Ben McLemore has stepped into the starting lineup for the Kansas Jayhawks and made an immediate impact at both ends of the floor. The 6’5 redshirt freshman has benefited from a year to get acclimated into Bill Self’s system and has come out firing on all cylinders early in the season. To date, he’s leading Kansas in scoring at 14.9 ppg and also contributing 5.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal per game. Those are excellent numbers on a loaded Jayhawks team, let alone a backcourt that already has Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his game is his rebounding at both ends of the floor. For a guard who averages close to six rebounds a game, he’s getting one or two of those at on the offensive glass, creating extra possessions for his teammates. He’s hitting 45% of his shots early on, but struggling beyond the three-point line. He’s getting plenty of shot attempts and certainly not afraid to take shots. McLemore already logged a career high 25 points against Chattanooga early on, and we should see some more scoring outbursts from him this season. He’s made several highlight reel plays, including a put-back dunk in transition that made his own teammate, Jamari Traylor, look silly. He is somewhat prone to turnovers, averaging nearly two a game, but this should improve with more experience in handling the ball and creating for teammates. It’s a testament to his athletic ability and commitment to defense that he’s recording a steal and a block per game. McLemore is a pretty complete player, which is why several NBA scouts have him high on their draft boards. He’s already shown the ability to carry this team when they are struggling to score.
Amit Tailor is a Big 12 Correspondent and Scout for NetScouts Basketball.