Ben McLemore, who left the comforts of his St. Louis home for Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., in late August, checked in with his old high school coaches via Skype earlier this week.
The 6-foot-5 former Eskridge High basketball standout, who is Rivals.com’s No. 17-rated player, reported that he has adjusted well to his new prep school.
“He is loving it at Oak Hill. He made the comment that, ‘We get homework every day.’ That’s the whole environment I want him to get adjusted to, being in the classroom,” said Jeff McCaw, who has moved on to coach at North County Tech now that Eskridge High has been closed down by the state.
“He’s doing well in school. He feels he’s gotten stronger by working with their strength and conditioning coach. He’s put on seven pounds. He’s like, ‘Coach, I’m ripped-up now,’’’ McCaw added, noting McLemore now weighs about 190 pounds.
KU coach Bill Self last Thursday made an in-home visit with McLemore on the campus of Oak Hill. At that time, McLemore accepted an invitation to attend the Oct. 15 Late Night in the Phog as part of his official recruiting visit.
McCaw doesn’t think he’ll make the trip with his former prized pupil.
“I kind of wanted him to assess and evaluate the situation by himself. I think his mom (who lives in St. Louis) is trying to come, as well,” McCaw said.
The crazy thing about McLemore’s recruitment is the shooting guard, who averaged 28.3 points and 12.5 boards at Eskridge High last season, doesn’t have an official list of finalists. McLemore, in various interviews, has mentioned KU, Missouri and Tennessee. Earlier, he had also listed Ohio State, Marquette and Purdue as possibilities.
“He’s not really concerned with any other programs, really (besides KU),” McCaw said, noting, “he’ll visit some other schools.
“I think the ‘Phog night’ will solidify what he was dreaming about when he was younger,” McCaw added of McLemore dreaming of being a Jayhawk. “I don’t think he’s ever been to a KU game at Allen Fieldhouse. Once he’s there hearing the Jayhawk chant, it’d take a hold on him I’d imagine and him taking the floor and them (fans) calling his name.”
McLemore has told his coach he wants to concentrate on winning a national prep championship at Oak Hill — not recruiting — in this, his senior season. He has said he will wait until the spring to sign.
“He actually has a long weekend coming up, and my assistant called him to see if he was coming home that weekend. He was like, ‘No. I’m going to stay here and hang out.’ He loves it there,” McCaw added of Virginia.
Rivers to meet with Self: KU coach Self will have an in-home visit with No. 1-rated Austin Rivers on Saturday, Rivals.com reports. Rivers, a 6-3 senior shooting guard from Winter Park (Fla.) High School, has scheduled visits to North Carolina (Oct. 1) and Duke (Oct. 15). He has yet to pick a date for his visit to KU. Rivers averaged 23.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists a game last season. He hit 63 percent of his shots, including 38 percent from three.
Turner update: Self earlier this week had an in-home visit with No. 10-ranked Josiah Turner, a 6-3 senior point guard from Sacramento (Calif.) High. Turner, who will attend Late Night in the Phog, will visit Arizona this weekend and Oregon on Oct. 1. He already has visited UCLA and Louisville.
Chol update: Self had an in-home visit Wednesday with Angelo Chol, a 6-8 senior center from San Diego’s Hoover High. Chol, who will attend Late Night, has visited Alabama. Chol (No. 76 on Rivals) also has Washington, North Carolina, UCLA, Georgetown and others on his list.