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  • CRAIG RUTTLE / Associated Press

    Ben McLemore, projected first or second in some mock drafts, said he wasn't disappointed to be picked seventh. "I'm just happy and enjoying this moment," he said.

  • Orlin Wagner / Associated Press file, 2012

    McLemore averaged averaged 15.9 points last season, a Kansas freshman record.

  • Joe Raymond / Associated Press file, 2012

    Ray McCallum, right, played for his father, Ray McCallum Sr., at Detroit, where he averaged 18.7 points and 4.5 assists as a junior. McCallum is a 6-foot-2 point guard.

Kings feel lucky at No. 7, draft Kansas guard Ben McLemore

Published: Thursday, Jun. 27, 2013 - 5:27 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Jun. 29, 2013 - 10:50 pm

Plenty of rumors swirled about the Kings' interest in Ben McLemore before the 2013 NBA draft.

General manager Pete D'Alessandro said McLemore was the top player on his draft board. Principal owner Vivek Ranadive was willing to pay to move up in the draft to select the redshirt freshman from Kansas.

And as the draft unfolded Thursday, a four-time NBA MVP chimed in with his opinion on McLemore as teams bypassed him.

"They sleeping on Ben McLemore," LeBron James said via Twitter. "Just watch."

The Kings hope James' words are prophetic and that six teams slept on McLemore, allowing Sacramento to select him seventh overall.

"Ben is a special player," D'Alessandro said. "He's someone our staff spent many hours watching, evaluating, debating. We debated about a lot of players, but the one player we were sure about as this process began (was McLemore)."

McLemore was projected as the first or second pick in some mock drafts.

"I'm not disappointed at all," McLemore said. "I'm happy where I'm at (No. 7). I'm just happy to have the opportunity to get picked by a team. I'm just happy and enjoying this moment."

McLemore said his relationship with James dates to his junior year in high school, when he met the NBA star at his basketball camp.

"We've got a real good relationship," McLemore said. "We talked a lot during the season, and he's given me a lot of advice and basically been my mentor. I definitely appreciate him for that."

McLemore averaged 15.9 points last season, a Kansas freshman record. He's a proficient outside shooter with good size at 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds.

McLemore made 42.0 percent of his three-pointers for the Jayhawks.

"Not too often do you get a guy who can shoot the ball as well as he can and is also the athlete he is," said Kings coach Michael Malone. "He brings two of those skill sets to the table, which is great."

Added Ranadive: "Ben McLemore, he was our dream choice right from the get-go. In fact, our GM here told me he had a hunch that he was going to get him, and we all laughed at him and said, 'What have you been smoking? Not a chance.' "

McLemore denied reports that he gained weight and was unimpressive in workouts.

"I feel like I was confident that I did great in all my workouts and definitely not out of shape," he said.

McLemore overcame an impoverished upbringing, which Malone said adds to his character. McLemore sat out his first year at Kansas as a partial academic qualifier, which he said helped him mature.

Malone had similar praise for Ray McCallum, a point guard who the Kings selected in the second round. He averaged 18.7 points and 4.5 assists as a junior.

McCallum played for his father, Ray Sr., at Detroit.

"We have just added two talented young men who will make this team better from a personnel standpoint and also from a cultural standpoint," Malone said. "They will help us immediately on the court and in that locker room."

The Kings' addition of two guards comes after they extended a qualifying offer to guard Tyreke Evans to make him a restricted free agent.

Evans was scheduled to appear at the Kings' draft party at Sleep Train Arena but said a meeting with his agent, Arn Tellem, could not be changed.

Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton and Jimmer Fredette are already part of the crowded backcourt.

MEET THE NEWEST KINGS

BEN McLEMORE

• Height: 6-5

• Weight: 195

• Age: 20

• Selected: No. 7 overall

• Position: Shooting guard

• College: Kansas

• Fast fact: McLemore set Kansas freshman records in scoring (589 points) and free-throw percentage (87 percent).

• 2012-13 statistics: 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists.

• Comment: McLemore is one of the draft's premier shooters and gives the Kings more size and athleticism in their backcourt.

RAY McCALLUM

• Height: 6-2

• Weight: 191

• Age: 22

• Selected: No. 36 overall

• Position: Point guard

• College: Detroit

• Fast fact: McCallum, a McDonald's All-American, chose to play for his father, Ray Sr., at Detroit rather than attend a big school.

• 2012-13 statistics: 18.7 points, 4.5 assists, 1.9 steals.

• Comment: McCallum adds much-needed size at point guard. He joins a crowded backcourt that figures to change before the season starts.

– Jason Jones

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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