Friday, July 13, 2012


Morningstar: KU high-flier McLemore the ‘spitting image’ of Brandon Rush

High-flying Kansas University swingman Ben McLemore, right, has drawn comparisons to former KU star Brandon Rush, left. Rush's teammate at KU, Brady Morningstar, said "Ben has a chance to be a really good player if he wants to be, because of how athletic he is and how long his arms are. ... to me they’re about the same player coming into Kansas."

High-flying Kansas University swingman Ben McLemore, right, has drawn comparisons to former KU star Brandon Rush, left. Rush's teammate at KU, Brady Morningstar, said "Ben has a chance to be a really good player if he wants to be, because of how athletic he is and how long his arms are. ... to me they’re about the same player coming into Kansas."


Pick-up basketball games mirror Big 12 action about as much as a toothache resembles a slice of berry pie with a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream on top, served by Heather Graham on roller skates on a really hot summer day.

Nobody knows that better than Brady Morningstar, former Free State High and Kansas University guard. Watching him warm up, he had the look of a scrawny wannabe. Teamed with four big-time talents and a coach holding players accountable, Morningstar reeked of glue, holding everything together, putting the ball right where it needed to go, be it into a big man’s hands on the block, in stride to a shooter, or in the hoop.

“Anybody can score a lot of points and play well in a pickup game, but you can’t judge a summer camp game or pickup game or any of that because some players play a lot better in an organized set and some players don’t play as well in an organized set,” he said.

Camp games tend to degenerate into break-away dunking competitions because players don’t get back on defense — a sin that, if committed during the season, triggers a lashing from coach Bill Self’s tongue and a seat on his bench.

“Basically, you have to wait for the season, a couple of games in, to see how comfortable they look and how they might be,” Morningstar said.

Still, like every gym rat, Morningstar can’t help but form opinions on players that he plays with and against or watches from the bleachers. He said he fully understands why Ben McLemore, who redshirted as a freshman last season, has dropped so many jaws this summer.

“He’s the spitting image of Brandon (Rush), as far as their athletic ability, body type and shooting the ball,” said Morningstar, who played for Tulsa in the NBA Developmental League last season.

Naturally, Morningstar didn’t mention another way Rush and McLemore are alike. Handling the ball is the weakest aspect of both players’ games, which means the smartest guess at a starting lineup has McLemore at small forward, not shooting guard.

“Ben has a chance to be a really good player if he wants to be, because of how athletic he is and how long his arms are,” Morningstar said. “His strength is only going to get better. I don’t know who is taller, but to me they’re about the same player coming into Kansas.”

That’s certainly exciting.

“He’s going to have a lot of dunks,” Morningstar said. “People in the crowd are going to be like, ‘Dang!’ He had one in a camp game where he just picked it up off the ground and took off from the middle of the lane and put it down. You can’t teach that. That’s stuff you’re just gifted with.”

How quickly McLemore emerges as a Rush-caliber star depends on how well he embraces the stuff you can teach.


Woody Cragg 10 years, 2 months ago

I sure hope he is! Defense will get him in or out of the lineup quickern' a jackrabbit on a date.

kellerman411 10 years, 2 months ago

He will be in the lineup basically no matter what his defense looks like. Bill loves him some defense but Ben is a must play kid. If half the stuff I have heard is true, we're looking at maybe the best to ever play for Bill Self.

Robert Brock 10 years, 2 months ago

That opening paragraph could land Keegan a job with the Topeka Capitol-Journal.

KUbsee69 10 years, 2 months ago

Nah ... he didn't say what kind of berries or what type of vanilla ice cream.

kwahyajjj 10 years, 2 months ago

I read the first sentence, then thought wth? Looked up and saw Keegan's name. That's about right.

David Hewitt 10 years, 2 months ago

I think this is the first time I've ever seen anyone use "reeked" as a compliment. Apparently Morningstar is a reeking rat.

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 2 months ago

Why? I thought he was going for something horribly painful compared with something good. A cavity may cause you grief because you have to go to the dentist, but many aren't painful.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't really "get" Keegan, but for me, waking up and starting my day with the Heather Graham on roller skates movie set me up for a pretty great day!!! Best roller skating scene in movie history, and I grew up in the '80s, so I can assure you there have been plenty!

Lance Hobson 10 years, 2 months ago

As opposed to you, who has never won anything and never will.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 2 months ago

I posted a couple of weeks ago that a writer actually has B-Mac as the No. 5 pick in next year's draft.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 2 months ago

Withey #18 EJ #40 something I still don't buy that EJ isn't a PG. He may not be an Aaron Miles/Jacque Vaughn assistmachine (w/o a shot), but he really started to take off late in the season when CS had him bring the ball up court and initiate the O. I think he's going to be great, and really surprise a lot of folks this year.

milehighhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Weird intro....again. Keegs is firmly in Dennis Miller territory for odd comments only a slice of readers would find humorous.

Chris Bailey 10 years, 2 months ago

Please don't compare Dennis Miller to Keagan! Dennis Miller is actually funny!

RJ King 10 years, 2 months ago

In the words of Paul Simon:

"One man's ceiling is another man's floor."

FlashyThundercat 10 years, 2 months ago

I agree. He's one of the worst writers that I read on a consistent basis. I wish he would get fired.

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 2 months ago

Heard a ton about the kid...Anxious to see what he has in a college game situation.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 2 months ago

Looks like Nick Krug's detractors may have been onto something after all. Nick, you must not have been able to get shots of left handed dunkers, since you only shoot your pictures from that spot, right? Weren't Langford and Julian Wright lefties? I guess we only saw them from behind when they dunked! How about posting some pics to prove me wrong?

Freedman Moor 10 years, 2 months ago

I truly pray that McLemore doesn't see this.

Cameron Schienebeck 10 years, 2 months ago

Big Tom goes Boogie Nights to start the story. The visualization of Heather Graham in roller skates lost me through most of the story. I'll have to reread.

dtdjayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Who do you guys think Bill Self has going against each other 5 on 5 in practices/scrimmages this summer?

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

The four seniors and McLemore agasinst everyone else!!

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Great impact lead, Tom!

Readers experience two kinds of pain: the pain of not being challenged and the pain of being challenged.

Most of the time a pro has to stay in their sweet spots between the two extremes. But it is a good thing for the the writer to write a great lead that makes them ache on the way to new brain function. They will complain but it will make them better. Bitching and complaining is part of all getting better.

Writing great leads that challenge readers helps readers get better at reading.

Again, there are two kinds of reader pain.

The pain of not being challenged comes from the tedium of reburning the same neural nets endlessly. It manifests as the whining, bored child misbehaving in search of stimulation, which it gets in a negative way via discipline. What it needs is more challenges, more learning, more accomplishment, more growth, more getting better.

The pain of being challenged, as your lead does, manifests as bitching and complaining, as wondering where our leader is taking us, as wondering if we have it in us to get that much better.

Your lead draws the latter out of readers.

Your lead betrays the gifted writer in you.

Your lead made me a little better reader.

I know you have to stay in the sweet in between for commercial and professional reasons a significant amount of the time, as Bill Self has to stay down-the-middle in the high low offense much of the time. I know your writing has exhibit the hard, grinding work of clarity as its starting point, just as the hard, grinding pursuit of defense on a Self team has to start the offense. But all of this finally is foundation for making the impact sentence, just as everything in Self Ball builds to the impact play.

Ted Hume 10 years, 2 months ago

for those who appreciate the intellect, artistry and elegance of a good jaybate post, the challenge offered makes us a little better; it re-wires the neural networks in a positive way; it reminds us of long lost readings of Whitman or a forgotten, brilliant moment from The Waste Land, or that there are myriad new ways of re-evaluating or contemplating a Bill Self strategy or lineup in ways that lead to fresh dimensions. But if it's not your cup of tea, Gramps, a simple solution: skip the post. Ahh, simplicity...

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Thanks tHume.

Dear kugrampy, obviously I did not repeat myself enough for you, or you would not post the way you did. :-)

Dan Harris 10 years, 2 months ago

J-Bate- I usually enjoy your posts if under 1000 words but that one was just plain old Paaaiiinnnfffuuulll!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

I may be the only poster who saw Ben play in high school here in St.Louis, but I want to emphasize, I have never over-blown BMac's potential for greatness. His upside is HUGE!!

In retrospect, and this may sound crazy, but I think the red shirt year that Ben had to endure will pay big-time dividends for him and for Kansas nation.

He has learned to understand that he may need to be a little more selfish to help the team. This great kid is going to explode onto the scene this season and, I also predict, that Perry Ellis will be right there with him.

Kansas will have two of the most dynamic frosh in all of America 2012-2013

PS: The best thing about Heather Graham??........She has taken her clothes off in EVERY MOVIE she has ever appeared in!!!

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Is this a case where the exception proves the rule? :-)

Lance Hobson 10 years, 2 months ago

Did you see her in The Hangover? She still has it.

tical523 10 years, 2 months ago

I have watched B Mac play and he is much more explosive and can finish in traffic / on fast breaks much better than B Rush did. I loved Rush but was always taken back how he never could learn to handle the ball even average for a guard. When Rush was on a fast break with the ball it was never pretty and especially not pretty from the left side. This kid B Mac is an absolute stud and finishes in traffic / on fast breaks as often as Kenny Gregory did (either 2 points or foul). I would compare Andrew White to B Rush all day though. After saying all of this I love B Rush. . . one of my favorite Hawks ever, but just my opinion.

Alex Resnik 10 years, 2 months ago

I never really understood that either, but he does have that one arm that is shorter than the other, so maybe that's one of the reasons? Lord knows he could shoot and defend, but why he never completely rounded out his game is beyond me

Mick Allen 10 years, 2 months ago

I agree with your analysis of McLemore's game. I am fortunate enough to be able to attend basketball practices and saw him play 4 or5 times last winter and spring. He is explosive and finishes well with either hand. He handles the ball better than B Rush, but that is the area of his game that would appear to need the most attention. I believe he is even more athletic than B Rush and that obviously is saying a lot. He certainly has the physical tools to be a lock down defender if he buys in and as we all know if he doesn't, he will have trouble with coach Self. NBA distance as a 3 point shooter.

kujeeper 10 years, 2 months ago

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

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 2 months ago

Graduated from where? If it was KU, it is unlikely they even knew each other. I graduated with a lot of well-known people who have actually never heard of me.

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 2 months ago

Yes, Brady is the dude, but the ljw staff deletes posts that make this claim, apparently... or they did last week. Maybe now that it is headlining on the ESPN front page they'll allow legit discussion of the topic. Not that I think its a big deal. Brady is a known pot smoker around Lawrence. Nothing to be ashamed of...

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

Has anyone heard of a Detrick Mostella, a four star guard for 2013 coming to visit KU??

How dare Coach Bill not consult us first!!!

Mike Hart 10 years, 2 months ago

I need a nap after I finally stay awake long enough to read through just one of Jaybate's long-winded posts. is it really necessary to say in 500 words what could have been said in 50? It's a community messageboard, not an on-campus lecture with an endless monologue.

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

I recommend it: a long nap. See ya in November.

Ted Hume 10 years, 2 months ago

see Gramps above, re: simplicity.... :)

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

It's been said (often) before, but hey, it's a slow news day, so here goes again. Like the doc tells the old man who says, "It hurts when I raise my arm over my head." "If too painful, just don't do it." Would seem to apply well to anyone who faces anguish or bowel trouble over the reading of long or complicated posts.

RJ King 10 years, 2 months ago

I need to hold a warm puppy after I read through just one of mhart's piss and moan posts.

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

If true that Ben's ballhandling weakness might move him to the 3 for lots of minutes this season, then we might have to rethink the 1-2 slots (as well as Travis' minutes, wherever). Will Naadir have made a Russ Rob offseason of improvement? Will White or Doyle step up quickly to earn important relief minutes? Can Travis play the occasional 2? The European jaunt is indeed a major plus for the coaching staff to film, study and unravel possible combos. One thing for certain, this squad will need Travis Releford's defense...and fifth year smarts. Though this is a very different team from last season, his neurons glow with Bill Self-ball, just as did Teahan's last season, and Reed's and Morningstar's the year before. And Travis appears to possess more senior upside than any of those skilled players, each of whom collected 4 or 5 league rings.

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I meant to say, will ADAMS or White or Doyle. Sorry, Rio. I certainly am not counting you out of the current puzzle.

Jesse Johnson 10 years, 2 months ago

I think this is an interesting comparison because I also think Ben McLemore kind of looks like Brandon's older brother Kareem.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 2 months ago

Honestly, this comparison is kinda what I expected for BMac. He will need to score a lot (might even need to lead the team in that category like Rush did for 3 straight years) and play great defense. I can't wait to see this kid play in crimson and blue.

Jeff Suther 10 years, 2 months ago

From what everyone has said there is no chance bmac can play the 2. Does this take releford out of the starting lineup?

HawkKlaw 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't think Self will worry about labeling whoever starts at the 2 or 3. The three starting guards are going to be EJ, Travis and BMac. EJ is clearly the favorite at the PG spot, so he (and sometimes Travis) will probably be bringing the ball up the court. I don't think Self will have BMac out there for his ball-handling skills, but rather for his scoring.

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 2 months ago

B Mac is more athletic of the two, finish in traffic with either hand equally well. It remains to be seen about his mid-range and long-range shootings during tight games. B Rush shoots well beyond the arc with better than average consistency, good rebounder for a small forward, we'll see about B Mac.

We're lucky to have both of them.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Brandon Rush may not have had a good left hand on the bounce, but he could shoot 40% plus from trey, cram down lobs, go get a basket when the guys on Mario and Sherron we to L&A for them to create on, and, oh, yeah, Brandon could and pick up other persons messes on defense at the 2, 3 and 4 positions.

KU has never had another player that could guard the opposing team's best player at 2, 3, or 4 positions and do the best job of anyone on the KU team of guarding the guys at those positions.

Brandon Rush carried the team on his back scoring his freshmen season.

Brandon Rush became the hub of every team he played on at KU and in the process was the lynch pin for a team that played through him mostly one season, mostly through he and Mario one season, and through all five positions his last two season.

Brandon Rush came back from a knee injury and carried his team to a national championship.

Brandon Rush, not any of those super stars Self had at Illinois carried Self to his first and only ring so far.

Brandon Rush is one of KU's greatest players.

Brandon Rush did super human things and made it all look easy.

Brandon Rush was the King of KU Kool Jazz Quintent.

Brandon Rush needs a jersey in the rafters.

BenMac has not played a game in the school silks yet.

BenMac's time is coming.

BenMac is probably going to be a great player, but he is never going to be a Brandon Rush.

BenMac is never going to go on the blocks and stop a 4, or else BenMac just grew a few inches and added a few inches of chest circumference that have not yet been noted in the roster.

BenMac is going to have problems from time to time guarding the 3.

Brandon may play the 3, when Self needs guns on both wings to clear it out for Jeff and Perry inside one on one, but I just do not think this comparison with Brandon Rush plays.

I want BenMac at the 2.

I want him there, because I have always wanted to see Self's offense with a really great true 2 and I've wanted this ever since I saw what Aaron Afflalo could do to Mario Chalmers at the two.

I thought EJ would be that true 2 last season, and he might have been had he not gotten ligamentis operatus deferitus.

But Ben Mac is a pure 2 guard, even if he plays the 3 some, while he sharpens up his pumpkin pounding.

Brandon Young is greatness fulfilled at the 3.

BenMac is potential greatness at the 2.

Leave us not put carts before thoroughbreds.

Put the cart behind BenMac where it belongs, and let him pull it into his own greatness, whatever form that may take.

John Randall 10 years, 2 months ago

Only one of the three players you call Brandon is really named Brandon.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't think anyone would disagree with you about BMac not having accomplished what BRush did at KU. Rush is, and always will be, one of my all time favorite Jayhawks. But the whole premise of the article is that BMac is the spitting image of BRush coming into college, not the spitting image of BRush right now. Let's give BMac some time (three years please!) and let's just hope that he can accomplish a few of those things (namely, the National Championship) that Rush did while at KU.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

Jeff Withey came into Kansas as a PT Boat and he will leave Kansas as a Battleship.

Admiral A, Hudey continues to work her magic.

[I almost use the term "Rear-Admiral" but I figured if I used that term and I ever met Andrea, she'd punch my lights out!!]

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Just don't enter a bench press competition with her, even if she has torn upper body muscles!

Steve Gantz 10 years, 2 months ago

The other day Anrio Adams was the next Dwayne Wade, now we've got the next Brandon Rush, I guess we're going to have a pretty good team for the next few years.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 2 months ago

Brady may have stumbled onto something with his comparison. BMac is from Missouri, BRush is from Missouri. Does anybody have a family tree on these two? Seperated at birth? Or, "Papa was a rolling stone"? I'm just thinkin'!

Ben Simonett 10 years, 2 months ago

Finally an article thats not just hype to placate to the fan base.

Athletically, Mclemore is the best prospect to come through the program since Rush.

REHawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Looks as though Travis and Ben might be focusing on ball handling skills this month. Bill Self certainly has access to quickness and height this season, esp. among players who spend most time on the ball. Naadir needs to show up as a ball control, passing and lobbing wizard.

Mike Hart 10 years, 2 months ago

Rush's career was not legendary at KU. There were MANY games that he would simply disappear. He sometimes struggled to create his own shot. A great talent, but he was one of the more frustrating "Stars" at KU for me to watch over the years.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 2 months ago

I agree that there were times when Rush was on the squad that I would look at the score, KU down by whatever margin, and wonder, "Where is Brandon Rush?" Then I'd look at the stats and he'd be leading the team with 15 points.

He quietly lead the team in scoring every year that he played at KU, not to mention he was arguably the best defender on the team those three years as well (usually guarding the opposing team's best player, I might add). Any time a player does that at a school like Kansas, you can consider said player's college career to be pretty high on the "legendary" scale. Maybe not as legendary as Wilt or Danny, but worthy of having his jersey hung in the rafters nonetheless.

TexasHawk44 10 years, 2 months ago

Whitman? As in Walt Whitman? What a farce! I think you meant Jaybate is like Mr. Whipple squeezing the Charmin- that is about what his posts would be good for - a good wipe...

rastameta 10 years, 2 months ago

This site really does have lazy, unrealized articles. Put a little bit of effort into this article and it could be decent. I honestly don't think I can read another article written by a Mizzou or Marquette graduate! Who's worse, Stephen A. Smith, Jim Rome, JT the Brick, or Tom Keegan?

TexasHawk44 10 years, 2 months ago

Rasta eta: Well this site certainly has lazy, unrealized posters. I have never seen a column or article on this site from Stephen A. Smith, Jim Rome or J.T. "The Brick".. Ever. Smith was educated at Winston-Salem State, Rome at U.C. Santa Barbara and I am not sure if J.T.even attended JUCO. Keegan did graduate from Marquette, and that has exactly what bearing?

I have no idea how your "unrealized" post could so randomly throw these odds and ends into one thought and hope to have a logical outcome.
These other people are 1) not Missouri graduates; 2) not all sports writers; 3) don't write for the LJW; 4) don't specifically cover KU sports; 5) are undoubtably more talented and more successful at their craft than you. Where is your Journalism degree from? Mine is proudly from the University of Kansas.

And for the record, while I cannot stand the Missouri Tigers sports teams, Missouri has an outstanding, Top 5 ranked Journalism school.

So before you climb on your "high horse", take care that you are not, in truth, clambering atop a Shetland pony.

wildjayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Tom, Morningstar was a joke, he couldn't play, shoot, or guard. A total ignorant stupid jerk. He shouldn't have been on the team and it showed.

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