McLemore, Tharpe settling in

After many long months of waiting, Kansas freshmen Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe at last touched down in Lawrence, Kan. this week, to get their college careers underway. With classes, workouts and pick-up basketball - a lot of pick-up basketball - on their agendas, the two newest members of the Jayhawks backcourt are ready to get to work.

Each student who arrives at the University of Kansas - athlete or not - is going to deal with those first days a little bit differently.

Some are just excited. Some are nervous, or maybe a little homesick. And it's understandable, because college is a big change.

To be fair to Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe, however, their situation might not be completely equitable. After all, not every college freshman is subjected to the scrutiny of a couple hundred screaming and cheering Kansas Jayhawks fans less than a week into their college careers.

"I was really a little bit shaken up," said McLemore, with a small smile, following Wednesday's traditional alumni scrimmage at Head Coach Bill Self's basketball camp. "That's the first time I'd played in front of a (Kansas) crowd."

To Tharpe, the crowd showed him yet again how much love Jayhawk Nation has for its basketball team.

"It just shows how much support there is, being at camp as well as campers' parents coming," he said. "It just shows how much support KU fans have."

The two freshman - McLemore from Humble (TX) Christian Life Center Academy and Tharpe from Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy - make up one half of Self's 2011 recruiting class. The other two - Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy forward Jamari Traylor and Wilbraham (MA) & Monson Academy forward Braeden Anderson - have yet to arrive.

Already, the newest members of the Kansas backcourt are getting settled in. With their first classes under their belt as of Monday, they're learning the ropes of Lawrence, Kan., the campus and every other facet of college life.

"It's been great," McLemore said. "Tyshawn and T-Rob, they've been showing me around, me and Naadir, so we pretty much know everything. We're locked in. Now it's time to move on."

Where basketball is concerned, that means hours of late night pickup games with the team and time spent in the weight room under the watchful eye of renowned strength and conditioning coordinator Andrea Hudy.

"We've been working with her every day, and she just pushes us," Tharpe said. "She pushes us hard, and that's what I need."

While their college journey is just beginning, both freshmen are happy it's finally underway.

"I'm just happy I'm up here now," McLemore said. "No more recruiting and all that stuff. I'm just here. Now it's time to get to work." Top Stories