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Top 30 Seasons Under Bill Self: #20 Ben McLemore 2013

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Southeast Missouri State v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The second ever one and done for Kansas, McLemore wasn’t exactly a true one and done because he redshirted a year, but we will go with it.

One of the first major volume 3-point shooters for Bill Self, McLemore shot 42 percent from three on almost 5 attempts per game. He also shot 55 percent from two on 6 attempts per game. It’s no surprise that with those numbers he ended the season as KU basketball’s all time freshman scoring leader.

McLemore also led the Big 12 in box plus minus in Big 12 play as well and was named to the league’s all first team.

Let’s get to the negatives: McLemore didn’t offer much outside of his shooting. He wasn’t a very good ballhandler, didn’t get to the rim enough, and wasn’t a very good defender either on or off ball. Among the 8 Jayhawks who played in 30 games that season, McLemore ranked 6th in free throw rate, and he ranked fourth among rotation players in assist rate. I will say McLemore ranked 3rd in the Big 12 in defensive win shares, although I 1. don’t trust defensive advanced stats for college much and 2. I think a lot of that was due to getting to play with Jeff Withey. However, I am willing to admit my eyes may have lied to me regarding his defense. Regardless, McLemore was a relatively one dimensional player.

But what a dimension to be good at. An accurate volume shooter is the most effective player to have on your basketball team. Being able to shot 40 percent from three on that many attempts (he was 7th in the Big 12 in attempts) is incredibly valuable and does a lot not just for his ability to score points but also for the gravity of the offense and opening things up inside for Jeff Withey. Still, his inability to handle the ball well or pass well meant Kansas had to do a lot of work to get McLemore the ball where he could catch and shoot (or catch alley oops), which I think is part of why Kansas had its worst offense in the Torvik era, ranking 29th in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Had McLemore been able to put the ball on the floor a bit more and get to the rim (he took 31.5 percent of his shots at the rim according to Hoop-Math.com, which is lower than Elijah Johnson that year and lower than any guard leading scorer except for Devonte Graham in 2018), it would have diversified his offense a lot more and helped the team as a whole. But I do think that undervalues what McLemore did individually. Among all Jayhawks since 2008 with a usage rate over 20, McLemore ranks 9th in effective field goal percentage and is first among guards and/or wings. He wasn’t a perfect player, but his season was plenty good enough to land him in the top 20.

Previous entries:

21. Markieff Morris 2011

22. Andrew Wiggins 2014

23. Jeff Withey 2013

24. Josh Jackson 2017

25. Marcus Garrett 2020

26. Travis Releford 2013

27. Perry Ellis 2015

28. Udoka Azubuike 2018

29. Wayne Simien 2004

30. Devonte Graham 2017

31. Malik Newman 2018

32. Wayne Selden 2016

33. Keith Langford 2004