Kansas freshman Ben McLemore was named to the Sporting News first team All American team yesterday along with Greg McDermott, Trey Burke, Mason Plumlee and fellow Big 12 freshman Marcus Smart. The Jayhawks have had their share of All American's over the years, but achieving that level of notoriety as a freshman isn't something that happens all that often.
Granted McLemore has been on campus for a year already and this is technically his second year with the program, but even the two most high profile players to sign with Kansas during the one and done era didn't really even come close to reaching this status. Xavier Henry was good, but he played on the Sherron show and was never the standout that McLemore was. Josh Selby obviously didn't reach his potential while at Kansas and left the University after a fairly underwhelming first year.
For his part McLemore is living up to every bit of the hype and potentially exceeding the expectations placed on him last year by Bill Self, Larry Brown and any other Kansas player or coach who spoke so highly of him on the practice court. As it turns out, every bit of that was true and the result is a top five ranking and mid season recognition as an All American.
At this point it's looking all but certain that McLemore will head to the NBA after this year. He'll provide a positive argument for Bill Self and his system when it comes to the one and done player. Kansas will have been better as a program this year because of him and McLemore will likely be a pretty memorable Jayhawk even after only playing this one year.
What makes all of this even more impressive and enjoyable is McLemore is doing all of this within Bill Self's system, he seems to be as much about team as anyone and it's clear he's enjoying the ride. It's the perfect one and done marriage between fan, player and program. Half way through the year he's an All American. Can that continue and can McLemore leave his stamp on a historical program putting his name next to so many other great players as a Jayhawk All American? Right now the sky seems to be the limit.