9 Players, 9 Days: Rashaun McLemore

NOTE: The sixth in a nine-part series on each of the Ball State men's basketball players, exclusively on ballstatesports.com through Nov. 9.

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Ball State redshirt freshman guard Rashaun McLemore literally wears his faith and heart on his sleeve.

Just above his right hand, a tattoo proclaims the Bible verse, "I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

McLemore used that strength to turn an unfortunate situation into a positive one.

He suffered a broken hand during practice on Dec. 29, 2006 and was forced to watch from the sidelines the rest of the season. With a smile on his face, he said his learning process was just beginning.

"I learned a lot from last year," McLemore admitted. "I watched my position and learned from their mistakes. The guys told me to watch my position because it could be me out there."

Mt. Zion Academy in Virginia has produced notable basketball stars like Tracy McGrady and Brandon Rush. Many Ball State fans may not know that McLemore is another star in the making from the same program.

"It's not a big deal to me," McLemore said. "I don't even worry about that. I just want to get out there and play."

When asked, McLemore said he models his playing style after Boston Celtics All-Star Paul Pierce.

"He's a big guard like me," McLemore said. "He can play the perimeter and he can play the post. He can post up on the big guys and take the guards on the perimeter."

This is good news for Ball State fans as the Cardinals will need a heavy mix of perimeter play and post play from their bigger guards. McLemore said he is up to the challenge.

"I consider myself a guard. But this year, with a small team, I may have to do everything. I told coach, just put my out there. I will do anything."

McLemore grew up playing football, and was the quarterback for his junior high football team. It was his brother who ultimately introduced him to the game of basketball.

"My brother put the ball in my hand and taught me how to dribble," McLemore said. "He was a football player, but he got me started in basketball."

Being a football quarterback may have helped McLemore's vision on the floor.

"As a quarterback you have to see everything. You have to know what the other team is doing. It's the same in basketball, you have to know the positions and where everyone is going to be."

Peyton Stovall is the unofficial "quarterback" of the Ball State basketball team this year. All the players speak very highly of Stovall, and McLemore is no exception.

"He's a real leader," McLemore said. "He really helped me during my injury last year. He kept telling me my time will come and just keep fighting through it."

Fighting is exactly what the Cardinals will be doing this year, and it starts with head coach Billy Taylor. McLemore shares the same respect for Coach Taylor as the rest of the team does.

"He's a teacher out there," McLemore said insistently. "He's laid back and never screams at us. He knows how to make us listen while respecting us at the same time."

McLemore may be more anxious this season to get on the floor and start playing than anyone.

"I'm very excited," McLemore said. "I haven't played in a game for a long time. My broken hand last year kept me out and now I'm just ready to start playing. Watch out for us. We are very close as a team and we carry that to the floor. We expect to win."

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