Ben McLemore has a big-time supporter in CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman.
Even though McLemore was not able to suit up for Kansas as a freshman last year due to academic issues, Goodman has put the 6'5" wing from St. Louis as the No. 5 pick in his most recent 2013 NBA Mock Draft.
That's an awfully high place for a player who was ranked No. 49 in the ESPN's Top 100 for 2011, and has yet to play a minute on the college hardwood.
Do I think that McLemore is good? He's more than just good. Coming out of high school, EGood SPN's scouting report on him said that he was "one of the most athletic wings in the 2011 class."
McLemore has the chance to eventually be an All-Big 12 performer or garner recognition on the national level.
I just don't see him having the kind of redshirt freshman season that would earn him an upper-level lottery position in next year's draft.
Ironically, Thomas Robinson, KU's outstanding PF from this last year, was the No. 5 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Who projects McLemore to have that kind of season in 2012-13?
The other most recent No. 5's are as followed:
- Jonas Valančiūnas (2011)
- DeMarcus Cousins (2010)
- Ricky Rubio (2009)
- Kevin Love (2008)
You would be hard pressed to convince me that McLemore is likely to be at this level after one year in Lawrence.
There is a good chance that McLemore will fill one of KU's three starting perimeter positions alongside Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford to form one of the most athletic backcourts in the nation.
He is likely to outshine most of the other first year players in the Big 12.
But, is it probable that Ben McLemore will explode onto the college hoops' scene and force his way to the front of next year's draft hopefuls?
I'll have to see it to believe it.
But, if that does happen, we could be watching the Jayhawks cut down the nets in Atlanta.