Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McLemore Goes to Kings with 7th Pick in First Round; Former Wellston High Player Slips a Little Lower Than Expected

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McLemore Goes to Kings with 7th Pick in First Round; Former Wellston High Player Slips a Little Lower Than Expected

Article excerpt

The Sacramento Kings are taking another chance on a Kansas product with potential.

The Kings selected Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore (Wellston High) with the seventh pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, the first major move under the new ownership and basketball operations team.

More than 2,000 fans inside Sacramento's arena cheered when the Kings chose McLemore, though most of the purple-and-black faithful were just happy to be back in the building after the franchise almost moved to Seattle in May. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard gives the Kings an elite shooter and gifted athlete, though one whose ball- handling skills and ability to create his own shot have been constantly questioned.

McLemore comes to a Sacramento team coming off seven straight losing seasons but trying to rebrand itself under new owner Vivek Ranadive this summer.

"Seven is my lucky number," Ranadive said moments after the team selected McLemore. "When I was at the Warriors we got (Stephen) Curry, (Harrison) Barnes at seven, my birthday is on the seventh, the Mayor (Kevin Johnson) was picked seventh, he wore the number seven and we got the best player in the (draft) at seven."

The Kings also hold the 36th overall pick in the draft.

McLemore's pick could be particularly useful if the Kings lose combo guard Tyreke Evans this offseason. Evans, the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year who has been saddled with knee injuries and inconsistency ever since, is set to become a restricted free agent if he declines Sacramento's qualifying offer as expected.

McLemore also could complement center DeMarcus Cousins who is eligible for an extension this summer on the outside. While he's still an unpolished pro, McLemore has shown glimpses he could succeed at the NBA level.

The second-team All-American broke Danny Manning's freshman scoring record at Kansas while shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent from 3-point range. McLemore averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and two assists on a team that went 31-6 and won a share of its ninth straight Big 12 title.

"I want to come in and show everybody what I can do, because I know on the court I know what I can do," said McLemore, who wore a sharp suit and bow tie in Brooklyn to shake NBA Commissioner David Stern's hand on stage. …

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