Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings had an uneven rookie campaign after being the seventh overall in the NBA draft. Though the high-flying guard played all 82 games and had his share of soaring dunks, he shot below 38 percent from the field and averaged only 8.8 points. Growing up in the Wellston neighborhood of St. Louis, McLemore endured poverty and his high school district being dissolved before he went off to prep schools and eventually the University of Kansas. McLemore played club ball with Washington Wizards guard and fellow St. Louisian Bradley Beal. McLemore talked about Beal’s playoff success and his own career at the annual Sports Spectacular, a charity event in Los Angeles that helps raise money to fight childhood obesity.


ThePostGame: What did you learn your rookie season?
BEN McLEMORE: I had a bunch of highs and lows trying to adjust to the NBA lifestyle. Coming from college to the NBA is a big difference. I think I was able to adjust perfectly, and even though I did have some ups and downs, that didn’t stop me from being successful in the NBA.

TPG: You have a pretty amazing story coming from poverty in Wellston, St. Louis and now being in the NBA. How has the journey been?
McLEMORE: It's been great. It’s been one of the greatest moments of my life just being able to say that I'm part of the NBA -- where I’ve always wanted to be since I was a young kid.

TPG: One of the other NBA players from St. Louis, Bradley Beal, had a pretty successful season. Have you been talking to him at all or watching him?
McLEMORE: We try to communicate the best we can, being from the same city, St. Louis. I really wouldn't talk to him during the playoffs because he's got to stay focused ... but at the same time, that's my guy.

TPG: How do you like having Shaquille O’Neal as a part owner of the Kings?
McLEMORE: I think it's a great opportunity for us, especially us young fellas that want to learn about the game, and him being in the league and learning so much throughout his time in the league. He can help us and spread the wealth.

TPG: What do you think you need to improve most in your personal game going into next season?
McLEMORE: Just my all-around game. Figuring out the game, figuring out where on the floor I like best. This summer's going to be a big summer for me, so I'm excited.