The 2013 NBA Draft has been touted as the Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel show for the last year-plus. While Muhammad and Noel are two of the bigger name freshman prospects for June’s draft, there’s another freshman who’s been flying under the radar for the past two months, and is really starting to catch the attention of scouts and analysts around the basketball world.
A top 50 player in the high school class of 2011, Kansas guard Ben McLemore was very controversially declared ineligible to play as a freshman last season, so he red shirted and practiced with the team that made it all the way to the championship game throughout the spring semester. The only freshman in a starting lineup with all seniors, McLemore’s game makes him an automatic leader on the hardwood, as he leads the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game.
McLemore has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen, and being an uber-athletic 6-foot-5 guard who’s currently shooting 41-percent from three, the comparison isn’t exactly a stretch. The St. Louis product has had a handful of brilliant offensive performances, but really had his coming out party when Jayhawks beat then undefeated Ohio State, on the road, in a game that McLemore drilled 3 three’s on his way to a game-high 22 points.
“He’s still trying to figure out how to play,” said Kansas head coach Bill Self, who still feels more comfortable allowing his seniors to handle the pressure situations over McLemore. “You can tell in late-game situations, he’s played less basketball than anybody that’s as old as him and as good as him around. It’s all new to him. When it all comes naturally to him, he’s going to become terrific.”
Regardless of McLemore’s maturity, it’s his well-rounded, two-way game that has scouts drooling over his potential on the next level. There aren’t many true shooting guards in the NBA anymore who are as big as McLemore, and with his ability to both stroke the ball and get to the rim, he’s one of the better two-guard prospects in several years.
McLemore is undeniably skilled, and unlike some other highly touted freshmen, his position has grown to become quite unique in the NBA. While rival freshman Muhammad may have better explosiveness, McLemore has already proven to be a more consistent outside threat, which when paired with all of the other right tools, will always catch the attention of NBA teams.
The Kansas guard’s stock has done nothing but grow since the beginning of the year, and when you’re hearing about him to the point of nausea come April-May-June, you can refer back to this article.
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