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Subject: "I don't know how anyone reads this article and still defends the age req..." Previous topic | Next topic
final_prospect82
Member since Mar 21st 2007
1358 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 01:20 PM

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"I don't know how anyone reads this article and still defends the age req..."


          



http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/big12/2013/02/27/big-12-mens-college-basketball-kansas-jayhawks-ben-mclemore/1947401/


LAWRENCE, Kan. With the discerning eye of a jeweler, Larry Brown made the same observation every time he watched Kansas practice last season: Of all the talented Jayhawks who led them to the national title game, the brightest gem was a freshman academically ineligible to play in games.

"Bill," Brown would ask Kansas coach Bill Self, "you realize what you have here?"

One year later, Self knows exactly what he has in Ben McLemore: the most talented young player, by far, that he says he has ever coached. Though the foundation of Kansas' team is four senior starters, the difference maker is a 6-5 redshirt freshman, McLemore.

No Kansas freshman has averaged more points than the St. Louis native who figures to be one of the most prominent faces of the NCAA tournament. And no player in the tournament will have as good a chance as McLemore to follow in the footsteps of former Kentucky All-American Anthony Davis, who won a national championship last season and was selected first in the NBA draft.

But McLemore, 20, is not a natural fit for the large stage. He is a reluctant star who continues to hear that he defers far too much and lacks killer instinct. Even his role model, 26-year-old brother Keith Scott, calls him from a maximum-security prison in Mineral Point, Mo., to implore McLemore to be more assertive, to carry his team like everyone knows he can.

Unlike many of today's top players, McLemore was not showered with adulation or anointed a future star from the time he was an adolescent. Rather than obsess over national player rankings, phenom camp invitations or third-party handlers, McLemore focused on more fundamental concerns amid one of the poorest urban communities in Missouri: finding food.

Says McLemore: "It's hard to play basketball when nothing is inside of you."

***

The smallest home on Wellston Avenue is where McLemore, the second youngest of Sonya Reid's six children, calls home. On a mid-February afternoon, children step off a yellow school bus in front of an abandoned building. So many stray dogs roam the neighborhood that a teenager asks a visitor if he is from the animal control department.


McLemore says on any given night as many as 10 relatives, including siblings, nieces and a nephew, would sleep inside his home, which is smaller than 600 square feet. The home's only bed had three legs, with the other corner supported by a pile of books.

His home, McLemore says, was filled with love but little else. He remembers his mother working nights for a cleaning staff near downtown Busch Stadium. He remembers older brother Keith cycling through odd jobs fixing bikes, trying to make money to support the family.

But it wasn't enough. He won't forget the feeling of waking up knowing there was no food or beverage in the refrigerator, with none on the way those days. He says at times he would go one or two days with no food.

"It's a hard feeling just starve," McLemore says. "Dang, what are we going to do? Dang, how are we going to eat? How are we going to put food on the table?"

McLemore and younger brother Kevin would disperse throughout the neighborhood to cut grass, move trash, clean cars, fix motor scooters and bikes, anything that would yield a few dollars for hot dogs or Hot Pockets.

"You get those hunger pains," McLemore said. "I am so hungry. We don't have any food. What are we going to eat? Your stomach hurts. Then you get so upset and mad, like, no food. You start having tantrums and don't want to do anything. You get mad at everybody because you don't have any food. That's what happens when you don't eat. You are so sluggish. It's just bad, man."

McLemore says the only meals he sometimes had were the free ones at school. His mother, he recalled, sometimes made the difficult decision to sell food stamps in order to pay bills.

"Sometimes we would not have food so we could keep our lights on and have hot water," he says. "She had to sacrifice for that."

When the family did not have hot water, McLemore remembers one nightly routine: Fill the bathtub with cold water. Heat up bowls of water in the microwave, then run them to the bathtub to make the tub water lukewarm for baths. The warmth never lasted, he says.

McLemore says the family relied on candles when the electricity was turned off. They turned on the stove and hauled a kerosene heater to the middle of the room to stay warm. McLemore says family members would huddle in the room, covered in layers of clothing and blankets, sometimes able to see their own breath in the chilled winter air. Only when their bodies warmed, and their noses no longer felt icy, could they fall asleep.

All the while, McLemore vowed that he one day would give family members all the meals, heat and housing they wanted, and one day he would return to his impoverished community to rebuild playgrounds and help erect community centers.

He worked on his game at a famed local court, "The Spectrum," the same venue where his father once starred. He tirelessly worked on his outside shooting with Wellston High coach Jeff McCaw. And he learned how good he needed to be from another St. Louis high school player, Bradley Beal, now a rookie with the Washington Wizards.

But the priority in the community northwest of St. Louis was not what level of coaching McLemore was receiving or how his jab-step developed or how well he was being promoted.

"It was a unique situation," Self says. "Survival was the way."

***

McLemore's financial situation got worse in the spring of 2008. He was home with younger brother Kevin when police knocked on the door looking for his older brother Keith Scott, who was sleeping.

On April 27, 2008, according to St. Louis court records, Scott had unlawfully entered a home possessed by Hezekiah Smith with the intent to rob Smith of drugs and money. Smith, who had a dispute with a friend of Scott's, confronted Scott. They struggled over Scott's gun and Smith was shot, suffering "serious physical injury." Scott admitted to entering the home and the shooting, according to court records.

Then at 9:45 p.m. on May 4, 2008, according to court records, Scott and another man fired approximately 12 shots at a vehicle driven by Jason Staats, with three shots hitting the vehicle. Scott admitted shooting at the vehicle, according to court records.

For the first incident, Scott was charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and armed criminal action, all felonies. He pleaded guilty. For the second incident, Scott was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, both felonies. He entered an Alford plea.

Scott is serving a 15-year sentence in Potosi Correctional Center, which is 75 miles southwest of St. Louis.

McLemore, caught in a swirl of emotions, was 15 at the time of his brother's incarceration, but he knew that he must become the man of the house, ready or not. And he knew it would be years before he would again see Scott, whom McLemore considers a role model because of his infectious personality and because of how Scott helped support the family.

McLemore says the day he watched police take his brother away was worse than any pain caused by hunger or no heat.

"Not having food for a couple days, no lights, no hot water, I knew we could always get that back," McLemore says. "Taking my brother, I didn't know when I could get that back. I don't know when he will come back home. That was the worst feeling. And I am still feeling it. Each and every day."

At times, McLemore has cried. At times, he has wrestled with conflicting emotions over the fact that his brother's own actions caused his imprisonment.

"When he knew he did something wrong and I know he did it, I'd be like, 'You can't be doing that, you're the man of the house,' " McLemore says. " 'You've got your younger brothers and are not ready to step up. You keep making these little mistakes.'

"But when he was locked up, several people got killed in the neighborhood. Shots were fired. Maybe it was a wake-up call for him. So many murders in the neighborhood. So much stuff was happening. It was a good thing he was not out there. It could have been worse."

***

Few schools outside the Missouri Valley or Ohio Valley conferences pursued McLemore early in his high school career. But before McLemore's junior year, he attended Kansas' summer camp for top players. His performance attracted the attention of the Jayhawks coaching staff.

After that 2009-10 season, Wellston High became the second Missouri school district dissolved by the state because of poor academics. McLemore was off to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., and he ultimately transferred to Christian Life Center in Humble, Texas.

Declared a partial academic qualifier, McLemore had to sit out last season. Self said the NCAA ruled McLemore and Jamari Traylor had to prove themselves academically in the fall semester of 2011 in order to practice that spring semester. He said both earned GPAs above 3.0, allowing them to practice and give established Kansas standouts Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson all they could handle in those practices.

This season, McLemore became the first Kansas freshman to score more than 30 points in two conference games. Evan Daniels, the national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said McLemore was rated as a top-15 player at his position coming out of high school and was loaded with potential. "But I'd be lying to you if I thought he'd be this good," Daniels says. "I think it's a surprise to almost everyone."

That said, Brown, who coached Kansas to the 1988 national title, watched the Jayhawks' double-overtime victory at Oklahoma State on television, seeing McLemore turn nearly invisible in the final minutes. Brown calls McLemore a "phenomenal" athlete and "coachable as hell," but says he is a little fragile because this level of play, this stage, is all new to him.

"Danny (Manning) was a little like that," Brown says. "He didn't realize how great he was. You had to remind him all the time. Ben is like that."

Brown, now Southern Methodist's first-year coach, spent nearly eight weeks at Kansas last season, watching countless practices and getting to know McLemore and meeting his family. During home games, Brown relished the chance to sit with McLemore and answer any questions the teenager had about basketball or life.

"He loves life," Self says. "He loves getting up and going to class. He loves the camaraderie with his fellow students. He loves signing autographs. He loves taking pictures with fans. He loves it all. He is one of those kids who has enjoyed everything. The concern is that it will start to become overwhelming to him. Maybe it has started a little bit, I don't know if it really has or not. But I have not seen a kid enjoy being a college student much more than him."

Self said McLemore sat in his office a little over a year ago and told the coach that he was starting to really enjoy school and develop a confidence in learning. Self said the school's academic support staff almost has to run McLemore out of tutoring. He'll stay three hours and, when told to go home, will respond, "No, I've have not got this yet."

As Brown says, "If you ask Ben if he wants to stay at KU for four years, I bet he would want it in a minute. But he can't."

McLemore says his mother is unemployed. He says they are struggling financially. He says he tries not to think about that much and tries, sometimes futilely, to maintain focus on school and basketball. But he knows what lies ahead in June, and that his brother would somehow find a way to watch the NBA draft from his cell. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress says that in the wake of the knee injury to Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, McLemore will get strong consideration for the No. 1 pick.

McLemore talks to his brother as often as he can by phone. But he has visited him only twice, most recently on Keith's 26th birthday this past Christmas. McLemore, brother Kevin and older sister April Coleman brought all the chicken Keith could eat. They spent two hours before parting with a firm, long hug.

A couple weeks ago, McLemore received a handwritten letter from Keith, who cracked jokes, told McLemore about a new prison job and challenged him to remain positive and keep playing hard and with purpose. As soon as McLemore read it, he broke down in tears.

"Reading that letter," McLemore says, "I can see him talking to me face to face."

McLemore's arms are festooned with tattoos that chronicle a jarring life narrative. One arm prominently says "Brothers;" the other says "Keeper." Names of siblings and his mom are on each arm. And on his right shoulder is a picture of Earth. Half is a basketball, half is a map, with the Gateway Arch in St. Louis rising high.

"Best of Both," it reads in cursive.

As winter soon turns to spring, McLemore is a reluctant star caught between both worlds, striving to succeed in March Madness with his mind never far from a family that still calls that small house on Wellston Avenue home.

"It's a blessing to be in that house, and to have a house," McLemore says. "A lot of people don't have a house. My mom is proud of me. I just want to keep working hard so one day I can help my family. I am going to get a big house one day and we all can stay in it and eat."

happiness is a mediocre standard for a middle class existence - S. Williams

I don't not like you because you have dumb ideas about the world, I don't like you because you have other people's dumb ideas about the world. - Rjcc

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
coming out of HS, they said he was "top 15 at his position"
Mar 02nd 2013
1
Doesn't matter, though.
Mar 02nd 2013
3
I agree that the age requirement is dumb. I'm talking about him, though
Mar 02nd 2013
9
      You're being contrarian for no reason.
Mar 02nd 2013
13
RE: coming out of HS, they said he was "top 15 at his position"
Mar 02nd 2013
4
I think the college-to-pro system is wack.
Mar 02nd 2013
2
more like pay kids in college a decent stipend
Mar 02nd 2013
5
^^^ this.
Mar 02nd 2013
6
If Leon Powe's story didn't change it...
Mar 02nd 2013
7
the age requirement argument was deaded a long time ago
Mar 02nd 2013
8
Yeah, this is true. Doesn't mean we shouldn't complain though.
Mar 02nd 2013
12
the age limit will be going up before it goes away
Mar 02nd 2013
10
Dumbest post in a while.
Mar 02nd 2013
11
post #13
Mar 02nd 2013
14

KosherSam
Member since Mar 18th 2004
70131 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 01:42 PM

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1. "coming out of HS, they said he was "top 15 at his position""
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

that's not gonna get him drafted. not really sure how this specific case relates to the age requirement. By going to college, he's dramatically improved his draft stock, which will provide added guaranteed millions to his contract, helping him better provide for his family.

*Jews you*

"this is okp tho, reading is completely optional" (c) desus

Proceed with caution. I am overtly racist.

<-- In Pigpen we trust

  

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Orbit_Established
Member since Oct 27th 2002
52854 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 02:01 PM

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3. "Doesn't matter, though. "
In response to Reply # 1


  

          


Even if he was good enough, he was legally prohibited
from trying to feed his family

All so he can serve as a fundraiser for an NCAA program,
TV advertisers

Its really quite awful

Century from now we will look back on shit like this
and frown

----------------------------



O_E: "Acts like an asshole and posts with imperial disdain"




"I ORBITs the solar system, listenin..."

(C)Keith Murray, "

  

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KosherSam
Member since Mar 18th 2004
70131 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 04:43 PM

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9. "I agree that the age requirement is dumb. I'm talking about him, though"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

he wasn't banned from going to europe like brandon jennings did. but coming out of high school, he wasn't good enough.

i'm all for getting rid of the age requirement, but it wouldn't have helped this specific person, because he would likely have gone undrafted. by redshirting a year and then balling out this year, he's now likely going to be a top 5 pick and get a guaranteed contract for at least 20 million dollars.

*Jews you*

"this is okp tho, reading is completely optional" (c) desus

Proceed with caution. I am overtly racist.

<-- In Pigpen we trust

  

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Orbit_Established
Member since Oct 27th 2002
52854 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 06:25 PM

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13. "You're being contrarian for no reason. "
In response to Reply # 9


  

          


That elite blue chips college kids are living in destitute
poverty does further highlight why the rule is dumb.

Period.

That's independent of where this particular kid would have
been drafted.

That its even a discussion is further proof that the rule
is dumb.

----------------------------



O_E: "Acts like an asshole and posts with imperial disdain"




"I ORBITs the solar system, listenin..."

(C)Keith Murray, "

  

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final_prospect82
Member since Mar 21st 2007
1358 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 02:01 PM

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4. "RE: coming out of HS, they said he was "top 15 at his position""
In response to Reply # 1


          

2 things:

There's talk of increasing the age requirement

And

I was using him as a case study for high school to the pros. I was using situations like his from players whom are viable highs chool to pros prospects with similar situations

happiness is a mediocre standard for a middle class existence - S. Williams

I don't not like you because you have dumb ideas about the world, I don't like you because you have other people's dumb ideas about the world. - Rjcc

  

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Hitokiri
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Sat Mar-02-13 01:52 PM

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2. "I think the college-to-pro system is wack."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

The European system of sporting academies is far superior in my opinion. We'll never change over to that but...

--
"You can't beat white people. You can only knock them out."

"There is only one god and his name is death. And there is only one thing we say to death: not today."

  

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thejerseytornado
Member since Dec 24th 2005
26200 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 02:02 PM

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5. "more like pay kids in college a decent stipend"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

dude wants to stay in school but cant cuz his family needs money. give him a stipend and maybe he could and still help his fam.

-----------
It's only funny till someone gets mad. Then it's hilarious.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
84098 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 02:06 PM

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6. "^^^ this."
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

I'm not defending the age limit. Not at all. If he wanted to go, he should go.

But if he wants to be in school but can't afford to due to family circumstance, this is precisely what stipends should be in place to remedy.

We've seen countless kids jump too soon to the pros due to family money problems. (Duke famously had one in William Avery.) The NCAA's refusal to help kids who want to stay in school stay in school but continue to make money off of them is sad.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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SoulHonky
Member since Jan 21st 2003
25919 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 02:45 PM

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7. "If Leon Powe's story didn't change it..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

"Powe grew up in Oakland, California. His father left him when he was two years old. When he was seven years old, the family's house burned down and they were homeless for years. They moved more than twenty times within six years. He and his siblings were taken away from their mother by the state of California and put into foster care. Powe's mother died four days before he played in the state championship."

He then went to college and blew out his knee. But dude worked hard enough to rehab, be a second round pick, and stick around the league for a while.

----
NBA MOCK DRAFT #1 - https://thecourierclass.com/whole-shebang/2017/5/18/2017-nba-mock-draft-1-just-lotto-and-lotta-trades

  

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FromTheGo
Member since Feb 04th 2003
10606 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 04:02 PM

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8. "the age requirement argument was deaded a long time ago"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

If Kobe, Dwight, KG, LeBron, TMac, Jermaine O'Neal, Lou Williams, Andray Blatche, Monta Ellis, CJ Miles, Andrew Bynum, Josh Smith, JR Smith, Gerald Green, Dorell Wright, Al Jefferson, Shaun Livingston, Martell Webster, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudamire, Kendrick Perkins, Al Harrington, Rashard Lewis...Deshawn Stevenson....


...if their success and ability to be decent to HOF caliber players without college didn't factor into the age requirement, a few sob stories not gonna do anything.


http://s17.postimg.org/6r7bfqpnz/kyrieglass.jpg - They Call Him Mr. Glass

  

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Orbit_Established
Member since Oct 27th 2002
52854 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 05:10 PM

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12. "Yeah, this is true. Doesn't mean we shouldn't complain though. "
In response to Reply # 8


  

          


>...if their success and ability to be decent to HOF caliber
>players without college didn't factor into the age
>requirement, a few sob stories not gonna do anything.

Yeah, the age requirement is 100% a financial under the
table handshake between the NBA and NCAA and its a total
infringement on individual liberties

  

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BrooklynWHAT
Member since Jun 15th 2007
81392 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 04:59 PM

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10. "the age limit will be going up before it goes away"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

get used to it.

<--- Big Baller World Order

  

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Szabo
Member since Dec 16th 2007
2429 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 05:05 PM

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11. "Dumbest post in a while."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Wouldn't have been close to drafted out of HS.

  

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final_prospect82
Member since Mar 21st 2007
1358 posts
Sat Mar-02-13 06:30 PM

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14. "post #13"
In response to Reply # 11


          

happiness is a mediocre standard for a middle class existence - S. Williams

I don't not like you because you have dumb ideas about the world, I don't like you because you have other people's dumb ideas about the world. - Rjcc

  

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