It’s becoming old hat around these parts but another player on one of our local teams took home player of the week honors. This time around it was Kansas’ superstar freshman, Ben McLemore, that received the Big 12’s award on Monday. He became the third Jayhawk, joining Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, to capture the conference’s player of the week crown. When you add the three awards that K-State’s Rodney McGruder has taken home on his own, the state of the Kansas can claim six of the past eight Big 12 players of the week.
McLemore and the Jayhawks played two games last week. The first was a Wednesday home game against the Iowa State Cyclones. It’s this game that added significantly to the legend that Ben has been building this season and secured PotW honors. He scored 33 points in the 97-89 overtime win, but most impressive is the fact he did it on 10-12 shooting including a perfect six out of six from three. He was also 7-7 on free throws and turned the ball over just twice.
He followed that stellar performance up with ten points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal in 29 minutes on Saturday. On that day the Jayhawks won by 14 on the road against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. While McLemore and the rest of his teammates weren’t as sharp, it wasn’t a problem. They simply outclassed Tech on their way to a 60-46 win, though I’m sure we would have all preferred to see them playing at a higher level.
Between the two games McLemore scored 43 points on 12-19 shooting. He was 6-10 from three in a total of 69 minutes played and also had seven rebounds, three assists, four blocks and two steals. It was the best week of his young career, but amazingly he’s had others in the ballpark and there’s little doubt he will have several more before the year is over.
While the PotW honors are noteworthy, the bigger story is McLemore’s sprained ankle. Suffered in Monday’s game against the Baylor Bears the injury gave everyone who cares about the program quite a scare. The good news is that he’s already returned to practice and is expected to play this weekend.