Ben McLemore, one of the greatest freshman players in Kansas history, was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the 2013 NBA Draft with the No. 7 overall pick. For the second year in a row, the Kings selected a Jayhawk (Thomas Robinson was selected by Sacramento in 2012).
“I just want to say thank you all for supporting me,” said McLemore after being drafted. “I want to give a shoutout to my older brother, Keith.”
“He means a lot to me,” McLemore said about Coach Bill Self. “As far as maturity for growing me as a person, he means a lot.”
Ben is relieved and happy. Family is feels so blessed. Proud to be here. Our man is so proud to represent Kansas and his teammates.
— Bill Self (@CoachBillSelf) June 28, 2013
McLemore, who only played one year in college, was in the mix for being drafted No. 1 overall well before McLemore declared for the Draft. He was always considered to be going in the top five picks of the Draft so it was shocking to see McLemore slip so far.
McLemore slipping in the draft prompted LeBron James and Aaron Rodgers to tweet about him:
They sleeping on Ben McLemore. Just watch — LeBron James (@KingJames) June 28, 2013
Ben McLemore still on the board?? Kid is gonna be a star in the league — Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12) June 28, 2013
After the pick, Aaron Rodgers praised the Kings for their pick:
Jimmer Fredette, McLemore’s newest teammate was excited to see Ben join the team:
In his only season in college, McLemore was a consensus All-America Second Team selection and All-Big 12 First Team honoree. McLemore led Kansas in scoring in 2012-13 with 15.9 points per game, which ranked third in the Big 12. He led the Big 12 with an 87.0 free throw percentage and also ranked among the league leaders in field goal percentage (eighth at 49.5), three-point field goal percentage (second at 42.0), three-point field goals made (sixth at 2.0) and rebounds (20th at 5.2).
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) June 28, 2013
McLemore’s 15.9 points per game in the 2013 season broke the KU freshman record of 14.6 ppg posted by Jayhawk legend Danny Manning in 1985. McLemore’s 589 points and his 87.0 free throw percentage were also KU freshman records. McLemore had 11 games of 20 points or more in 2012-13, including three 30-point contests. His 36 points against West Virginia (3/2) broke the KU freshman single-game scoring record and his three 30-point efforts also set a KU freshman single-season mark.
McLemore sported a KU jersey in the inside of his draft suit:
THE INSIDE OF MCLEMORE’s SUIT COAT IS BALLER pic.twitter.com/PgfuIFZUqg
— Scott Chasen (@ScottChasen1994) June 28, 2013
I’ll leave you with this awesome photo of McLemore: