The stressful NBA pre-draft process can rattle a player, but Ben McLemore doesn’t seem fazed. Leading up to tonight’s draft, the former Kansas Jayhawk has compared his game to Ray Allen, the Miami Heat sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer.
Putting himself in the same category as a legend like Allen is a bold move, but McLemore has reason to be so confident. In 2012, his redshirt freshman season, McLemore led the Jayhawks with 15.9 points per game and also hit 42% of his three-pointers. If he can maintain his athleticism and shooting ability, he can be a playmaker in the pros.
McLemore took a few minutes out of his autograph session at Champs Sports in Times Square on last night to chat with SI Kids about adjusting to the NBA game and his awesome pre-game dance at Kansas.
Q: You’ve got a lot of athleticism and your game looks like it could translate well to the NBA. What do you think will be the biggest adjustment for you at the next level?
A: I think it’s just being there, period. It’s a different level from high school, from college and the NBA. From college to the NBA it’s a bigger, different level and you’ve just got to have your mindset and be out there and play your game and just go out there and just have that work ethic.
Q: What about off the court?
A: Off the court, I heard a lot of [NBA] teammates don’t really hang out like [they do in college]. Its just practice and then that’s it, people are on their own thing. But at the same time I think college can help with that as far as you having friends, hanging out with your boy and things like that.
Q: You’ve said you like to play an up-tempo style. What kind of system would be the best fit for you at the next level?
A: A system, a team that gets up and down the court, transitions, get stops and little things like that. Like Kansas, we were an up-tempo team. We were going up and down the court, we knew our offense was going to come to us because we played defense pretty well.
Q: How crazy has the pre-draft process been?
A: It’s been crazy in the beginning, but now it’s wound down. I’m enjoying the process, I’m having fun with it. I’m happy that I’m here. I’m blessed that I’m here in New York and being able to walk across the stage soon, so I’m definitely enjoying myself.
Q:Your pre-game dance at Kansas got pretty popular online. Do you think it will stay with you in the NBA?
A: Yeah, I think it’s gonna stick. I did it today for an interview with ESPN and it was nice. It was nice that I stuck with that dance move.
Q: If you could have a dance competition with anyone in the NBA, who would it be and why?
A: I think it would be Shaq, just because he’s funny and he’s hilarious and his dance moves crack me up all the time. So I definitely would try to have a dance-off with Shaq.
For more coverage of the 2013 NBA Draft, check out the SI Kids blog!
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images