Lawrence, KS – Ben McLemore has declared for the NBA draft. The 21-year-old Kansas guard announced on Tuesday he will enter the draft, which will take place on June 27.
Speaking to press at Allen Fieldhouse at the University of Kansas, McLemore confirmed his decision was motivated by the chance to earn NBA riches and help out his family. He said:
“My mom, we talked, my family, talked to the coaches, and I made the decision that I’m going to enter the NBA draft. I think it’s the best opportunity to help me and my family out, and even as a kid, that’s what I wanted to do. I have an opportunity to provide for my family.”
Had McLemore dallied any longer in his decision, Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self said he was ready to push the talented youngster through the door. Self said:
“Ben kept telling us in February, ‘Don’t worry about getting anybody else. I’m coming back.’ I said, ‘Yeah, right. You want to make a public announcement?’ … If he told me he wanted to come back, I would have told him, ‘We need to look at this again.’ “
Self feels McLemore declared for the NBA draft at just the right time, and it’s hard to disagree. The young guard has proven himself one of the most gifted players in Jayhawks history, and last season broke the team’s freshman scoring record held by Danny Manning. The Jayhawks went 31-6 last year, and McLemore averaged nearly 16 points. Unsurprisingly, he is expected to be a lottery pick in June’s draft.
Reflecting on his progress at Kansas, McLemore declares:
“Growing up, I wasn’t the kid to be a fighter, like that, but coming to college, I had to mature and understand how I need to be to go play at the next level. I have to thank the coaching staff for that.”
Bill Self has seen two other Jayhawks leave school early (Xavier Henry was selected 12th overall in 2010 and point guard Josh Selby was a late second-round pick in 2011), but there’s a good chance McLemore will be even more in demand.
Are you excited by Ben McLemore’s talent? And is he right to enter the draft this year? Let us know in the comments!