Playing four nights a week against grown men and being counted on for 20 points a game doesn’t rattle Ben McLemore.

Not being allowed to play an entire winter? That rattled McLemore.

That was his freshman year at Kansas, after he attended two different high schools – Oak Hill Academy in Virginia and Christian Life Center in Texas – as a senior. The NCAA ruled him a partial qualifier, meaning he had to sit out a year from competition and couldn’t even practice until spring semester.

It was depressing and disorienting. But rather than transfer McLemore toughed it out. He was so good as a sophomore – averaging 15.9 points per game, and shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range – that the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is now a contender to be the top pick in June’s NBA draft.

He doesn’t begrudge the NCAA for ruling the way it did. In the long run, the NCAA did him a favor.

“That redshirt year became a blessing. I was either in the gym, working with the coaches, or studying,” McLemore said Friday at the Draft Combine. “The next year I was ready to show what I could do.”

McLemore came from poverty growing up in St. Louis. He lived in a 600-square-foot house with as many as 10 relatives. His older brother is in prison for a break-in and a shooting. McLemore has promised to move his younger brother, a high school senior, wherever the NBA sends him, to ensure the kid has a better life.

Throughout a chaotic childhood he questioned if he would ever get a chance to express his basketball talent. During high school, he could be particularly quiet, seemingly unassertive.

Not anymore.