Aggressiveness wasn’t a problem for Ben McLemore in his NBA Summer League debut on Saturday in Las Vegas.
The former Kansas University off guard, who dipped to seventh overall in the 2013 Draft partly because of concerns about his desire to take over games, scored 11 points off miserable 4-of-23 shooting in Sacramento’s 76-73 loss to Dallas.
McLemore — he missed a possible game-tying three from the corner at the final buzzer — went 1-for-11 from three and two of four from the free throw line. He also had five rebounds, two turnovers and zero assists in 31 minutes.
“I wasn’t trying to jack a lot of shots up or anything like that. They were all good shots,” McLemore told NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk website. “I feel like they were all good shots; I was just missing. My shots just were not falling. Great shooters have some bad shooting nights.”
His summer league coach, Chris Jent, was not concerned after the 23-shot outing. The most shots taken by McLemore in his one season at KU was 18 versus Chattanooga on Nov. 15 in Allen Fieldhouse.
“He’s got to take good shots. When he’s open he’s got to knock shots down,” Jent told ProBasketballTalk. “He had a tough day today but he’s got to pick his head up and get after it tomorrow. Fortunately we get back in the gym and get some shots up and learn from it. That’s why we’re here, to learn and get better.
“Long term, not worried about him,” Jent added. “As long as a player is willing to put the work in and get better and be more consistent — which he is going to do — you’re not worried.”
McLemore survived a scary moment early in the game when Dallas’ Terrico White fell on McLemore’s left knee. After a few seconds on the floor, McLemore was able to leave the court under his own power and shortly after, return to the game.
He’s signed: The Kings officially signed McLemore to his first NBA contract on Saturday. Terms were not disclosed. However, the rookie league scale reports the 20-year-old McLemore will receive $2,413,300 in 2013-14, $2,521,900 in 14-15 and $2,630,500 in 15-16.
Darnell back in summer league: Former KU forward Darnell Jackson scored 13 points off 6-of-8 shooting with five rebounds and two steals in the NBA D-League Select Team’s 83-81 win over Minnesota. Jackson, who played 23 minutes, played for Reno, Nev., in the D-League last season.
Robinson scores six: Former KU forward Thomas Robinson scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds in his debut with the Portland Trail Blazers — an 82-69 loss to Phoenix. Robinson, recently acquired by Portland from Houston, hit two of five shots and had two blocks in 28 minutes. The Morris twins played for Phoenix. Markieff Morris had 18 points and eight rebounds with eight fouls (there’s no disqualification rule in summer league) in 19 minutes. Marcus Morris had 14 points and five boards.
Releford debut: Former KU guard Travis Releford scored four points off 2-of-4 shooting in Denver’s 88-74 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday in Releford’s pro debut. He had three rebounds, one turnover and no assists in 14 minutes.
Elijah confident: Former KU guard Elijah Johnson, who scored five points with two steals, two rebounds, two turnovers and one assist while playing 16 minutes in his pro debut with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, faces tough odds in trying to make the team. The Clippers, who are led by all-star point guard Chris Paul, acquired veteran guards Darren Collison, Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick so far this offseason.
“I’ve been playing basketball my whole life, and you’re always having to prove yourself. This is just another challenge,” the 6-foot-3 Johnson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after a 90-83 win over Atlanta.
“I’m just trying to make good decisions when I’m out there. But I didn’t think the pace was too fast, not at all. I was very comfortable.”
The undrafted Johnson told the R-J he chose to play with the Clippers because, “they may have a lot of guards, but they didn’t draft any guards.” The Clippers’ only draft pick was forward Reggie Bullock.
Paul walked up to Johnson after the game and told him he played well.
“When something like that happens, it can only help your confidence. It’s nice to know (Paul) was watching,” Johnson said.
Recruit likes KU: King McClure, a 6-3 junior shooting guard from Triple A Academy in Dallas, tells Rivals.com that he will attend KU’s Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 4 as part of an unofficial visit. McClure, who is playing at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., said, “Arkansas and Kansas are coming at me the hardest. I’m still open, but those two have been working the most.” Rivals.com’s No. 16-rated player in the Class of 2015 also has Texas, Baylor, Indiana and Louisville on his early list.