it sounds like that's something that has become much more important to him in his 2 years in Lawrence. It's a bittersweet moment for Ben knowing that while he'll never be able to play for KU again, but that he's about to realize a dream of being able to provide for his family for hopefully the rest of their lives as long as he is smart with his money.

Yolanda Gay 2 years ago

I feel bad for Ben. He has to go help support his family. I'm sure he wants to continue to play college basketball. College basketball and the NBA are 2 different environments. In college, he has a coach who cares about him and the fun of playing college basketball. In the NBA, it's all business. They will expect him to do what he needs to get better. If not, straight to D-League. They have no patience. This is a big step for a 20 year old.

Michael Luby 2 years ago

Way to go Ben. Good luck and we will miss you @ KU

Robert Greenwood 2 years ago

Thanks for all the hard work and memories Ben. We will be proud to keep rooting for you as an NBA Jayhawk!

Bridgett Wagner 2 years ago

Aw that photo breaks my heart. We will miss you Ben! Always a Jayhawk! Thanks for some awesome memories! Good luck!!!

chaggs 2 years ago

When's the next Legends of the Phog? I can't wait to see him again with Kansas across his chest.

In the meantime, congratulations, Ben! You are always welcome home!

JayhawkRock78 2 years ago

Thanks for the memories Ben. May the best things happen to you. Make sure to surround yourself with good people.

And seniors. ditto.

KemDooKU 2 years ago

No brainer - your the bomb and will be missed but happy your going to get paid - make sure you have a financial adviser and remember to keep your family and friends in check - don't be like some of the other professional athletes that go broke a few years after their done playing - that would be very disappointing!!!

nuleafjhawk 2 years ago

I've been a die-hard KU fan for 45+ years. Ben was one of my all time favorite Jayhawks (and that is one hell of a compliment - think of all the incredible players we've had over the years )

I wish he would / could have stayed, but I think most people understand. Best of luck to you my friend. You have been so fun to watch. Blessings to you and your family.

Sam Constance 2 years ago

So many nicknames, so little time.

Air McLemore

. McLe-score

. McLe-soar

. The Bad Man With They Boyish Countenance

. Lord of the Slams

. Ben DunkingSinceHeWasBorn

. Smiley

. The Royal Jayhawk Airforce

. Phogwalker

. Mac Baddie

. Big Mac

Congrats Ben. You've been a joy to watch, and bought more into the pride of being a Jayhawk in two short years than some people ever do. You've earned every bit of that NBA contract, and those who say you aren't "ready" for the league are just secretly wishing you would come back to delight us for another year. You'll be excellent. Just hope that Jordan passes you over...

GortHawker 2 years ago

Somebody tell AW we got an opening, he can come here now. Good luck Benny Mac !

lifetimeJay 2 years ago

It annoys me when people post on this thread as if Ben is going to take the time to get on kusports.com and read this. You aren't talking to him people!

iamahawk 2 years ago

Because you are his new best friend?

2 years ago

To use one of your own previously posted phrases, "Pull the pine cone out your a$$ and lighten up."

James Kim 2 years ago

Bill Gates didn't finish college either.

Key phrase: opportunity cost.

nuleafjhawk 2 years ago

Hmmm.

It would appear that not finishing college is the only thing that Bill Gates and Ben McLemore have in common.

dhinkansas 2 years ago

Step out of the pissy pants for a bit, bud.

Alex Berger 2 years ago

Love this guy. Selfishly would have been ecstatic if he came back for one more year but I am not upset at all. After all, family's gotta eat! Good luck Ben!

Kevin Jenkins 2 years ago

Thanks Ben for your game this year. You deserve the praise given to you. KU fans are not always so kind because of our passion for basketball greatness. You showed us that you could play and we are proud that you helped this team to a great year. We only hope that you have a wonderful career in the NBA. It is sad you are leaving but, we do understand. And may good fortune come to you and your family. You are one of the few players that has a heart to match the talent

Phoggy_Notion 2 years ago

Congrats, and best of luck, Mr. McLemore. Now would the NBA player's association get their head's straight and start serving the majority of its players, rather than the few guys that actually contribute at 18-21 yr olds. Be nice to see the league adopt the same draft approach as MLB; it's always sad to see 'first round' draft picks in the NBA D-league the first couple years of their career.

FLAjayhawker 2 years ago

Good Luck Ben, always have me as a FAN! Great Kid!

PhearThePhog 2 years ago

May God continue to richly bless you and your family in the years to come. Wherever you end up will be one of my favorite NBA teams to watch. Come back & visit often. ROCK CHALK!

matthew2600 2 years ago

Plaid button-down shirt with a denim shirt over it? Really?

RJ King 2 years ago

Isn't it time for your manicure appointment?

actorman 2 years ago

He hasn't gotten his millions yet.

Alex Resnik 2 years ago

You're going to make a great NBA player Ben. Take care of your family and watch a TON of Ray Allen tape!

Boouk 2 years ago

Hopefully Andrew Wiggins takes his place.

Doug Aitken 2 years ago

God bless you, Ben. Work hard and be smart with your money.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years ago

Lost one of the best players we've seen at this level in a looooong time in McLemore.... Doubtful in getting the #1 Recruit in Wiggins.... Losing all 5 starters...

But man, am I excited for this November:) New faces but the same tradition of winning.

Rock Chalk!

Jeff Kilgore 2 years ago

Another Jayhawk multimillionaire! Don't be a stranger! You'll always be welcome when you come back! This site:

http://www.hoopsworld.com/2012-13-rookie-salary-scale

indicates that Ben will be guaranteed something like 12-20 million over the next four years. Is this how everyone else reads the player caps?

Suzi Marshall 2 years ago

Damm....why in the world was Ben crying after the news conference?

hawkdiek 2 years ago

A good kid with a big heart, great attitude, an awesome teammate, most humble and one of the most infectious smiles to grace the Fieldhouse. It's been a pleasure. I truely wish the decision to stay or leave was yours and yours alone. Good luck in the future young man. No matter what, we all wish you the best. P.S. I want to see those dance moves at some point next season on an NBA court!

Kevin Jenkins 2 years ago

One person said he was annoyed with the comments on this site. I am annoyed that people get on this site and have nothing to say about this column. I once asked former player Tyshawn if players actually get on this thread and he said yes. Alot of players get on to get connected to fans fans and want to hear the good and bad. Maybe Ben reads what we write, maybe not. But he does deserve the opportunity to be able to. Great to read so many positive things about a player. Rock Chalk Ben

Kevin Jenkins 2 years ago

One person said he was annoyed with the comments on this site. I am annoyed that people get on this site and have nothing to say about this column. I once asked former player Tyshawn if players actually get on this thread and he said yes. Alot of players get on to get connected to fans and want to hear the good and bad. Maybe Ben reads what we write, maybe not. But he does deserve the opportunity to be able to. Great to read so many positive things about a player. Rock Chalk Ben

ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years ago

Wish I could see him and his family do the "McLemore" dance when he signs the contract!

dhinkansas 2 years ago

He seems like a good guy and a great talent. Hard to imagine being 20 and put in the position to have to take care of your family. I was lucky at 20 and didn't have those decisions to make. Cheers to Ben and a great NBA career.

texashawk10 2 years ago

To add to that some more pieces of advice. Don't buy a multimillion dollar house until the second contract. Also, you don't need more than 1 car, 2 isn't bad but anything more than that is a waste. An everyday get around car and something sporty for when you go out and have good time is the most you need. If you do buy cars for your immediate family, don't get them luxury cars, just get them stuff that will get them from point A to point B. Jewelry is also a bad investment because it makes you a target for haters. Also remember that nothing good happens after midnight to people in your position.

jaybate 2 years ago

What a great player!

What a great person!

Go get what's yours!

Rock Chalk, Mr. McLemore.

Nothing is written.

Someone will be better than Jordan.

Might as well be you.

P.S.: OakvilleJHawk had Ben read from before Ben got to KU. Screw architecture, Oak, become a talent evaluator for an NBA team.

RockChalk26 2 years ago

Is he basing his decision on the results from the poll?

Sandeep Kalburgie 2 years ago

Definitely not. But does not hurt to have KU top the poll :)

RockChalk26 2 years ago

Just giving you a hard time. I voted too :)

Dirk Andrews 2 years ago

Such a pleasure to have watched him play in person. Loved his smile. Good luck Ben! Waiting to buy that jersey.

Janet Olin 2 years ago

Best of luck to you Ben. May you surround yourself with smart financial people, stay healthy, and give us the pleasure of watching you become an NBA superstar. You've been a great ambassador for KU on and off the field. Don't forget to return to the Phog for a shot of energy and extra love. (Wish you could talk to Andrew Wiggins and tell him how much fun you had playing in Lawrence...)

Xanthe Sherman Swan 2 years ago

My heart isn't the only one breaking, you could see it in the pics of Ben's friends and team mates and yes even Ben himself after all was said and done. If you are feeling that, you should not be going.

If you noticed some of his family was crying too. What an awful responsibility to put on a kid.

Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

Ummmm, I'm thinking that a lot of it was tears of joy too though with the realization of what's to come in just another couple of months.

Xanthe Sherman Swan 2 years ago

Did you actually look at the pictures? No joy from anyone except next to Self in the news conference.

Jeffrey Nelson 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

that's the face of a kid who knows it's time to leave but he just wants to stay. I was sad when I graduated from KU and moved away, too. Cried even. It's always scary to leave something that you love, and move into the great unknown of a career. But if you believe that life only gets worse after you leave college then you have a sad sad life ahead. It can get better and Ben McLemore knows it. That's why he's making the right decision at the right time.

Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

FYI, I'm a family man and a workin' stiff now for 6 years and there's no way I'd trade half of what I have now to go back to college. If Ben handles his life the right way then he'll never regret leaving college early. He'll miss KU for sure, and wish that he'd won a championship, but he won't regret leaving. And he'll probably finish his degree taking summer classes, online classes, and correspondance classes. Just a guess.

Andy Tweedy 2 years ago

Finally someone to replace Paul Pierce as the only reason to watch the NBA! Good luck, Ben!!!

hawkmoon2020 2 years ago

I think we all get it by now. BMac is not ready for the NBA, and Withey played Vollyball. Both are going to the NBA, and both will make an impact with a few years under their belts.

Congrats to both. You will be sorely missed.

jay381 2 years ago

Best of luck to you in the NBA. It has been a pleasure to watch you play this year. I would only offer one piece of advice. Lean on someone you know and trust (like Bill Self) and get yourself a real good honest financial manager to maximize your return on the payments you will be receiving. All too many players lack this very important resource and end up totally without funds in a few years. The KU family has great resources and use a Bill Self to make the introductions and recommendations of a few and make your choice. There are a lot of bottom feeders just looking for a payday at your expense.

Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

I'll be interested to see how many more we add.

Ability to add three, but I see that as highly unlikely. More likely, we add one and someone else gets to benefit for next season only that will return to walk-on status.

Ideal & realistic combination to me would be Josh Perkins & Cliff Alexander (might be reaching too high with Alexander - but I'll hold out hope.....looks & sounds a LOT like T.Rob!!!)

CPAHawk 2 years ago

Thank you Mr. McLemore for the way you played and conducted yourself. You were a tremendous contributor to the 2012/2013 team and the KU Basketball legacy. Good luck in the Association.

Kevin Crook 2 years ago

Good luck Ben! Your new team will be one of my new favorites!

Jeffrey Nelson 2 years ago

SOOOOOO happy for this kid. I would've actually been upset if he decided otherwise. He's got a family that he needs to take care of and this is the best opportunity he's likely going to get to do so.

Proud of you Ben.

Mike Bratisax 2 years ago

Pretty hard not to feel happy for him. I'm predicting he will get drafted before any player in last night's NCAA title game.

I've made predictions before and usually fail miserably. I have never gone back to see my final point total on any of the brackets I filled but I think I have a better shot of getting this right.

Good luck Ben! Jayhawk for life.

Mike Bratisax 2 years ago

Not to quibble but just asking if Freshman and Redshirt Freshman records should be considered the same or separate?

Beau Woolsey 2 years ago

Ben would have gone 3rd in last years draft if he had the season he had this year last year maybe even above MKG It depends on the lottery but Orlando Charlotte Suns Would draft him first if they get the chance

Dale Stringer 2 years ago

Disagree. Ben would have been first and T-Rob second. If Ben would have had this season last year, we would have won the championship and knocked Kensucky's wonder kids down some spots.

Jeremy Wilhelm 2 years ago

Good luck Ben. Whatever team you end up with, I will be their newest fan. Rock Chalk!

gwenthejayhawk 2 years ago

Ben - thanks for the memories. Best freshman I can remember watching for a long time; Talented, Humble, Great Attitude. Best of luck! Make us proud.

Jayhawks1985 2 years ago

Well it's sad we live in a world where money has to be the deciding factor whether to stay in school or not. I'm sure it's not changing anytime soon. Money does buy happiness sometimes.

It's just fun to see kids that play this good at the college level.

Well more praise to the seniors who could stay and worked hard to get where they are at!

Oh well Ben I'm glad God gave you the talent to help your family.

texashawk10 2 years ago

Why is that sad? People go to college to learn a craft to make a living with and it doesn't always take until someone gets a degree in their field to move on to the real world. Ben's craft just happens to be one where it doesn't always take 4-5 years to get good enough to enter the workforce and make a living at.

Can you honestly say that if you were good enough at your chosen craft when you were 19-20 years old to earn a comfortable living and provide for yourself and your family that wouldn't give very serious consideration to taking that job?

jayhawkeratheart 2 years ago

Very valid point, look at the grads that are flippin hamburgers.

90sHawk 2 years ago

Good luck Ben! Definitely look forward to watching him in the NBA. I'm sure he'd like to stay in school, he just appears to be one of those guys that likes being a college player, but this is definitely the right choice. Its gotta be hard to continue to watch your family struggle longer if you choose to stay at KU, knowing you can change that very soon.BMac will have a great career.

ollerfarm 2 years ago

You can get a college ed when you are 50, but not so many playing in the NBA at 40. Time to make the money, if you need it, and your family needs some help. Thanks for this year, your baseline from the left side and glide to a dunk looks better than Mick Jordan. Awesome! God bless you young man. RCJH!!!!

Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

He should also be halfway or more toward a degree as well anyway. Some players got their degrees while in the NBA after having left early. I want to say that a number of North Carolina guys did, one of which I KNOW was VInce Carther (though I think Stackhouse & A. Jamison did as well)....heck, Shaq did as well....though it was a LOT LATER for him. The UNC guys did it after only another maybe 4-5 years out in the NBA. You'd have down-time in the late summer / early fall. Probably over maybe 5-6 years of summer school courses COULD get a degree if so desired and heck, STILL be playing at an All Star NBA level - a'la Carter.

JayHok 2 years ago

I'm sorry the pictures tell too much of a story. Any kids under eighteen reading this story know that money isn't the most important thing. The family knows what Ben is leaving but they are also very proud of him. Money comes through hard work and effort. There is a time and place for it. I hope most of us can afford our children to stay at least four years in college or that they can find a way to fund it themselves or get a full ride scholarship at a decent school somewhere in this world. My heart goes out to this family. At the same time, congratulations are in order to them all. But his poor mom. She is so proud of him but deep down she knows the other side of the coin too, that money isn't everything. A very strong wonderful sweet mother. Besides Angel she very well could be one of the most giving moms of all KU moms considering her Tiger roots. Such a heart wrenching story. Ben you're forever a JAYHAWK and thank you to your family for loaning you to Lawrence for a couple years!

Kelly Knott 2 years ago

I'm sad for Ben. He is a very talented young man and because of that, he has assumed the financial responsibility for his family at a very young age. I understand that because of his talent he has earned the opportunity to begin playing out his NBA dream sooner than later. I'm just sad that Ben has to cut short his KU dream experience in order to gain the financial rewards that his family so desperately needs. It is very apparent that this young man does not want to leave, yet feels he must. I have to disagree with Bill,,, it is bitter-sweet for Ben.

No worries young Ben,,, Once a Jayhawk,,, Always a Jayhawk. Rock Chalk - - Jayhawk Nation will be cheering you on where ever you play.

PakaRocks 2 years ago

Congratulations Ben! Wonderful to hear you praise God for how you've been blessed. I hope you have an awesome NBA career and continue to please God with your life! So much fun to watch your game progress in St. Louis and your recruitment to KU. You made a great contribution to the program and I hope you leave with great memories and even better friendships. Good luck!

KanKu 2 years ago

I can honestly say I wondered when the day would come that KU would have a OAD that I would be 100% okay with leaving.....and that day was today. Ben.....you da man.

One a different note. If you're like me and missed the American Family 3pt contest with Connor Frankamp last weekend, it'll be on tomorrow, Wednesday at 4pm (CST) on CBS College (Ch. 260 on Cox in ICT if you're nasty). I've changed my avatar to reflect his torching the contest......Frankamp providen un blitzkriegen!!!

JAY2016 2 years ago

So happy and so proud of him and for him. I'm gonna miss him for sure. Would have loved to see him for another year or so. But that's just me being selfish. Rock chalk on in the NBA Ben!

Jace FitzGibbon 2 years ago

i think its dumb to call ben a one and done...hes been on the KU team for 2 years lol. even if he played last year I think he would have stayed this year regardless. that year off practicing benefited him the most i think.

plus ben is ready to play in the league. hes a more athletic bradley beal and beals doing fine (repping the stl!). Ben can get tons of help in the NBA with ball handling and confidence. He'll have to get really good and coming off screens and making his own shot. Being at KU wouldn't help THAT MUCH. The whole point is to get drafted as high as possible; when you're getting projected in the top 2, YOU GO.

and everyone saying they understand his poverty level, you dont! you dont understand it until you're in the situation (if you have been then you my apologies).. I've grown up in poverty with terrible, abusive parenting and would do anything to help support my sister and set them up for life. his family needs money to survive and its wrong of you guys to say he needs to stay.

rock chalk! good luck ben!

justme33 2 years ago

Best of luck to you, buddy. Can't wait to watch you make your mark. My favorite NBA teams are all ones with Jayhawks!

Miguel Colón 2 years ago

Man I hope he goes to Phoenix with the Morris twins! Make that money, we all know you didn't want to leave. You are one of my favorite Jayhawks of my lifetime, Danny is #1, Kirk and Chalmers tied for #2 and then you and T Robb tied for #3. Great luck my friend, you are already good so you dont need good luck you need great luck cause you are a great Jayhawk!

ManCrushOnCaptainKirk 2 years ago

I was thinking the same thing. How cool would it be to have 3 Jayhawks in the same starting line-up???

Going to Orlando could also be good for him as they also need a 2-guard. He would potentially get lots of reps there. I'm just hoping he stays away from Charlotte.

fancy80 2 years ago

Ben, wishing you good luck in all you do. Thank you for representing KU with joy for the game, love for your teammates, and respect for our tradition. Sorry to see you go, but am so excited for you and your family. Nowhere is it written that you must attend KU for four years to be a Jayhawk for life.

VailHawk 2 years ago

It's seems odd to put him on my favorite Jayhawks list after just one year playing, but he deserves it! His physical abilities are obvious, but what I LOVE about him is what makes him the quintessential Jayhawk: humility, honor, respect, attitude, unselfishness, cheering the team after benching, the way he made the most of an unwanted redshirt and choosing KU over Mizery!

MountOreadCalifornia 2 years ago

One thing is for sure, the balance of the Big XXII is dancing a jig today because they won't have to face a more mature and confident Ben as a Soph, Jr, or Sr. I remember my relief when KD left Texas... Make KU proud Ben and never forget your time on the Hill... Cheers!

joshuamc914 2 years ago

CongratulationsBen you exceeded my expectations by a long shot you were an elite basketball player from jump. No one in their right minds thought he would be this good even though he had his moments where he would disappear, but folks have to remember he hasn't played bball in two years a red shirt and the end of high school senior year he didn't play. What he did this year was amazing to me because he did it without a point guard that could get him the ball in his favorite spot or get him easy buckets. Imagine if he ate with a point guard who knew where to find him. He in my eyes will be an All Star because now his family will be taken care of financially and he can concentrate on just basketball. It seemed late in the year and in the tournament he was playing with thebweihtbof the world on his shoulders and with each miss he pressed. I'm glad now that pressure is off he can finally provide for his family and give his family the life they've dreamt of. Congratulations Ben Jayhawk nation will miss you, but this is definitely the right decision for you and people please stop bringing up Slebyband Henry because McLemore is a better player then both combined and its not even close.

Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

Can forget about that Desmond Lee I kept talking about. Committed to N.C. State yesterday.

thjhawk 2 years ago

On another note, does anyone know when the Jordan Classic(?) is being played. I understand there could be a couple future Jayhawks participating. I don't want to miss. Thank you in advance.

ManCrushOnCaptainKirk 2 years ago

My Top 10 Favorite Jayhawks of All-Time:

1: Kirk Hinrich

2: Danny Manning

3: Milt Newton

4: Rex Walters

5: Raef Lafrenz (couldn't believe that he never made an All-Star game)

6: Adonis Jordan

7: Nick Collison

8: Jacque Vaughn

9; Paul Pierce

10: Alonzo Jameson/Mark Randall/Wayne Simien (I can't decide!!!!!)

I'd definitely place BMac in the top 25 or 30, I just didn't see enough games to get emotionally invested in him in comparison with some of my all-time favorites.

ManCrushOnCaptainKirk 2 years ago

My list appears on my computer like in 18 pt font; not sure why. Sorry about that....

Sally Presson 2 years ago

Good luck Ben, I know you will be a huge success and we're so proud you are a Jayhawk, thanks for coming to KU and sticking with us after they made you lay out your freshman year. you are one heck of a guy and so is Jamare, that was tough but you two held strong and came out on top. You are a great roll model for young people and your good character is outstanding. Your Mom is to be admired for raising such a wonderul boy!!

I wish you the very best and know the Jayhawk fans will always love you and hold you dear to our hearts.

Rock Chalk!!!

JakeBarnes 2 years ago

Good Luck, Ben. I hope you make it big. I have my doubts about the first few years. Don't get demoralized. You've got the talent as everyone knows. I suspect if they pay you $4 million they'll play you. Be aggressive, push, shove, kick, fight back. That's how it is done at the next level. In fact it's getting that way (got that way) in the level you're leaving. Again, Best of Luck. You're a winner.

kckuguy 2 years ago

I am glad his family finally found Allen Fieldhouse before B-Mac left. I doubt if he will get out of their site from now on. If I had any advise I would say, don't put anyone else's name on your new check book.

Danny Hernandez 2 years ago

Ben will be an awesome ambassador for Kansas.... He really seems like a great kid and I hope he can equal Paul Pierce in the NBA...... I shed a tear viewing the photos and can only hope for the best for Ben. Tear up the league Ben.....Come back when you can and once you're in the NBA, let the high school kids know that Bill Self and Kansas coached you up to the top pick in the NBA Rock Chalk I will definately be seeing him when he comes to play the Knicks or Nets next year. Bank on that one....

JayHok 2 years ago

This press conference was 99% better than Xavier Henry's. I support them both but as an adult I felt bad for Xavier in a different way. I felt like when he broke down at the microphone it was a never ending flow of tears like a child's geniune emotions had been wanting to come out for his entire year at Kansas. I liked Xavier a lot but I felt for him. Not the case with Ben. Ben has shown himself to be a great, well rounded person who felt free to show who he was on the court at times and grin quite a lot. When his tears came in the hallway with his family it meant so much more. Keep in mind just a couple months ago his mother told him to finish his education knowing deep down in her mother's core its importance in terms of the building of a child from birth to adulthood. The McLemores knew but had to make a very very difficult decision. For this they will be thought of with deep respect by the Jayhawk community for a long time. What a sweet sweet family. Can't stop looking at those pictures. Best of luck Ben. Since I doubt anyone is reading any of this, I'll say one more thing. I don't see the rush. What's the point of rushing. How are we raising our children, to develop emotionally or to rush around with their heads cut off. Does anyone really believe his mother couldn't have eaten for the next two years had he followed his original plan to get a degree. I'm happy for Ben but I'm sad that for some reason this felt like the ONLY option. If he felt that way it's too bad. If he made the decision because he never wanted to go to college, good for him but those pictures don't tell that story.

msthompson37 2 years ago

He needs another year in college. Stupid decision. He will be out of the league in a few years. He needs to mature. He didn't dominate all the time. His dribbling needs work. Xavier Henry should not have left. Shelby Should not have left. Even Mario Chalmers stayed until his Junior Year. And does Bill Self ever say, "your not ready for the NBA, you should stay". He never does. Bad decision and bill needs to start telling kids, LIKE COACH K does.

RJ King 2 years ago

says someone with their mouth full of food

Jack Wilson 2 years ago

msthompson37 - You are as so right. It is an utterly stupid decision to leave when you "didn't dominate all the time." That should be the standard. Dominate all the time and you should then leave. If not, stay. What fool would leave when a guaranteed contact paying $5 million or more is all that one has to look forward to? How can someone be so "stupid" as you suggest?

http://basketball.realgm.com/nba/info/rookie_scale/2014

Suzi Marshall 2 years ago

Wish I had a chance to be that stupid!

Robin Smith 2 years ago

I sincerely hope he gets great assistance in managing his wealth so that he and his family can be comfortable and remain comfortable for the rest of their lives and for future generations. By all accounts he's a great kid with a level head. I'm really rooting for him personally and I'm excited to watch him play in the NBA.

Heck maybe one day we can see a McLemore Jr lace em up for KU :-)

Randy Bombardier 2 years ago

Ben, thanks for choosing KU. You will always be loved by KU fans. Sure you don't want to wait just one more year. I am a firm believer that the pay you enter into the NBA with will affect your pay for the rest of your life. Another year here could mean millions and millions more down the road. You had a great freshman year but in the clutch when we needed you most you were ice cold. Make no mistake. That will affect the money that you command. Finally, if you stay the course, I hope you set up a trust fund where all your money goes. Each year I would annuitise your salary for life. It is a really conservative way of knowing you and your family will be taken care of for life.

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