Ben McLemore is widely considered to be a top-five pick in this year's NBA draft, and he could even be the top player selected. Thus, it was no surprise when the Kansas star announced his intent to enter the draft on Tuesday afternoon.
#kubball G Ben McLemore thanks those in attendance, God, coaches, family, fans & teammates... Then says he's going pro.— Matt Tait (@mctait) April 9, 2013
McLemore: This is the best opportunity to help my family out. That's what I wanted to do as a kid & now I get that chance. #kubball— Matt Tait (@mctait) April 9, 2013
Self on McLemore decision: really there was no decision to be made.... The time is definitely right. #kubball— Matt Tait (@mctait) April 9, 2013
In his first mock draft of 2013, ESPN Insider Chad Ford (membership required) has the Phoenix Suns selecting McLemore with the third overall pick, noting:
He's one of the two or three best pure shooters in the draft and has great length and athleticism at his position. He can be a bit of a wallflower, but when he gets going he's as good as anyone in the draft.
In other words, it would have been a huge shocker if McLemore had decided to return for another NCAA season.
McLemore was excellent for the Jayhawks in 2013, leading the team in scoring with 15.9 points per game and adding 5.2 rebounds per contest.
He was named to the Associated Press All-America Second Team and was a huge reason why the team was co-Big 12 regular-season champions with Kansas State and took home the conference tournament title.
He struggled somewhat in Kansas' first two tournament games, however, namely against North Carolina when he scored just two points. He recovered against Michigan in the Sweet 16, scoring 20 points in 39 minutes of play, but it wasn't enough, as the Wolverines topped the Jayhawks in overtime.
Did McLemore make the right decision?
There will be a lot of turnover for Kansas next season, as the team's top five scorers from this season (McLemore and seniors Jeff Withey, Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson and Kevin Young) are leaving the team.
Don't feel too bad for Kansas, though—the team still has a solid incoming recruiting class, and youngsters like freshman Perry Ellis ensure that the future is bright. Still, had McLemore decided to stay, this team would have been nasty next season.
With guaranteed money and a top-five pick to look forward to, though, nobody could blame McLemore for being one-and-done.