Kansas Star Ben McLemore Makes Case For Being Best Freshman In Nation

By Brian Lester
Peter Aiken – USA TODAY Sports Images

One night, it’s Elijah Johnson going off for the Kansas Jayhawks. The next, it’s freshman sensation Ben McLemore lighting up the scoreboard.

McLemore dropped 36 points on West Virginia Saturday as Kansas rumbled to a 91-65 win over the Mountaineers.

The point total crushed the freshman scoring record set by the legendary Danny Manning, who scored 35 in a game against Oklahoma State in 1985. Kansas head coach Bill Self was a senior on that Cowboys team. As good as Johnson was against West Virginia, he wasn’t going to take all of the credit for his sizzling performance.

”I just want to thank my teammates, especially Elijah (Johnson), for creating things for me and helping me get my shots open,” McLemore said in a post-game press conference. ”Elijah is a great player because he can see when I get on a roll and he wants to keep feeding me.”

McLemore fueled his performance with five 3-pointers, and it was one of those games that helped make his case for being the best freshman in the nation. His effort helped the Jayhawks shoot a blistering 57 percent from the field.

”Ben was remarkable tonight,” Self said in a post-game press conference. ”Elijah was good. Jeff (Withey) was great. Everybody else was solid. That’s about as efficient offensively as we’ve been all year.”

Forget about the three-game losing streak Kansas suffered through earlier this season. It’s ancient history. Kansas is still the real deal.

McLemore is just one of the many options the Jayhawks have on the offensive end of the floor, and if the freshman can rise to the occasion in March, Kansas will be tough to deal with.

Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.

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