Ben McLemore Recalls Thrilling March Memories

March brings back a flood of vivid emotion for the Sacramento Kings guard.
by Stephanie Lovell

In college basketball, excitement and heartbreak are the name of the game during this time of year. For Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, his memories come in a bit of a different package.

“Making the tournament, finishing my time being there, and just being able to play on that circuit, it’s just unbelievable,” McLemore said. “The atmosphere, the fans there. Playing in Kansas is a big atmosphere and it’s a great feeling.

“A lot of guys in this (locker) room have been to the tournament, had that experience and will always be excited for the month of March...” McLemore continued.

Redshirting his freshman year, McLemore didn’t see a lot of playing time when he first joined the Jayhawks. Despite limited minutes, he still found a way to contribute, providing moral support and encouragement to his fellow teammates.

“My favorite memory (was) my freshman year when we made it to the championship game,” the fourth-year Kings guard said. “Even though I wasn’t playing, it was the greatest experience just to see my teammates go out there and compete, make it all the way to the Final Four and then to the championship game to play against Kentucky. It was a great memory and a fun moment.”

Reminiscing on his past, McLemore acknowledges that one doesn’t have to be on the court to be swept away by the experience of the tournament.

“I wasn’t playing, but it felt like I was,” he said. “Being there, making the Final Four, beating Ohio State and making it to the championship game, that there itself was fun and exciting. I thought, ‘I can’t wait to get there again next year’.

“It pushed me even more (the following season),” he added. “The energy, excitement, fire and thrill just to be like ‘Hey, I’m gonna have it. I’m gonna go through the experience again.’ It definitely is fun.”

Looking back on his college experience, McLemore acknowledges that his time at Kansas has an impact on him to this day. Even though it’s been more than four years since he last rocked chalk as a Jayhawk, the Kings guard still fondly recalls the many moments he enjoyed as part of the KU family.

“As a player, just playing the game of basketball you like to think about what you did in college, the atmosphere and the (motivation) you had,” McLemore said. “You probably watch some film from back in the day, just to get that (inspiration) to go out here and perform on a daily basis.”

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