McLemore, Oladipo, Ledo declare for draft
Ben McLemore is one and done at Kansas. Ricky Ledo is none and done with Providence.
McLemore, Kansas’ talented freshman guard, was among several underclassmen who wasted little time in declaring for the NBA draft on Tuesday, the day after the college season ended.
Ledo, Providence, R.I., native, practiced with the Friars this season but never played because he failed to qualify academically. Practice was enough, apparently, to make him a possible first-round pick.
Indiana All-American Victor Oladipo announced he was giving up his senior season to enter the draft. New Mexico’s Tony Snell also announced he was going pro.
The father of Louisville guard Russ Smith, who helped the Cardinals win a national title by beating Michigan on Monday night, says his son will also enter the draft.
In Lawrence, Kan., Jayhawks coach Bill Self said he’s known for a while it was time for the 6-foot-6 McElmore to go.
“Ben kept telling us in February, ‘Don’t worry about getting anybody else. I’m coming back,’” Self recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, right. You want to make a public announcement?’ … If he told me he wanted to come back, I would have told him, ‘We need to look at this again.’”
That’s because McLemore’s stock couldn’t be much higher.
The second-team All-American is expected to be a lottery pick in June after breaking the Jayhawks’ freshman scoring record held by Danny Manning. McLemore averaged nearly 16 points for a team that went 31-6 and won a share of its ninth straight Big 12 championship.
“My mom, we talked, my family, talked to the coaches, and I made the decision that I’m going to enter the NBA draft,” said McLemore, who had several family members on hand at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I think it’s the best opportunity to help me and my family out,” he said, “and even as a kid, that’s what I wanted to do. I have an opportunity to provide for my family.”
McLemore was forced to redshirt last season when he was declared a partial qualifier by the NCAA, but he made the most of his only season in Lawrence. With a dizzying array of dunks, a silky smooth outside shot and a boyish grin, he quickly became one of the school’s top players.
Ledo, another 6-6 guard, said “he could not pass up this opportunity to enter the NBA draft now.”
In September, the NCAA ruled that Ledo could not compete in games for the Friars in 2012-13, but he did practice and work out with the team during the season. So the NBA scouts came to practice to get a look at Ledo.
A top-25 high school prospect, Ledo spent time at four different programs in five years of high school before receiving a scholarship from Providence.
Oladipo made his announcement at a news conference in Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. He was the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer, averaging 13.6 points to go along with 6.3 rebounds per game.