Kansas Basketball: Ben McLemore Declares for the NBA Draft

Andrew DoughtyCorrespondent IIApril 9, 2013

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 11:  Ben McLemore #23 of the Kansas Jayhawks in action during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Allen Fieldhouse on February 11, 2013 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Kansas freshman guard Ben McLemore will forfeit his remaining three years of eligibility and declare for the NBA draft, as reported by KSHB Action News.

McLemore and head coach Bill Self held a press conference at Allen Fieldhouse this afternoon to announce his decision. The 6'5" St. Louis native is expected to be a top five selection in the NBA draft.

As a redshirt freshman, McLemore averaged 15.9 points per game on 50 percent shooting in recording the greatest freshman statistical season in school history. He also shot 87 percent from the free-throw line and averaged 5.9 rebounds, two assists and one steal while appearing in all 37 games for Kansas.

His departure ensures Bill Self will lose his entire starting five from a team that won a ninth straight Big 12 title before falling to Michigan in the Sweet 16. Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis are the only returning players to average more than 10 minutes per game during the 2012-13 season.

ESPN's Chad Ford currently has McLemore as the No. 3 overall prospect, with the Phoenix Suns selecting him with the third selection in June's NBA draft.

"He still has a shot to go No. 1 if a team like the Charlotte Bobcats wins the lottery," Ford said. "But his play over the past few weeks might have stalled his quest to be the first player off the board on draft night" (subscription required).

McLemore was often criticized for his tentative play and occasional shooting slumps during conference play and early in the NCAA tournament as his draft stock fluctuated between the No. 1 overall prospect and a mid-lottery pick.

CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman projects McLemore to be the No. 1 pick, while Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report slotted him in as the No. 2 selection to Orlando.

With the departure of freshman Anrio Adams this week, the Jayhawks now have three remaining scholarships for next season after signing a five-member recruiting class.