Any examination of Ben McLemore, the basketball player, has to significantly involve Ben McLemore, the person. And as a terrific USA Today profile from earlier this year shows in difficult detail, McLemore the person has not had a very easy go to get to this point in his life.
McLemore grew up extremely poor in St. Louis. He bounced around to multiple schools, at first because his local high school was shut down by the city and then because he was kicked out of famed prep basketball program Oak Hill Academy (Va.). His older brother was incarcerated after pleading guilty to multiple felonies and is serving a 15-year jail sentence. McLemore couldn’t even practice at Kansas when he arrived on campus in the fall of 2011, needing to get at least a 3.0 his first semester just to work out with the team in the spring semester. His mother, as of this past spring, was unemployed.