Ben McLemore Gunning for Rookie of the Year Award

by August 19, 2013

Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore is setting the bar high for his first year in the NBA — he wants to win the Rookie of the Year award, and says he has a chip on his shoulder after getting picked seventh overall in the 2013 Draft. Per KU Sports: “I feel I come in with a chip on my shoulder,’ former Kansas University guard McLemore, top pick of the Sacramento Kings in the June draft, said Saturday at the Bill Self Basketball Pro Camp for youths in Allen Fieldhouse. He is working the camp with former KU forward Thomas Robinson of the Portland Trail Blazers. ‘I feel I’ve been through a lot. I feel I am going to work hard to get Rookie of the Year. I know the mindset I’m going to come in and show everybody I could be the alpha dog and win that Rookie of the Year. I’m definitely going to work hard to get that,’ McLemore added. Someday, he hopes to make NBA franchises Cleveland, Orlando, Washington, Charlotte, Phoenix and New Orleans regret not selecting him with their first picks. ‘I’ve got to help my team win games and be a leader,’ the 6-foot-5 guard said. ‘That’s the main thing is being a leader to a team with a lot of older guys and me, understand my role and be a spark.’ He believes he learned a lot about leadership at the recent week-long NBA Rookie Transition Program in New Jersey. ‘I enjoyed the whole process, getting a bonding relationship with all my draft class,’ he said, noting he especially enjoyed a speech from the Brooklyn Nets’ Jerry Stackhouse at the program, designed to teach the players about how to handle all the demands of the NBA. ‘I learned so much there and definitely I could also inspire a lot of people,’ added McLemore, who grew up in poverty in St. Louis. Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves was actually dismissed from the program for violating a rule and allegedly bringing a female guest into his hotel room.’Very disappointing,’ McLemore said, asked his reaction. ‘After they (were) telling us the rules, what not to do, for him to do that … it’s just unbelievable after they just explained the different rules to us. Hopefully he’ll learn from his mistakes. Hopefully that won’t stop him from being the basketball player who he is, just keep playing, going with his career.'”