Ben McLemore, one of the three remaining unsigned ESPNU 100 prospects, committed on Sunday to Kansas over Missouri during the Next All-American Classic, which was played in Chicago.
Although Kansas was thought to be the leader for the small forward from Christian Life Center Academy in St. Louis, Missouri continued to make a strong push. But with former coach Mike Anderson departing for Arkansas and no new coach hired as of yet, Kansas took the lead for McLemore and was able to land the No. 49 overall player in the 2011 class.
McLemore is a special athlete who played inside early in his high school career but moved to the wing, where he excelled on the AAU circuit for the St. Louis Eagles and went from a virtual unknown to a top-100 player. What makes McLemore special is his athletic ability. He plays above the rim on the break and if a clear path on the baseline opens up, he will undoubtedly provide the crowd with a highlight. The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder has worked on his jumper and is a consistent open 3-point threat who loves to spot up in the corners when he is not slashing in between defenders and getting to the rim.
McLemore will be a great addition to the Jayhawks, who already have ESPNU 100 PG Naadir Tharpe (Worcester, Mass./Brewster), because he will provide them with an athletic scorer on the break, he'll help spacing for jumpers and stretching the floor on the side of dribble penetration. He is also capable of defending both wing positions in the Jayhawks' pressure man defense.
However, McLemore must add strength and really work to maintain his aggressiveness throughout the game, because when he's in attack mode he can have some dominating possessions. He reminds us of former Jayhawks wing Kenny Gregory athletically, but is a much better shooter. Under coach Bill Self expect McLemore to continue to develop and be a contributor as a freshman.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to 1990 and was an All-MAC first-teamer in his senior season. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.