Monday, March 4, 2013


Opinion: Goodbye, Ben McLemore; hello, Andrew Wiggins?


Ben McLemore plays his 17th and final game in Allen Fieldhouse tonight, a freshman on Senior Night and the best player in the building, with the possible exception of his potential replacement, visiting recruit Andrew Wiggins.

Too in demand to play more than one season of college basketball, McLemore certainly has made the most of it and plays as if he relishes every Allen Fieldhouse moment.

You get out of something what you put into it, and to get an idea of how deeply invested McLemore has been in his one season as a college basketball player, consider what he will take from it.

For starters, he has made friends for life in his teammates. He has become more comfortable speaking in public, his game has improved to the extent he ranks No. 1 on many NBA Draft projections, and he has a legitimate shot to help his team win a national championship.

Plus, he’ll have no shortage of fieldhouse memories keeping him company forever. McLemore scored 33 points in the Iowa State game he sent into overtime by banking in a three-pointer. He torched Kansas State for 30 points in a blowout of Big 12 co-leaders, and he broke Danny Manning’s freshman school record with 36 points Saturday against West Virginia.

That’s 99 points in three games in which he attempted just a combined 40 field goals, making 31. He hit 17 of 23 threes and 20 of 22 free throws.

In 16 games in Allen Fieldhouse, McLemore has averaged 19.3 points, shot 53 percent overall and 49 percent from three-point range.

In nine true road games, McLemore has averaged 12.9 points and shot 44 percent overall and 28 percent from three, despite a strong game in the first one, at Ohio State.

But his road blues don’t qualify as cause for panic. Kansas has played four games on courts that were neither team’s regular home, three at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, one in Atlanta, against Michigan State. In those games, McLemore has averaged 14.3 points, shot 52 percent both overall and from three-point range. KU’s first two NCAA Tournament games likely will be played in the Sprint Center.

Besides, far more than the site of Saturday’s game influenced McLemore’s scoring outburst.

“He did a good job reading screens today, but we also did a good job screening for him,” KU coach Bill Self said.

“... We ran some stuff to make sure to give Ben the first opportunity to get some looks. We need to probably do more of that. We’ve done it, but he’s starting to understand more how to free himself.”

It’s quite possible the No. 1 overall picks in the next two NBA drafts will be in attendance tonight. If Wiggins likes what he sees and decides to come to Kansas, that would give the Jayhawks, who haven’t had the No. 1 overall selection since Manning in 1988, two in a row. Wiggins, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing, tops all the 2014 NBA Draft projections.


Robert Rauktis 9 years, 9 months ago

I hope Ben forgets they play the tournament on the road.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

They play tournament games on a neutral court and Ben is shooting 52% from the field on neutral floors according to this article.

VaJay 9 years, 9 months ago

I hope our fans try enjoy every moment watching this fabulous kid & not look for every opportunity to nitpick...

741hawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Two things we know . . . . 1) Ben still has some parts of his game to work on. 2) He can't turn down the money as a top draft choice in the NBA.

Worthy of conversation. Possibly worthy of some research: Using KU players in the NBA (limited sample, I know), it seems to me that those who stay in college three of four years might make a lot more career money than those who go after their first year.

Pierce, LaFrentz, Henrich, Gooden, Collison stayed three and four years. Won't they make more money in their careers than Selby, Henry and Julian Wright, for example, who took the initial money, but were incomplete players when they did?

Once you are in the NBA, it is very difficult to develop. Hotel rooms are many, practices are few, and if you aren't playing a lot, you get even less practice time.

Just thinkin'. The question being, would Ben make more money, in the long run, by staying another year?

Buehler? Anyone? Anyone?

JayHok 9 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely without question true. MJ for instance said he never would have been half the NBA player he eventually became without three years of college. With MJ let's say he left UNC early and flopped in the NBA year two at age 20 and quits basketball. That's $5,000,000,000 (billion) he would not have made in his life if you include all the endorsements that came along with MJ.

Robin Smith 9 years, 9 months ago

I agree completely.

I know many guys have dreamed of the NBA that getting the chance to make it by getting drafted seems like a chance that might sail away, and rightfully so, but if I were in their position I would be much more concerned with being ready to actually make it in the NBA.

For Ben, however, the opportunity to get drafted in the lottery means getting a commitment from a team to give you a chance, and he appears capable of performing in the NBA as he is, such that he could contribute and survive.

On the other hand, most of the greatest minds of the higher echelons of basketball are coaching in college, and it would make plenty of sense to want to be developed to the highest point so that you can really compete with the world's best.

Obviously there is the chance for a bad injury, but the vast majority of guys make it through multiple years without sustaining such an injury. We've also seen players like Rush who do sustain severe injuries and still make it.

I personally do feel Ben would benefit in the long run to stay at least one more year, and learn to be an attacking force to go with his lethal shooting. The risks are there, but he would be well taken care of were any injury to happen (unlike many instances in the business of the NBA) and I think ultimately it's quite a slim chance that anything would keep him from being drafted.

I also place a high high premium on meaningful life experiences because life is short and college happens to be one of those experiences I would never pass up. Countless are my peers who wish they'd made more of their time or if they had just taken the time to fully appreciate what it is they had while being in college.

I doubt he's going to come back, but I hope he does and not just for my own selfish enjoyment. I hope all young people, no matter which path they choose, will know that there is plenty of time to grow up and to take the long view and never sacrifice their youth if they can avoid it. We hear so many of our former players saying that they wouldn't trade their time in college for anything and I think that feeling only grows the older you get.

Debbie Mangen 9 years, 9 months ago

Go back and watch Jacque Vaughn's, "road less taken" speech, Ben.

actorman 9 years, 9 months ago

That's easy for us to advise him about, but with all that he's had to grow up with, let's all just wish him the best and feel good for him that he'll be able to take care of his family.

It's great to at least know that he will have had a tremendous impact during his short time on Mt. Oread.

Joseph Bullock 9 years, 9 months ago

I have been saying the same thing on different forums. Ben Absolutely needs one more year. It will serve him extremely well, in the long run. I know his family needs the money, but if they really care about him (and I know they do), they will encourage him to stay for another year. If they have gone this long without, then one more year (that will mean so much more), won't hurt Ben, or them, at all, and it will only help their situation!

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Ain't gonna happen.

Much as I would like for it to.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

No Ben would not make as much because as good as he is this year, the only reason he's projected as a possible #1 pick is because this is a fairly weak draft class whereas next year is projected to be one of the stronger classes in recent history and McLemore could improve and still not be a top 5 pick in next year's draft.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

I think you missed the point. It's not about him being the number 1, number 5 or the number 14 pick. It's about long term success, and if he'd have a better chance at it with another year or not. Personally, I believe he has some things he could absolutely develop by staying a second year. I think either way he will have a long NBA career (barring injury), but I think he would be a much better player if he gave it another year. I see him in a very similar light as Blake Griffin. Griffin knew he needed another year to mature and look how it paid off for him.

Regardless, though, this is a moot discussion as Ben will be in the NBA draft and picked 1st or 2nd this year.

Nikki May 9 years, 9 months ago

Where he is drafted does matter. They only guarantee contracts for first round picks. Also, the higher the pick, usually the more money. I'm not saying the #30 pick "only" making $850,000 is bad, but what if you are #31? You may get nothing. I get him leaving. I'd like him to stay, but I get it.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

There is virtually little difference in the contract when you are drafted in the lottery (1st vs. 14th isn't much of a monetary change), but, again, it isn't about that. As I said, the guy will likely have a long NBA career either way. 741's main point was he could be more mature and polished and, therefore, be a more successful player (thus, earning much larger contracts down the line) if he put in a little more time in college.

Just like you, I totally get why he's gonna go. But I'd also completely get it if he stayed. Just like I understood when Blake Griffin stayed.

sm5561 9 years, 9 months ago

Actually, if I'm understanding the NBA rookie salary scale correctly the difference between 1st and 14th is about $2.7 million per year for 4 years [1]. It wouldn't be until his 5th year that any benefit of having a more rounded game from an extra year in college would pay off in terms of salary. Sadly, I don't see any reason for him to stay another year.


Kevin Huffman 9 years, 9 months ago

Ummmm....and an NBA team that takes him won't care about him developing?!?!?!?! Sorry, but that's ludicrous. If ANYTHING they'd be even MORE invested in him developing & with less other distractions around.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Yes, because I said the NBA team that drafted him wouldn't care about him developing.....

Do yourself a favor. Look up the term "straw man."

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 9 months ago

You'd think so, but very few NBA franchises have shown any ability or inclination to "develop" raw young players, certainly not lottery teams. It's not like he'll be getting drafted by Gregg Popovich.

90sHawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Ben isn't a "raw young player". This description applies to someone like Traylor, but not Ben

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 9 months ago

Sure he's raw. He's been inconsistent even at the college level, so you can bet he's going to have some serious growing pains in the NBA. That doesn't mean I would advise him to stay in college, but let's not kid ourselves here.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

The second contract is the most important one to an NBA player. Ben going top 3 will end up in a situation where he can play immediately and show NBA teams what a great shooter he is and that will get him an 8 figure salary per year on his second contract for a contender or close to, if not, a max deal for a bad team if he chooses.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 9 months ago

Agreed!!!! Who knows if he'd even be top 5 next year with the likes of Randle, Wiggins, the Harrisons, A. Gordon...heck, the way Marcus Lee's looking he could catapult up there!!!

Steve Corder 9 years, 9 months ago

He sure can turn down the money. Pardon the unpardonable, but who says every word that comes out from ESPN, Larry Brown and others is unquestionably and indubitably without error every single time they open there celebrity gilded mouths?

niemoth 9 years, 9 months ago

players have different skill sets and can't compare McLemore with other Kansas players who leave early. There are just as many examples of players out there who did leave early and were successful in the NBA from other schools (should D Rose have stayed). Selby was a 2nd rounder and there is no guaranteed contract there. Plus when you are at the top of the 1st round, you will get to go to a bad team and will get a lot of playing time. He will be successful in the NBA especially when there are other players on the team that the defense prepares for 1st. Right now a team prepares to stop McLemore first when they play Kansas. In the NBA they will prepare for someone else and his stroke will be knocking shots down left and right. Yes, he can get better, but he will have that ability in the NBA. Other players like Selby are too far down on the depth chart and don't get the ability.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 9 months ago

"you get even less practice time"

Maybe with the team during the season ("Practice? Are we talking about practice?"), but there are others that talk about how you have even more practice time in the NBA, because the NBA does not put restrictions on how much you can practice. It is what you make of it.

If we're talking about the difference between $5M and $50M, it is good to keep in mind that the latter is not nearly as important as the former when you are coming from nothing.

actorman 9 years, 9 months ago

"If we're talking about the difference between $5M and $50M, it is good to keep in mind that the latter is not nearly as important as the former when you are coming from nothing."

Beautifully said, dagger.

jayloco 9 years, 9 months ago

Thank you dagger, for getting in my head and taking my thought, although you put it much more eloquently. When you have nothing, 5 million may be all you ever need to fulfill your every wish and dream. To ask a family living in poverty with nothing to chance one more year to hone your skills is just a risk that I would not personally take. Go get yours Ben. We enjoyed your one year and if that is all we get so be it. The providing for your family story wins out every time folks. Regardless of how much money you leave on the table...

Steve Reigle 9 years, 9 months ago

I don't know how to answer that question as my crystal ball has a dead battery. :) However, I think Ben wants to stay in school but feels obligated to provide a better life for his family. His mother is unemployed. Can't fault a guy for that. However, it may come down to how much his mother wants him to stay in school. I'll be surprised if he stays, but very pleasantly surprised. He's not only a great player, he's a terrific young man and a great ambassador for the school.

Debbie Mangen 9 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know if his mother is still in St. Louis or if she moved to Lawrence? If she is in Lawrence, why is she unemployed? Tyshawn Taylor's mother worked as a grocery clerk for a local store. Does he have young brothers and sisters at home? We always hear that she is unemployed, but not much else.

Joseph Bullock 9 years, 9 months ago

PS: One year wonder, Josh Selby, just got cut by the Cavs!!!!!!! O bet he now wishes he would have come back and played at least one more year. All I can say to Ben is: ONE MORE YEAR!

Steve Zimmerman 9 years, 9 months ago

Not all basketball players were born the same. I believe McLemore will do just fine in the NBA. He is different. He is more mature, physically NBA-ready, and possesses skills that Selby doesn't. McLemore is also healthy in general.

I really hope we could land Wiggins. He'll be a great addition - no matter we really need him or not (Randle).

hawkfan30 9 years, 9 months ago

What you forget is Selby was a true one and done...McLemore practiced last year...he's technically a second year player. He is more mature than either Selby or X. This kid will be fine. He is much more talented than Selby.

Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 9 months ago

Trueblue, have you read the USA Today article about Ben's family situation? It is dire poverty, and his family's need for his financial support is real and present. He will go and we should not worry about his longterm prospects, I think, because he knows full well how to apply himself and continue to improve his game.
Ben is a remarkable young man, beyond his enormous basketball skills, and it has been a joy to watch him grow in confidence these last few months.

Thanks for being a Jayhawk Ben, and we will always pull for you and your family no matter where you play!

Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!!!

greykatz 9 years, 9 months ago

You know, that's something I've wondered about, too. Tats don't come cheaply, yet so many of these college kids are loaded down with them. Are they "gifts" from the tat artists?

Rick Arnoldy 9 years, 9 months ago

Legit question. Just ask Ohio State and Jim Tressel.

greykatz 9 years, 9 months ago

I'm not agreeing that tats are "jailhouse." To each his own. Just thinking that they must cost a lot of money. Heck, when I was a college kid back in the Dark Ages, I admit, I worked three parttime jobs, bought clothes at the Salvation Army, and was happy to be able to afford a tank of gas in my VW Beetle once a month. Don't see how kids these days afford all the "extras." Not just tats but all the electronic gizmos, too. IPads, Ipods, Blackberrys, whatever the heck you call them. It's just a different day and age, I guess.

Priest Fontaine 9 years, 9 months ago

the tatoo artists give them for free. Their work is shown on national TV a couple times a week. It's like free advertising. Plus, the local tatoo artists are probably big fans and get to become friends with the players. Make sense?

nostradavid 9 years, 9 months ago

While watching the highlights on the Bill Self show tonight, I thought the baseline dunk Ben stuffed looked just like a young Michael Jordan. We will be watching highlights of Ben for years to come.

Wilt played volleyball and other sports, too...

Big strike zone

Big strike zone by nostradavid

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 9 months ago

"For starters, he has made friends for life in his teammates. He has become more comfortable speaking in public, his game has improved to the extent he ranks No. 1 on many NBA Draft projections, and he has a legitimate shot to help his team win a national championship."

Moreover he has two invaluable years of college coursework!

Max Kandinsky 9 years, 9 months ago

As much as I want to agree with you, as I'm an educator, really, how much does 2 years of college coursework help a kid like McLemore? He'll make more in 2 years than most of us will in our lifetime. Even if he only lasts the 2 years, he could go back and get his education (debt free). There's not much in my first 2 years of college courses that I can say really transformed my life except to ultimately help me get my degree and provide for my family.

Phil Leister 9 years, 9 months ago

I think a lot of you are forgetting that Ben is a sophomore academically. He's been in Lawrence two years, and been practicing under Self for 1.5 years. For anyone hoping for him to come back another year to develop, you're forgetting all the guys who did that and didn't get any better. He's got nothing to gain by coming back, not when the 1 or 2 pick is already his.

dylans 9 years, 9 months ago

Sully for Ohio State would've gone higher a year earlier.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

On the football side, Matt Barkley likely will be a much lower pick this year than if he had gone the year before, same with Matt Leinart had he left as a junior.

Alec White 9 years, 9 months ago

Ben is gone after this year, as he should be. He has been a blessing for our program, and our program has been a blessing for him. Let him do what he was born to do---be a professional basketball player.

mattiesdad 9 years, 9 months ago

Stayed 3+ years and made a legit impact on an NBA team (Roy/Self eras): Pierce, Gooden, Collison, Hinrich, Chalmers, Vaughn

Left after 2- and were never heard from again: Wright, X Henry, Selby, Arthur (you could argue he's had some impact, but not much)

Aldrich, Jackson, Rush, Collins stayed but have been marginal to no NBA impact. Verdict's still out on the Morris twins, T-rob, and Ty.

Who did I miss?

April13 9 years, 9 months ago

I think that Rush could be put on the other list in terms of showing some staying power. An argument could be made that Aldrich and Jackson never would have been in the league without the add'l years at KU - same goes for Withey.

The Twins and T-Rob definitely don't go as high as they did without staying. Ty probably doesn't even get drafted without last year's run to the finals.

I'm 100% behind Ben doing what he's got to do, but I think that most KU players have benefitted from staying.

jhox 9 years, 9 months ago

It's really more about the player than how many years they spent in college. Kobi Bryant went straight out of high school. He's done pretty well for himself. Same for LeBron, Kevin Garnett, etc. I am confident Paul Pierce would have had an equally great career if he had left college after one year.

Selby definitely would have benefitted from another year or two of college, but he wasn't the elite talent like the guys mentioned above, or like Ben is for that matter. As long as he doesn't have a career threatening injury, Ben will have a long NBA career whether he leaves this year (which he absolutely should) or later.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 9 months ago

Darrell has been doing great since he's healed up. He'll definitely be an impact player. BRush has done fantastic. Your assesment of those two is way off. Also, Vaughn didn't do squat although he was last on the bench and earned some $$$. But as far as impact he didn't do anything. The twins will definitely be game changers and the verdict is still out on Tyshawn and am hopeful for TRob.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 9 months ago

A bit harsh on Vaughn. Backup PG for numerous successful years for the Spurs. I would argue that counted for SOMETHING..

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 9 months ago

You're absolutely right. To say he "didn't do squat" in the league is utter nonsense.

Interestingly, I think he would have been a lottery pick if he had left college after two or three years but his stock dropped his senior year. So he made less money to begin with than if he had bolted early, but would he have had the same staying power in the league if he came in with less experience? Who knows.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 9 months ago

I would argue that the verdict's still out on BOTH Arthur & Rush too.

Both have had promising moments. Rush was potentially going to steal what had seemed like it was going to be Barnes's job and then got hurt (out for the season).

Arthur missed ALL of last season and had only RECENTLY looked like he did toward the end of the '11 playoffs when he was looking like he might push for 6th man status.

I would argue that the two biggest failures and ones to make the two biggest mistakes were Wright (has to be kicking himself for missing the championship by 1 year - leaving in '07) & Selby. Selby's decision to leave was just plain MORONIC!!!! Middle 2nd rounder and had he applied himself & come back last year likely would've AT LEAST been a 1st rounder?!?!?!?! Just dumb!!! And now where is he? Out of the NBA entriely ALREADY!!!!!

lv_jhwk 9 years, 9 months ago

The problem with your argument is making any sort of comparison to the likes of Withey, Jackson, et al. They stayed longer because they didn't have much of a choice at an earlier time. Sure, Withey could have chosen to be a second-round pick last year, but that's a far cry from being a certain lotto pick. Had he been at this point with his game last year, he would have left then as well.

deepind 9 years, 9 months ago

You missed Sasha... granted he declined the NBA and joined the Russian pros where he made millions!

JayHawkJay82 9 years, 9 months ago

You left Scott Pollard off of the first list. Ostertag too if you want to go back that far.

wagg 9 years, 9 months ago

It will help Self and KU in the long run if Ben goes #1 in the draft. Self needs recruits to see that they can excel and improve their draft stock in his program and they need to see that it can be done without Manning's influence. I want to see Ben stay, but the long range implications of his draft position probably outweigh what he could accomplish by staying another year.

Steve Yeakel 9 years, 9 months ago

Andrew - Ben has shown that you can be a humble team first player who feels comfortable and appreciated and loved without being driven crazy by the attention, plus be the #1 pick in the NBA. You have found just what you are looking for here. We hope you choose to join KU.

jimmyjms 9 years, 9 months ago

Did any of you read the piece recently about Ben's background? The kid has endured poverty, and now some of you want him to turn his back on guaranteed millions?

Ben should do what's right for him. I'd love to see him wear the Crimson and Blue for another year, but he and his family are looking at a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Brian Skelly 9 years, 9 months ago

First off, that kid is going pro weather we want him to or not. If someone is going to make you a top 5 pick -- which barring a major injury at this point is assured -- there's no reason for him to stay. Banter about all one would like about the woulda, coulda, shoulda. There are valid arguments either way. To me, the fact that the new CBA is even more restrictive with the rookie/draft salary is the most outwardly valid argument against going. Odds are he'd be no worse draft list-wise next year. The injury risk is there though. And this is a weak draft, Mclemore stands out even moreso than he likely would next year. The fact that Noel can have a devastating knee injury and his projected draft slot has barley budged speaks to this years class, or lack of one. -- The argument folks make about guys who stayed longer has some merit. But id argue that all those guys were better than the guys who left early in general. Now, development has something to do with it. But those guys ceiling was higher to begin with than a lot of those other guys who left early. Lets face it. The real money comes from the second contract in the NBA usually. Or 3rd if guys are really damn good. Does anyone here think the Ben McLemore ISNT going to get a 2nd contract? Me neither.

RoyRCJHawk 9 years, 9 months ago

BMac had two (2) yrs on the Hill. The first a test of character - the second his reward for passing w/ flying colors. Nothing but love for the dude...go get the cash Ben...and who knows, maybe we'll hang a banner in memory of the ETJK&B club.

Bert Ebelskiver 9 years, 9 months ago

Mclemore goes to the NBA after this year. This incredible athlete sat as an inactive player on the bench all of last year. He has two years of college practice experience and is in no comparison to Henry and Selby. Mclemore has been a great player to watch this year and I cannot wait to see him play in the NBA. I no doubt will become a follower of whatever team he lands on. I'd like to see him and the team end this year on a fantastic run in the tournament.

Bill John 9 years, 9 months ago

Selby is a one dimensional player, just got cut by Cleveland.

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Selby was a waste of time and energy for Bill Self.

lv_jhwk 9 years, 9 months ago

Self would disagree. has said before how much he enjoyed Josh...just thought he made the wrong decision.

vd 9 years, 9 months ago

For people who think Ben should come back: Jacque Vaughn Matt Barkley Brandon Rush

Stayed and lost big $$$$$$$

lv_jhwk 9 years, 9 months ago

I like the point you are making, but Rush shouldn't be included. He was on his way out before the injury during draft workouts led him back for one more year...and a title.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

That guy - Jacque Vaughn Matt Barkley Brandon Rush - lost big $$$$$$$ because no one wanted him. Couldn't find a jersey that would fit his name.

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Let's have one more stellar performance for the fans!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 9 months ago

What many of you fail to realize is that Ben's second most desired dream is to make it to the NBA. His number one dream is to secure his family's happiness forever. He has said this several times during his Wellston bball days here in St.Louis.

Not unlike his demeanor on the court whereby he was always defering to teamates first, I think in his heart he would love to come back to Kansas, but his family will always come first.

Remember, this young man had to convince his entire family and circle of friends that he wanted to be a Jayhawk and not a Tiger...and he did!!

My only regret for you is that you are going to get stuck with a really crappy team......hang in there and do your best!!

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

There are a couple of teams that are going to be in the mix for McLemore that aren't typically high lottery teams. Orlando and Phoenix are both pretty well run franchises that don't typically find themselves in contention for the #1 pick in the draft. Phoenix has already expressed an interest in McLemore and playing with along side great passing PG's like Goran Dragic and Kendall Marshall along with Luis Scola in the post would be a great set up for McLemore along with Phoenix not really being good at the SG spot to begin with.

Ethan Berger 9 years, 9 months ago

Let us dream for a second. What if we landed Randle and Wiggins along with keeping B mac? Does that make that team the most athletic team in KU history? All 3 guys can dunk while looking down on the rim. It would be sick but it is just a dream.

niemoth 9 years, 9 months ago

How good are Self and staff? They can take a rivals #34 recruit and make him a top 3 pick after 1 year of play (i know he had 2 years of practice), but nobody was talking about McLemore being a one and done before the year started. He takes other players that aren't highly touted as NBA type players and makes them pretty popular names around the country by the time they leave. I never thought Releford would play much, nor Conner Teahan, or Morningstar, or even Tyrel Reed. That's why Self has won 8 straight, he makes every player a lot better. Hopefully all the young players we have now and get in the future see what happens in the long run if you put in your time and see that Self will make you much better. Elijah was thinking of transferring and look at him now. He's a stud.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

There were a few people that had McLemore as a first rounder after this year and Jeff Goodman at CBS even had McLemore as his #5 prospect before the year started. McLemore was also pegged as the preseason Big 12 freshmen of the year in a season where Oklahoma St. was bringing in a Rivals top 10 player in Marcus Smart. Bill Self before the season was saying that Ben McLemore was the most gifted player he's ever coached at KU and that McLemore was the best player on the team last season when he could only practice so McLemore had a lot of talk about being a potential OAD player if he played up to his potential which he most certainly has.

Rick Arnoldy 9 years, 9 months ago

"and final game" Typical Keegan arrogance. What wrong with writing "and most likely final game"?

Ethan Berger 9 years, 9 months ago

because it's an opinion piece, and Keegan doesn't think B Mac will return.

Colby Hebert 9 years, 9 months ago

A lot of comments on why Ben should stay. I think he needs to go. People seem to forget he is a red shirt freshman. He will be the age of a Junior next year. His stock can only go down as there is nowhere to go but down. If he stays there is more chance for a new flavor of the month or teams going after a guy 2 years younger or what have you.

Not to be a homer but he is the best player I have ever seen play at Kansas in the time I have been a fan. Before I would have told you it was Paul Pierce. Paul Pierce will likely be a hall of famer I think Ben's ceiling is higher. He can shoot lights out, he is a .50 .40 .900 guy like a Steve Nash. His athleticism is almost inhuman, he floats through the air like Michael Jordan.

People talk of his development, all he needs to do is dribble a basketball all day and he will be one of the faces of the NBA in the future. Josh Selby, Xavier Henry, are not even in the same league as Ben and even mentioning them with him is ridiculous.

Ben's best quality may even be his humility. This is a good kid. Listens to his coaches, respects his teammates. He seems like a great kid. If anything he needs to become more selfish on the court because the team would be better.

Colby Hebert 9 years, 9 months ago

This should be a very special senior night. I do not ever remember 4 of our starters having a senior night together.

kennethst 9 years, 9 months ago

I'm thinking Wiggins will go to Kentucky. KU a long shot.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

Wiggins is likely FSU bound. Both of his parents are Seminoles and Wiggins is supposedly a very heavy FSU lean right now.

Thifty 9 years, 9 months ago

I don't know what your smoking, but I really doubt both of them would go there, at least I hope not. From what I know Kentucky is in the bottom half of schools for each of these guys unless Randle really did narrow his list to 3.

Dee Shaw 9 years, 9 months ago

KU a long shot. No chance Bud. I understand family ties with FSU but honestly kids don't care about that today. All they care about is prime time and winning a national title. FSU does not get much prime time and they will not win a national title anytime soon. Kansas is the perfect fit for Wiggins. Our whole starting five team is gone this year. Wiggins has the perfect opportunity to come in and start and be the man on a team that has plenty of prime time and has a chance every year winning a national title. Don't tell me KU has no chance. I will make another prediction. Randle and Wiggins will both come to KU. The only place I fear that Wiggins may go to is North Carloina. He is headed there this Saturday for Duke vs UNC game. I don't want to hear it from KU fans worried that the atmosphere and game could have a major impact on his decision. If that was the case last year then Shabazz Muhammad would have committed to KU after he attended the KU vs MU game last year in Lawrence.

Bob Bailey 9 years, 9 months ago

Think about the guys who got picked high in the first round. What quality of team did they go to? Danny Manning went to the worst team in the country! Last year TRob went to one of the worst team's in the country -- and got traded first year.

The twins got a better shake. Maybe they'd be better off to get drafted somewhere between 11 and 22.

Going first -- or really high -- is bad news. Go to a team or coach that knows how to use you. You'll get more out of it than an early draft!

Justin Kruse 9 years, 9 months ago

I know Ben's situation is somewhat unique b/c of his family's financial situation, but I would love to see a kid pass on the NBA for a year or two just for the joy of the college experience. Yes, there's the risk of injury and maybe not having a year like the current one, and those are legit concerns b/c it does happen. But it's college; slow down and enjoy the worry-free life. I can't even imagine what it's like playing basketball for a living so it's hard to compare, but how many of us wish we could have extended our college days instead of going into the "real" world? The NBA will be there next year. I'm not saying Ben should stay b/c that's probably not the right decision for his family. Just saying be a kid for a while, you got the rest of your life to grow up.

kellerman411 9 years, 9 months ago

Worry free life? You mean like that of a millionaire?

Justin Kruse 9 years, 9 months ago

Yes, b/c millionaires have worry-free lives with no responsibilites.

kennethst 9 years, 9 months ago

Ben will go. No doubt. Rio Adams will as well. He tweets he is not happy here at Kansas?'s a free country and I'm sure he knows where the door is. Go.....leave.......There are plenty of very talented and good kids to take your place and will appreciate playing at KU.

justanotherfan 9 years, 9 months ago

Ben McLemore will likely be a top 3 pick in the draft. There's no way he can improve on that next year. He absolutely has to go. I don't think its fair to judge a kid that is going to make a $14-$18 million decision. That's enough money to provide for his entire family if he is smart with his finances.

Too much could happen if he stays - injuries being the biggest thing. Remember, he's an athletic wing player. A bad injury that saps his athleticism could be a career killer. His shooting this season is nothing short of elite. I doubt that he can put together a better season next year, not because of talent, but really, how many times can you put together lines like 12-15 from the floor for 36 points, or 9-13 for 30 points, or 10-12 for 33 points? Only 3 times all season has he had more FGA than total points. Will he be that efficient next season? I doubt it, because that level of efficiency is rare. He's very nearly a 50/40/90 player at 51/44/87. That's elite level. There's no reason for him to be in Lawrence next year. Once the season ends, Bill Self should be helping him prep for the draft.

kellerman411 9 years, 9 months ago

Everything in this post is true. If Bill Self does not INSIST Ben leave early for the draft, he should be ashamed of himself. Ben could never have as good of a year next year with all of these senior leaving, especially our shot blocker.

He's gone people. I can't wait to watch him dunk on fools in the league.

Ken Tomberlin 9 years, 9 months ago

Completely agree. This year is a weak draft and next year will be more competitive. He'll be lucky to make the top 5 next year. Would another year in school help him? Maybe even make him more money in the long run? Possibly, maybe even probably, but he'll make plenty of money and his family needs his help now.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 9 months ago

You think the NBA would love to see these kids develop in the NCAA before spending big bucks rather than sitting the bench. My problem is that these kids miss out on some of the best years of their life in college developing as people as well as players. They also don't realize that $1M does not go as far as you think it does, especially after taxes.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 9 months ago

I wish the sports media would follow more closely what happens to all of the players that leave early. Funny how Selby was the media darling when he chose KU, now he's nowhere in the press. How many succeed? How many would leave early again? 54 players left 'early' for the NBA in 2008. I doubt half of them are making decent money and wish they had taken more advantage of college.

CHEEZIT 9 years, 9 months ago

I've always wondered what a loan officer would say to a player of Ben's caliber's parents if they asked for a loan until he was eligible for the NBA???

RockChalkIowa2010 9 years, 9 months ago

Ben's long term success will largely be due to the team he joins and, more importantly, the system they run. Ben is not and will not be a slashing guard. His lack of aggressiveness absolutely needs to be worked on but it's not something he's going to "fix" in college. His game is to come off ball screens and use his athleticism to take his opponent to the basket if they over commit on his jump shot. He'll be a solid to strong defender with the potential to be great due to his athleticism and length. I think the best player comparison for him would be a rich man's rip hamilton. I know everyone likes to say Ray Allen because of how pure his stroke is but, realistically, I think for Ben to be utilizing ALL of his tools he should be much better at attacking the basket, playing above the rim, and locking down defenders than Allen. If he could do those things and have his stroke be 80% as pure and consistent as Allen's he'll have a long, successful career. Or - he could be drafted by the Bobcats and be out of the league in 5 seasons!

justanotherfan 9 years, 9 months ago

The other thing you have to remember with Ben is the value of the first million dollars for him. Right now, his family is struggling financially. The difference that first million would make RIGHT NOW is enormous compared to what a few million may do later in his career. Right now its the difference between struggle and a pretty good life. Later it will be the difference between an extra house/car/boat/etc.

Right now that money means so much more than it ever could later. Delaying for a year is delaying a better lifestyle for his family for another year. If any of us were in that position, we wouldn't think of waiting a year to change our family's life in such a monumental way. The first million is inherently more valuable than the next several.

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