Friday, May 17, 2013

McLemore shows off athleticism at NBA combine

Kansas guard Ben McLemore finishes the game with a windmill dunk against San Jose State during the second half on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore finishes the game with a windmill dunk against San Jose State during the second half on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


On Thursday in Chicago former Kansas University men’s basketball star Ben McLemore went through a series of question-and-answer interviews with potential NBA employers.

On Friday, he got to let his skills do the talking.

Day 2 of the NBA’s pre-draft combine featured McLemore and dozens of other draft hopefuls working through a series of on-the-court tests that will in some small way help determine where they are slotted in the June 27 draft.

Not surprisingly, McLemore, whose height officially was measured at 6-4 3/4 (with shoes) on Thursday, was one of the top shooting guards to test at the combine.

His maximum vertical jump of 42 inches tied him for first at his position. His standing vertical jump of 32.5 inches placed him third and his three-quarter-court sprint of 3.27 seconds tied him for fifth.

In addition, the athletic wing who led the Jayhawks in scoring during the 2012-13 season finished fourth in 3.11 seconds in the modified lane agility test (side-to-side and back through the lane) and ninth in the full-scale lane agility test, which incorporates all four sides of the paint and the player’s ability to backpedal.

In an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz following his Friday performance, McLemore sized up what he thought he did well.

“Today, just my athleticism and my quickness,” McLemore told Katz. “That’s the main thing. That’s what you want to have going to the next level. All the NBA teams know I can score the ball and other things like that, and (showing athleticism and quickness) was what I got in today and this week.”

Katz also inquired about the individual interviews. Although they became redundant, McLemore said most team reps wanted to talk about his past.

“The kinds of questions they were asking me were basically to try to get to know me, my personality, what I do off the court, basically my surroundings and my background,” he said. “They want to know what I can do to better the team. A lot of teams were asking me the same things, but I just told them that I’d go in, play my role and try to help them win more games. Just go out there and play my game with an open mind and a free mind.”

ESPN NBA analyst Tom Penn said the interviews were the most important part of the process for a well-known athlete like McLemore, who did not participate in drills and is expected to be picked in the Top 3.

“So much of what goes on here is the eyeball-to-eyeball contact you can have with these (athletes),” Penn said during the broadcast. “You talk to him and you can see that Ben is a kid, a young kid. He comes across much less sophisticated. That’s good in that there’s development that’s gonna come and a lot of growth, but you compare him to a (Indiana forward Cody) Zeller or other interviews where you can see that (other guys are) more of a grown man and more mature. The sweet spot is when you get to a kid with tremendous athleticism who’s also a grown man and ready to come help. But, of course, you can’t get it all at once.”

Withey works out

Former Jayhawk Jeff Withey also completed athletic tests at Friday’s combine in Chicago.

Withey’s marks — maximum vertical jump of 29 inches, standing jump of 26.5 inches — paled in comparison to other center prospects', including Indiana 7-footer Cody Zeller’s 37.5-inch max vertical and 35.5-inch standing jumps.

Withey didn’t stand out during workouts, either, according to’s Jonathan Givony.

“Jeff Withey clearly more of a 5 on 5 guy,” Givony tweeted Friday. “Body doesn’t look great compared to other big men, and he hasn’t been so impressive in the drills.”

Before the combine, predicted Withey would be selected with the 19th overall pick. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote that Withey could be drafted in the “19-25 range.”

Self honored at Vitale gala

Sarasota, Fla. — Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self was among the celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment who crowded the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota on Friday for the Eighth Annual Dick Vitale Gala to raise money in the fight against pediatric cancer through The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event honored Self, former Florida State University and Hall of Fame football coach Bobby Bowden and former University of Connecticut and Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

The sold-out Gala hosted more than 800 people and featured over 70 celebrities.


KansasComet 9 years, 4 months ago

This is going to be a great season...can't wait!

Tim Orel 9 years, 4 months ago

I know Withey is still getting used to his size - Hudy did a lot of work with him, but still I wish he had been able to wow people the way McLemore seemed to. Given Withey's jump and size, wouldn't this show that McLemore could outreach him? I mean, 13 inch difference in the vertical jump makes up for 7+ inches of height, plus longer arms, depending upon where a particular athlete's length comes from. I want KU's players to all be superspectacular!

Alec White 9 years, 4 months ago

Although I hope Wiggins's play leaves us mesmerized, I hope we don't forget Ben's impact in his two years here. I have a feeling his highlight-reel packed season had some impact on Andrew's commitment. Just a really fun player to root for.

And did anybody hear Nerlens Noel only weighed 206 lbs at the Combine? Probably lost some weight due to inactivity from surgery, but that is light! Even Withey weighed 220. I think Jeff will get bullied around until he puts on some significant weight, yet will still find a way to be his usual disruptive force on defense.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 4 months ago

Withey was never able or willing to add much weight. The NBA is even more physical than college ball and if Withey wants a career he will have to get bigger and stronger.

kusayzone 9 years, 4 months ago

Ben, Ben, Ben !!!!! Why didnt you tell those NBA people that you could dance!!!! Especially after you win!!!!!

mikehawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Jeff has been overlooked and underestimated throughout his career. I'm sure Greg Ostertag didn't have the greatest of numbers on the skills/agility charts either, and he made right at $50 million across his career and was never a starter. Jeff's body will continue to fill out and the weight will come. One thing HCBS never really allowed him to do was to step out and take the jumper. But, we all saw he has great touch and the ability to hit the outside shot which is required in the NBA. Will he be a star or even a starter in the NBA? No. But if he can translate his shot blocking ability from college to NBA, even by half, there will be a place for him to play, assuming all other variables keep moving in the right direction. His shot blocking style and timing is like Ben's jump shot, you really can't teach it, you can only refine and enhance it. The most important thing for Jeff, and Ben, is to get on the right team, with the right coach and system.

Alex Wishart 9 years, 4 months ago

I watched the combine yesterday and I had a couple take aways:

Victor Olidipo measured every bit as well as Ben in just about everything. Mostly he looked more polished and more prepared. He's an upper classman so that can be somewhat expected. Both were at the top of the shooting guard category. The analysts didn't seem to think VO would be drafted higher than Ben because of potential. With VO you get what you get and with Ben the sky is seemingly the limit.

Secondly, Jeff looked terrible. He scored at the bottom or middle of just about every category. In contrast, Zeller looked like a man possessed. He was super athletic and scored at the top of pretty much every category. Even Plumlee looked pretty decent, which is to say that his big body looked coordinated and fluid while scoring near the top in most categories. Jeff looked clunky and slow, and frankly ill prepared. He may have hurt his draft stock. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets drafted in the 20's or slightly lower. It was that bad...

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 4 months ago

Not a good showing for Withey.. No doubt he has the heart and the drive but he lacks athleticism.

Ben will be one of the top 3 and Withey a late first round or an early 2nd. Withey better hire a good accountant because he isn't as good as Cole was.

dylans 9 years, 4 months ago

Jeff if a basketball player not an athletic freak. He'll be ok in the right system.

Robert Brock 9 years, 4 months ago

The Big Question: Can McLemore defend NBA 2s? If he can't...well, he will do a lot of sitting.

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 4 months ago

After watching every game this past season and Ben, my observations are this:

Pros: 3-pointers Free Throws Jumpers Above the Rim Athleticism No Ego Dancing

Cons: Defending Passing Dribbling Taunting in front of Iowa State's bench (just kidding - bad call)

I think the Pro's supercede the Con's by far. I love to watch Ben play and looking forward to him getting me watching a little NBA. He's a great young man and has a bright future.

Ryan Patti 9 years, 4 months ago

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p3pp3rd1n3 9 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone know if Elijah, Releford, or Young participated in the combine, and how they did? I always thought Elijah had outstanding vertical, and am curious as to how they did.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 4 months ago

No, No, and No .. they weren't invited.

Benjamin Piehler 9 years, 4 months ago

Looking forward to seeing where our guys land.

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