Kansas University freshman Ben McLemore isn’t the only member of his family playing winning basketball during the 2012-13 season.
Kevin McLemore, a 6-foot, 159-pound senior from St. Louis Normandy High, averages 13.1 points a game off 59.6 percent shooting (9-20 from three) for the 14-7 Vikings. He’s also grabbed 3.5 rebounds, dished 2.6 assists and plucked 2.6 steals per contest.
“The season is going great. We’re doing really well,” Kevin McLemore said Thursday in a phone interview with the Journal-World, noting Ben is the best big brother.
“He tells me to work hard to get better and focus on my books,” added Kevin, who will likely attend a junior college or prep school next year as he tries to fulfill a dream of playing Div. I basketball. “I’d love to go there,” Kevin said of Kansas. “I’ve been there and my brother has shown me around. I like all the guys on the team, Elijah (Johnson), Jamari (Traylor), all of them. You have to work as hard as you can. Academically, now it’s best for me to go to a juco.”
Of Ben’s season at KU, Kevin said: “His game has improved so much, defense, offense, dunking. He first dunked when he was in the eighth grade. I’m dunking now, (too),” Kevin added.
He said St. Louis is proud of his brother.
“Every time I go around St. Louis, people ask, ‘Are you his brother?’ and this and that. I tell them he’s having a lot of fun. They’re doing great trying to win a championship. Every time you see him play, he’s smiling,” Kevin said.
Kevin has been to two games in Allen Fieldhouse this year. His mom, Sonya, has been to four or five. Remember, Sonya is a lifelong Missouri fan who has switched her allegiance to KU.
“Sometimes she watches them on TV,” Kevin said of mom viewing the Tigers. “Most definitely she loves KU. Every time the game is on, she has a big smile on her face.”
Rumors: St. Louis Majestics AAU coach Darius Cobb who also is a close family friend and mentor to Ben and Kevin, on Thursday cleared up some confusion on Twitter that Kevin would be attending KU.
“We are in the process of finding the best junior college or prep school we can for Kevin,” said Cobb.
Cobb updated the Journal-World on Ben’s possibly heading to the NBA after this season. Basically there’s to be no NBA talk until after the season ends.
“At the end of the day, he’s having fun, learning the system at Kansas, how to play in front of crowds. Let him have fun,” Cobb said. “In March we’ll sit down and talk with coach (Bill Self). Coach will give us the right information. He won’t hold anything back. Now we talk about, ‘How was the crowd at West Virginia?’ Things like that. Really what we talk about the most, what we say to him all the time is, ‘Books and basketball, stay hungry and it’s OK to be great.’”
Awards: KU’s McLemore and Jeff Withey have been named to the 12-player Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Midseason Watch List by the USBWA. McLemore also made the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Watch List
“Being named to both lists is pretty cool,” McLemore said. “There is no way I could get these (honors) without my teammates and coaches. We have a lot of work to do to reach our goals of winning a conference title and doing well in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.”
Others on the player of year list: Anthony Bennett, Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Doug McDermott, Victor Oladipo, Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee, Russ Smith, Deshaun Thomas and Cody Zeller. Others on the freshman list: Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, Isaiah Austin, Anthony Bennett, Jahii Carson, Kevin Ferrell, Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel, Glenn Robinson III, Marcus Smart and Nik Stauskas.
Heck yeah: Self had a funny quote on Thursday when asked if ballhandling of his guards was a concern: “Yes. One-word answer. Yes. Could say, ‘Hell yes,’ but a one-word answer would be, ‘yes.’”
Self on Snyder: Self addressed Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder signing a five-year contract extension:
“I’m a KU guy through and through, but you have to respect the job that he does, and his staff. It’s been remarkable to see from a guy that’s followed Big Eight football going back to the early 1970s and seeing what they’ve done over there. I’m really happy for him, I think that’s awesome. I hope he coaches the entire time. With me, the older I get, the more worn down I get. He’s getting stronger as he goes. He’s better now than he ever has been.”
Self on the Super Bowl: “I think the 49ers have the best team, but I think I’ll go with the Ravens. They’ve got some guys with a little incentive now, so I’ll go with them.”