Not many freshman hit the ground running in college basketball quite like Ben McLemore has for the Jayhawks. Yesterday he added to the sizable legend he’s already started to build by taking home Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors. It is the first time he’s been named in such a fashion but it seems a forgone conclusion that he will earn the accolades a few more times before the 2012-2013 season has wrapped up.
He becomes the 23rd Jayhawk to earn the Big 12 Rookie of the Week label in the conference’s 17 year history and the first since Josh Selby back in 2010-2011. If McLemore “wins” it again he will match Selby’s achievement as a two-time Big 12 Rookie of the Week.
For McLemore, however, the 36 points and 13 rebounds he racked up in games against Richmond and #7 Ohio State are just a continuance of what he’s been doing since KU’s season opener against SE Missouri State on November 9th. In that game the talented freshman scored just nine points and pulled down twelve rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Since then he’s been in double digits every game and he’s done so while shooting a very impressive 48.8% from the floor and 40.8% from three.
He leads the Jayhawks, and all Big 12 freshman, in scoring with 16.5 points per game. If that wasn’t notable enough, McLemore trails only Baylor’s senior guard Pierre Jackson‘s 19.0 per game on the conference’s leaderboard.
Despite his youth and plenty of other options on a very talented, deep and experienced team, Ben McLemore has emerged as the team’s primary offensive weapon. When the team starts to slip or go into a funk, it’s McLemore that jump starts the scoring. He is, for all intents and purposes, the perfect complement to Jeff Withey‘s defensive presence and together they make Kansas a very dynamic and dangerous team.