LAWRENCE — Ben McLemore began the season as an unknown quantity, a partial academic qualifier who was forced to sit out the 2011-12 season. More than five months later, McLemore, a redshirt freshman guard, is now Kansas’ all-time freshman scoring leader and a member of The Associated Press' second-team All-America squad.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
The All-America team, which was released on Monday, also featured KU senior center Jeff Withey as a third-team selection.
Sophomore Trey Burke of Michigan, who helped take down No. 1 seed Kansas in the Sweet 16 on Friday, and Otto Porter Jr. of Georgetown tied as the leading vote-getters for first team, while junior forward Doug McDermott of Creighton, junior guard Victor Oladipo of Indiana and junior center Kelly Olynyk of Gonzaga were the other players selected to the first team.
Freshman guard Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State got 11 first-team votes and 190 points, joining McLemore, Duke senior Mason Plumlee, Indiana sophomore Cody Zeller and Miami sophomore Shane Larkin on the second team.
The third team was seniors Jeff Withey of Kansas, Erick Green of Virginia Tech and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State and juniors DeShaun Thomas of Ohio State and Russ Smith of Louisville.
K-State senior Rodney McGruder and Missouri junior Phil Pressey both garnered honorable-mention honors as well.
McLemore led the Jayhawks with 15.9 points and averaged 5.2 rebounds per game, helping Kansas finish 31-6 and win a share of a ninth-straight Big 12 title. Withey finished with 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game in his final season at Kansas. McLemore projects as a top pick in this summer’s NBA draft, but he has yet to indicate his plans for the future.
Burke and Porter both received 62 first-team votes and 319 points from the same 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Voting was on a 5-3-1 basis and was completed before the NCAA tournament.
Burke, a 6-0 sophomore point guard, had an impressive individual season while running a team that, at times, had four freshmen on the court with him.
“That’s like a quarterback that’s got his offensive tackle’s a freshman, his wide receiver is a freshman, and his running back is a freshman, and he still leads them to wins,” said Wolverines coach John Beilein. “So he’s taken a lot on as far as leadership. Quiet leadership now, but it’s been huge for us.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.