On Feb. 6, the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks had an embarrassing loss to the TCU Horned Frogs on the road. The win was TCU’s first as a member of the Big 12. During the game the Jayhawks managed only 13 points in the first half of play and were never in sync throughout. This has been a trend, as the Jayhawks lost consecutive games for the first time in 264 contests.
After the shocking loss, according to Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star, the Jayhawks held a team meeting where team members were able to discuss anything the deemed important. In the meeting, freshman sensation Ben McLemore said that he wanted to have more of a leadership role on the team. McLemore noted “I gotta help more, create little things for myself and for my teammates, and just try to be out there and be a leader, too,” McLemore said according to the Star. “Playing out there with four seniors, I can also be out there and be a leader.”
Although Kansas Head Coach Bill Self does have senior leadership, the fact that McLemore wants to help with an increased role is welcomed. With senior point guard Elijah Johnson struggling to make shots and impact the game as much as he is accustomed to, McLemore shouold be able to help in this regard. McLemore is shooting a blistering 50% from the field and 42.6% from behind the arc, but he may be able to help facilitate as well and let Johnson, and backup point guard, Naadir Tharpe, move off the ball.
What is really impressive here is that McLemore, who is arguably the best freshman in the country, is willing to take on more. He is having a great season by any measure and could easily just be concerned about himself. McLemore will undoubtedly gain more respect from his senior counterparts and earn the leadership role that he desires. McLemore’s comments prove that he is a winner and that he is all about the team. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks must be concerned with improving on a game-by-game basis as they look to capture their ninth straight Big 12 regular season championship.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo