Monday, December 24, 2012

Ben McLemore named Big 12 rookie of the week

Kansas guard Ben McLemore extends all his limbs as he defends against an inbound pass from Ohio State forward Sam Thompson during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore extends all his limbs as he defends against an inbound pass from Ohio State forward Sam Thompson during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.


Kansas University freshman guard Ben McLemore on Monday was named Big 12 rookie of the week, the conference office announced.

McLemore, a 6-5 red-shirt from St. Louis, averaged 18.0 points and 6.5 rebounds as the Jayhawks defeated Richmond (87-59) and won at then-No. 7 Ohio State (74-66).

He opened with 14 points off 5-of-9 shooting versus the Spiders and added seven rebounds. He scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds in KU’s win in Columbus, Ohio. He shot 50 percent (13-of-26) for the week, including 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from three-point range.

McLemore, who was honored by the league for the first time, leads KU and all Big 12 freshmen in scoring at 16.5 points per game, including four 20-point performances. His 16.5 ppg ranks second overall in the conference.

This marks the 23rd time in the 17-year history of the Big 12 that a Kansas player has been named Big 12 Rookie of the Week. Rookie of the week recognition goes to first-year players in the conference.

Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder was named player of the week. He scored 26 points in a win over Texas Southern and had 13 points and six rebounds in a win against Florida.


dylans 9 years, 6 months ago

What other freshman has been tearing it up, that this is only Ben's first ROW award?

Jesse Newell 9 years, 6 months ago

Rookies don't have to be freshmen. Here's the list:

Isaiah Austin, Baylor, C, Fr.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, G, Fr.
Amath M'Baye, Oklahoma, F, Jr.
Will Clyburn, Iowa State, G, Sr.
Aaric Murray, West Virginia, C, Jr.
Isaiah Austin, Baylor, C, Fr.
Ben McLemore, Kansas, G, Fr.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

How are you considered a "rookie" then, is there a minimum of minutes you must have played below in previous seasons? Or is it for anyone new to the Big 12? Curious of the criteria for this category, since one winner is a senior.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

Think "Newcomer", so a senior transfer is eligible.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Right... which is precisely why I asked "or is it anyone new to the Big 12." Was looking for an official answer.

Boouk 9 years, 6 months ago

They consider transfers rookies. Anyone playing their first season in the Big 12 can win the award.

PayHeedAll 9 years, 6 months ago

Marcus Smart from Ok St has probably won the award at least once or twice

mikehawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I really need to get a life, but I've watched the second inbounds under the basket to Ben against Ohio State at least 10 times. I really think he was very close to looking down into the basket on that one. If you watch it again on their replay from the other end of the court, check out the distance between the floor and the bottom of his shoes.

Scouting report to future KU opponents on under KU basket inbounds..."where's 23?!!! You three there...guard him! Game plan to KU players on under KU basket inbounds play..."you three out there with should be open because everyone else is watching him."

AsadZ 9 years, 6 months ago

That dunk by Ben on in bound pass from Tharpe was simply incredible. I have watched it numerous times as well. That was a great pass from Tharpe as well.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 6 months ago

It was an amazing inbound pass play and I am impressed with not only Mac's improved play, but also, with Tharpe's, as well. Then, to have HCBS say that there is still room for improvement. That is "just damn scary good!"

texashawk10 9 years, 6 months ago

Ben McLemore is the best player KU has had since Paul Pierce. Hinrich and Collison are both very good players who had very significant impact at KU, but McLemore is another step above those two in my eyes.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm a huge McLemore fan, but unless he delivers a national title this season, and assuming he stays only one year, he's not in the same league of "impact at KU" as Collison or Hinrich. Those guys were 4 year players. But as I mentioned .. unless he delivers a natonal title this season. Stay tuned. I like the direction your suggesting.

And as for pure talent, that would be another discussion. A short one I think. Ben is 1/2 Dominique Wilkens, 1/2 Ray Allen.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 6 months ago


Very good comparison with Wilkens and Allen. Chris Piper mentioned earlier on a TV broadcast that McLemore's footwork is very similar to Nick Collison, although he said, "I really hate to make comparisons."

Steve Quatrocky 9 years, 6 months ago

He's Branden Rush with a virgin ACL and everything Selby was supposed to be, rolled into one.

If he had started out the season shooting well, they'd be calling him the next Beasley or Durant already. Recently, he's been shooting over 50%, even from three.!

VaJay 9 years, 6 months ago

Finally! An article today! I was starting to get the shakes... Now I just need some news about football!! Pleeeeze....

Gotta agree with MikeHawk - that replay is worth watching over and over! What I noticed is Kevin Young was moving a bit on his screen - almost as much as when he wrecked our first set play in the second half with his totally unnecessary moving screen (and you could read Coach Self's lips - "KEVIN - WAKE UP!! THAT WAS TWO POINTS!!!"). The refs seemed to be paying attention to that type of call on both teams.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

CW & Co hit the JC trail hard the month after the season, and it shows. My guess is they took a bit of a break, and rehuddled to redevelop the HS plan in light of the roster/JC changes. My guess is that January will be another HS version of the recruiting whirlwind, just on a smaller scale based on the smaller #'s. How many oversignings or preferred walkons (Scholies in waiting) will we have?

Sam Constance 9 years, 6 months ago

Jeff Withey was robbed of Player of the Week. We all remember his great stat line against Richmond, but add to that the fact that he posted a pretty solid stat line against the #7 team in the country on their home court and it's hard to argue that McGruder has had a better week.

Jeff's week-long averages over the two games are as follows:

15.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.0 steals, 1.5 assists, .571 FG%, .778 FT%

By comparison, McGruder has been alright this week, but played two games at home, and generated most of his impressive stats (26 points on 12-17 shooting) against Texas Southern. If you look at his week-long averages over the two games, his stat line is the following:

19.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, .552 FG%, .700 FT%

I don't know if the voters just didn't feel comfortable giving it to Jeff in such close succession or what, but on a purely objective evaluation of the two and their raw stats as well as their contributions to their team successes, it seems like McGruder is getting extra credit for his team not being as good all-around, whether or not he was the specific reason they won the two games they did.

All that being said, I have to say I'm glad to see K-State get that win against Florida on Saturday. As long as they aren't playing or trash-talking on KU, I actually root for K-State. After all, they are fellow Kansans. I think they really messed up with letting Frank Martin go and then compounded the problem by hiring Bruce Weber, but that win at least gives them the inside track to making the NCAA tournament again.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 6 months ago

I too was surprised that Withey didn't get the award, I was curious about the other guys stats and you did the hard work. Clearly, I think Withey deserved it. The only thing I can think of, is K-State was pretty much written off and they pulled the upset over Florida, which no one saw coming.

All of us, expected kU to win and they did.

FLAjayhawker 9 years, 6 months ago

Could never root for those people.......LOL

Michael Sillman 9 years, 6 months ago

McLemore is an incredible athlete and appears to have the right attitude and work ehic to be a superstar. However he still needs to work hard on his handle. He demonstrated several times that he is not much of a dribbler. Congrats to him on the rookie of the week award.

AsadZ 9 years, 6 months ago

Looking at the pic his wing span is long.

Jim Dickerson 9 years, 6 months ago

MacLemore as rookie of the week? Talk about no-brainers!

1timbob 9 years, 6 months ago

Big Mac! Is possibly the best KU player in history other than Wilt, the best in my lifetime, and way better than Peirce when he was a jr.

TommieSmithElbow 9 years, 6 months ago

Definitely better than Pierce as a frosh, probably as a soph, but "way better than Pierce when he was a jr."? Not yet, and Pierce and Collison had nobody really around them except for an oft-injured Billy Thomas. Plus, we have NEVER had anyone as good at the end of a half as Pierce going one-on-one against ANYONE for the final shot. That includes McLemore, but hey, there is always time to ultimately prove you right. I'm not saying it isn't feasible, I just can't agree with you yet.

P.S. Manning was pretty good too. I wouldn't run through that road stop in the haste to get to the brick wall called Wilt.

dylans 9 years, 6 months ago

Nick and Paul had some pretty good teammates too. If that was sarcasm above it went straight over my head. 1997 is considered by many to be the finest team Roy put together and was the best team in the nation that year, but not on the day they played Arizona.

Collison's teammates: 1999 Boschee, Chenowith, Earl, Gooden, Hinrich, Gregory 2000 Boschee, Chenowith, Gooden, Gregory, Hinrich 2001 Gooden, Hinrich, Langford, Lee, Miles, Simien 2002 Graves, Hinrich, Langford, Lee, Miles, Simien Pierce's teammates: 1996 LaFrentz, Haase, Pollard, Thomas, Robertson, T.J. Whatley 1997 LaFrentz, Haase, Pollard, Vaughn, Thomas, Robertson, TJ Whatley 1998 Chenowith, Earl, Gregory, LaFrentz, Robertson, Thomas

TommieSmithElbow 9 years, 6 months ago

Dylans: If you are referring to my comment about Pierce and Collison's teammates, I am referring strictly to the 1998 (97-98 season), which was Pierce's Junior year. (I actually meant Lafrentz, not Collison. Typed it too fast.) My point was that I couldn't agree with McLemore being "way better than Pierce when he was a jr." statement by 1timbob. That year (97-98), it truly was Pierce and Lafrentz, the oft-injured Thomas, and a bunch of guys that hadn't matured yet. With regards to the 1996-1997 team, it was a GREAT team, and IMO, I think it was the best Jayhawk team post-1960 with the exception of the 2008 team. Thanks for your input, and sorry about the Lafrentz misstatement. Cheers!

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm waiting for BM to be named "Rookie of the Year".

Michael Pannacciulli 9 years, 6 months ago

Dudes like Ben, Travis, either must be in the tattoo chair every week or they have been getting inked since age 4. Impressive.

This guys athleticism is off the charts. Pierce was NOT nearly as athletic but he had a knack for scoring, and was tougher than nails. Not a good comparison. Two great hawks but that's it. I love watching and waiting for Ben to get the rock because you know there is about on 80% chane it's sports center worthy.

FLAjayhawker 9 years, 6 months ago

Am I crazy to think Ben will be back for one more year? He has a lot to work on (ball handling and toughness). If he can learn anything from two past jayhawks Selby and Henry is leaving too early can kill your NBA career!

dylans 9 years, 6 months ago

Yes, you are insane if your honest advice to a 19 year old (with a short amount of time to earn the big money) is to remain in school. Risking injury, just to play for fun, what you could be getting paid handsomely for is crazy. I would love every talented freshman that comes to KU to stay 4-5 years, but the reality of the matter is it is in their best interest to leave. Selby wasn't quite ready in my mind, but he is still playing pro ball. I do believe he could've been a lottery pick had he stayed one more year. McLemore is so talented that he will be a lottery pick if he continues at this pace. If he continues to get better a top 5 pick is definitely not out of the question. With that much guaranteed money on the table I would tell my own son to not risk it all for another year of living the life in college. You are correct his game needs work, but the draft is mostly based on potential.

Sam Constance 9 years, 6 months ago

Let's not pronounce the careers of players in their 3rd and 2nd years dead just yet.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

While those are good replies and I agree with both comments, the one thing I'll say for BMac coming back for another year is whether he feels it's important to mature as a person for another year at KU or if he's ready to take on the challenges of an NBA career. It sounds like he's really enjoyed the campus experience, doing well in classes, and learning from the staff. If he comes back for another year he'll have a chance to be a team leader and continue to develop as a young man. If he goes pro he'll have many opportunities as well. Hopefully he's happy in the long run with whatever decision he makes and does what's best for himself and his family.

dylans 9 years, 6 months ago

I hope he comes back, but only if it's because Ben wants to and not because he was injured (i.e. Rush).

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