For Jayhawk fans, it is hard to find positives after losing in the National Championship. Kansas had a remarkable run to the NCAA Championship last April, somewhere no one thought they would be. The team prevailed in tight games throughout the tournament, but their run ended against Kentucky. The heart of the Kansas basketball team, Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson left for the NBA. Gloom seemed to rein over Lawrence, but a freshman sensation emerged. Ben McLemore was suspended all of last season for eligibility reasons and was forced to watch his team from the bench. But now, McLemore is leading the Kansas Jayhawks to a hot start on the season. Ben’s absence last year has helped him mature as a basketball player and has made him a dangerous threat this season.
McLemore has taken the reins of this team. At the beginning of the season, it was unknown who would be the leader of this Kansas team. Jeff Withey is the threshold as the only true center, and he has tacked on 40 blocks already this season. However, Ben is making the most noise. He is not running his mouth with arrogance, but Ben is performing at a level like no other freshman. UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad was the talk of the freshmen coming into the season. His team has three losses in just eight games. Kentucky’s star freshman Nerlens Noel and the Wildcats are already unranked. Ben McLemore’s play has made the Kansas Jayhawks the ninth ranked team in the country.
Although he could not play in games, McLemore was still able to practice with the team last season. He learned the offense and defense, which gave him a serious advantage over other freshmen. Ben became comfortable with the team which has turned out to be key for the Jayhawks. The biggest factor McLemore brings is the fact that teams are familiar with his style of play. Teams throughout the country did not see him play last year, making him a well-kept secret. The high-power skillset McLemore brings to the table makes him an elite all-around player.
Ben McLemore’s contribution on both sides of the floor has made him the leader of this team. On the offensive side, McLemore averages almost 15 points a game and dishes over two assists. Defensively, he averages close to six rebounds per game. Ben McLemore is not huge, though. Most people would expect a 6’5” freshman with a 195 pound frame to not be nearly as active as McLemore has been. However, he has a leaping ability like no other. His awareness and timing for put-back dunks is simply jaw-dropping. When McLemore is running full speed at the rim, the only thing that can stop him is the path of the ball. Ben’s posterizing dunks have made him a fan favorite. Here is an example of what Ben McLemore is able to do.
Not only is his jersey number 23, but Ben McLemore flies through the air very similarly to Michael Jordan. His skills are not nearly there, but he is certainly on course to be a remembered player. Ben’s humbleness shapes his already great character. After games he will give high fives, sign autographs and pose for pictures. All Jayhawks need to be appreciative of Ben McLemore. Coach Bill Self has taught a numerous amount of great freshman. From Deron Williams to Mario Chalmers, Bill Self has coached some of the most talented players in the NBA today. Out of all those freshman, Self says Ben McLemore is the most talented freshman he has ever coached. Although it is evident that a player with talent like his would leave early for the NBA Draft, the decision still lies in his hands. In the meantime, everyone can sit back and watch the freshman lead Kansas this season.