Sacramento Kings’ Ben McLemore dishes hoops knowledge to local youth

Sacramento Kings shooting guard addresses campers at his first annual youth basketball camp in Rocklin, CA. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Ben McLemore embraces the grind. As a professional basketball player, the Sacramento Kings shooting guard enjoys the daily process of improving his craft. He understands there are no short-cuts, only hard work. On Saturday morning, the 21-year-old guard spent three hours of his day sharing that knowledge to a gym packed full of enthusiastic kids.

McLemore returned to Sacramento last week to prepare for the upcoming season, but also to host his first annual youth basketball camp at the Courtside Basketball Center in Rocklin. Cowbell Kingdom caught up with the second-year guard to discuss the experience as well as what he’s been up to since the end of Summer League in Las Vegas.

CK: I’ve been told this is the first ever basketball camp you’ve hosted in your career.

BM: In Sacramento, yeah. I had a camp in L.A., but this is my first big camp. It’s actually doing pretty well. I’m excited to have this opportunity to bond with these kids and experience something new.

CK: Where did the idea come from to do this camp and put this thing together?

BM: I did actually a ProCamp in Lawrence with Coach (Bill) Self, so I definitely was familiar with it and with the guys that ran it. I had the opportunity to talk to them and get it arranged. It’s a great opportunity because this is like my first big camp since I’ve been in the league. It’s doing good. We’re out here, having fun with the kids and they’re learning and they’re working really hard. They want to get better.

CK: What things have you been telling these kids today? And what things have they been asking you about being a professional basketball player?

BM: I just tell them to keep working hard – working hard on your game and to get better. It’s all about confidence and hard work and they’re working really hard today. We only got three hours to get better, so I told them just go out there and give it your all.

CK: Switching gears into basketball-related business, what have you been up to since Summer League? Where have you been spending your time this offseason?

BM: Man, working. Working, getting better. Working on my all-around game, just different specialties. I’m back here in Sacramento working out and here at the camp. Just getting ready man, getting prepared for the upcoming season and also training camp.

CK: When did you get back to Sacramento?

BM: Tuesday (Sept. 2nd).

CK: There are a couple guys already here working out. We caught up recently with your new teammate, Eric Moreland who told us Nik Stauskas, Ray McCallum, Sim Bhullar, Darren Collison and a few others are all back in Sacramento. You got a chance this offseason to spend a lot of time with your teammates and build some continuity. How big of a role do you think that experience will play in your guys’ performance this year?

BM: Even before we got to Sacramento, me and Darren Collison was working out in L.A. together, so we could get started early and get that chemistry with each other because we’re going to be in the backcourt. He’s running the show and I’m following his lead. It’s definitely a great opportunity for all of us to come together and work together.

Check in later this week for part two of CK’s one-on-one conversation with the Sacramento Kings shooting guard.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.