Saturday, August 17, 2013

NBA rookie McLemore assists at Self camp

Former Kansas University player Ben McLemore eliminates Dakota Marriott, 17, Smithville, Mo., during game of knockout as other campers watch during the Bill Self basketball camp Saturday.

Former Kansas University player Ben McLemore eliminates Dakota Marriott, 17, Smithville, Mo., during game of knockout as other campers watch during the Bill Self basketball camp Saturday.



Eleven-year-old Chris Fields waits for his turn to shoot as he and former Kansas University player Ben McLemore duel it out in a game of knockout as other campers watch during the Bill Self basketball camp Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Ben McLemore, who had hoped to be selected first or second, but slipped to seventh overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, carries some added motivation into his first pro season.

“I feel I come in with a chip on my shoulder,” former Kansas University guard McLemore, top pick of the Sacramento Kings in the June draft, said Saturday at the Bill Self Basketball Pro Camp for youths in Allen Fieldhouse. He is working the camp with former KU forward Thomas Robinson of the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I feel I’ve been through a lot. I feel I am going to work hard to get Rookie of the Year. I know the mindset I’m going to come in and show everybody I could be the alpha dog and win that Rookie of the Year. I’m definitely going to work hard to get that,” McLemore added.

Someday, he hopes to make NBA franchises Cleveland, Orlando, Washington, Charlotte, Phoenix and New Orleans regret not selecting him with their first picks.

“I’ve got to help my team win games and be a leader,” the 6-foot-5 guard said. “That’s the main thing is being a leader to a team with a lot of older guys and me, understand my role and be a spark.”

He believes he learned a lot about leadership at the recent week-long NBA Rookie Transition Program in New Jersey.

“I enjoyed the whole process, getting a bonding relationship with all my draft class,” he said, noting he especially enjoyed a speech from the Brooklyn Nets’ Jerry Stackhouse at the program, designed to teach the players about how to handle all the demands of the NBA.

“I learned so much there and definitely I could also inspire a lot of people,” added McLemore, who grew up in poverty in St. Louis.

Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves was actually dismissed from the program for violating a rule and allegedly bringing a female guest into his hotel room.

“Very disappointing,” McLemore said, asked his reaction. “After they (were) telling us the rules, what not to do, for him to do that ... it’s just unbelievable after they just explained the different rules to us.

“Hopefully he’ll learn from his mistakes. Hopefully that won’t stop him from being the basketball player who he is, just keep playing, going with his career.”

Since the early-August transition program, McLemore has been shopping for a house for his mother “somewhere outside of St. Louis” and also a house or condo where he’ll live in Sacramento. He didn’t want to miss the opportunity to attend Self’s camp in Lawrence.

“Coach Self ... after I entered the draft he said he’d love for me to come back and work his camp. I told him I would and I’m here,” he said. “The beauty of it is getting to know different types of kids and having fun with the kids. That’s the type of person I am. I like to have fun, enjoy myself and interact with kids.

“I love coming back here,” added McLemore, who turned pro after his red-shirt freshman season. “There’s nothing (better) than coming back to Lawrence, having all your fans and friends here supporting you all the way. Being back and being able to be around coach Self is a blessing. I loved my time being here with coach Self and being coached by him.”

He said next year’s hot NBA prospect, freshman Andrew Wiggins, also will benefit from working with KU’s coaches.

“I met him when he first got here (June). We played pickup and stuff. He was nice,” McLemore said. “It’s a great opportunity for him picking KU. He’s in a perfect spot with coach Self.”


Scott Smetana 9 years, 1 month ago

Shabazz was such a bust for UCLA. From what I've read, their fans couldn't stand the ball hog. I see he's still making them proud.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 1 month ago

I believe Mario and Michael Beasley also were dismissed from the transition program. Unlike Mario who matured, Muhammad will always be about Muhammad and will be a bust. Glad he chose not to come to KU.

JayDocMD 9 years, 1 month ago

Arthur was also dismissed along with Mario and Michael "Bong" Beasley

KansasComet 9 years, 1 month ago

True leaders when the chips are down. Alpha Dogs in the Self Era:

Chalmers Collins Authur Johnson Langford Simien

Are there any other players that wanted the ball during crunch time?

Jim Tebow 9 years, 1 month ago

ccarp, Is that a joke? McLemore's major flaw was that he was the exact opposite of the guy who wanted the ball and thrived in crunch time. I'd say no on Robinson too. Taylor, yes. He was the guy on the 11-12 team that was going to take the last second shot.

REHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Welcome home, Ben. If you should eventually clock the career dollars of Pierce, Manning, Hinrich, Gooden, Collison, please buy a Lawrence condo so as to spend your retirement years near the program. You did us up proud.

DDDHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Ben, thanks for being such a class act, and for representing KU so well!

KansasComet 9 years, 1 month ago

Great to see these young men choosing a school to not only go to, but to come back to!

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Understand I don't want Self to leave, but...

If he ever were to, then:

a) I hope he gathers up all his former players and wins a ring with them; and

b) comes back the way the players come back.

Rock Chalk!

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

I don't know that Bill Self would want to cast a shadow over the new KU Head Coach, though he may be able to continue to have an off-season bball camp or the Basketball Boogie without invading the new coach's space. I think that we can all agree that if he is coaching in the NBA then he won't be attending any KU basketball games.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

How much time Bill would spend in Lawrence if he leaves for the NBA would depend on who his successor is. If it's someone like Townsend or Howard, then I could absolutely see Bill making the occasional cameo at the Phog. If it's someone who Bill doesn't have ties to, I think we may only see him on the anniversaries of the 2008 title team in the near future of him leaving. I could also see him pulling a Larry Brown and srart hanging around the program a lot when his coaching days appear to be over.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

BMac is kinda like a breath of fresh air. It may be in part due to his youthful naivete, but he just seems to know when to listen, when to talk, and what not to say. He wants to be coached not only in basketball but also in life. Hopefully he doesn't allow himself to be pulled down by his peers, but he continues to conduct himself like a great teammate and an extremely coachable individual.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

Funny comment from BMac about Wiggins, "He was nice."

Please McLemore, explain what you mean by nice. Just that he was personable? Was his game "nice?" Is nice like "the good bad?" Did he has a nice shooting stroke? Nice ball-handling? Court vision? Passing? D?

I think that I'm glad that Wiggins is "nice", I just hope that it means that he is "mean" when it comes to crunch time.

Brandon Deines 9 years, 1 month ago

Is camp still going this week? Is there a scrimmage on Wednesday?

Sally Presson 9 years, 1 month ago

Oh, my I can't bear to think of Coach going to the NBA. Ben, thanks for coming back and inspiring the young kids. Good luck this coming year and I hope you get rookie of the year!!

Rock Chalk

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