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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kansas freshman Josh Selby focused on team goals during recent struggles

Kansas guard Josh Selby (32) and Elijah Johnson (15) talk during a couple of free throws during the first half on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Kansas guard Josh Selby (32) and Elijah Johnson (15) talk during a couple of free throws during the first half on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

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Kansas defeated Oklahoma State 63-62 in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

— For about a minute during Thursday’s 63-62 victory against Oklahoma State in the second round of the Big 12 tournament, Kansas University guard Josh Selby had it going.

Selby, KU’s freshman phenom from Baltimore, has endured an erratic run through his first season of college basketball. But for a brief moment Thursday, Selby looked more like the player KU saw against USC in his debut last December and less like the player who has scored 29 points in his last seven games.

With 3:13 to play in the first half, and KU trailing 37-30, Selby took a pass from Markieff Morris behind the three-point line and buried the shot. The success on offense inspired better effort on defense and on the next offensive trip, Selby caught another pass and let another three-pointer fly. It missed, and Selby’s day basically was done. He played just three minutes in the second half — 11 for the game — and finished 1-of-3 from the floor with one foul.

Though his play has not matched the insanely high expectations placed upon him, Selby seems fine with his current reality. The main reason?

“I was a little frustrated at first,” he said. “But I put all the individual accolades aside. It’s all about the team right now, and I want rings. So, if we’re winning, I’m cool with it.”

The words Selby utters aren’t just lip-service. Though he’s fallen from his status as a sure-fire NBA lottery pick, he walks with the same strut and exudes confidence. Perhaps the gray T-shirt with black lettering he wore in the locker room after Thursday’s victory offered a glimpse as to why. “Life Is Too Short ... ” it read.

Perhaps more important than Selby’s view of things is the way his teammates look at him.

“He’s slumping now, but there’s gonna be a time when he’s gonna be an integral part of what we do and today he hit that big shot,” senior guard Tyrel Reed said. “He’s finally getting back into a rhythm, with practice and everything. You can see it. And I’m looking for him to step up and do some big things.”

Added senior Brady Morningstar: “He’s been through so much stuff this year, it’s tough to really even say what he’s going through. But, as a teammate, when he’s out there on the court, he’s just one of five guys that have to come together, and I know he’s a scorer, so when I’m out there with him, I’m trying to get him the ball.”

Though Selby said he and KU coach Bill Self had not talked specifically about a role change, the 6-foot-2 guard said his focus was on being ready when called upon and savoring his first taste of postseason basketball.

“If we lost, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it,” Selby said. “But I’m enjoying it now because we won.”

As for his future beyond his freshman season at Kansas, Selby said that’s not even on his radar.

“I was thinking about it before. Every kid thinks about it,” he said of the NBA. “But I’m not thinking about it now. I’m working hard to try to get these rings. I want our seniors to get theirs before they leave. So as long as we keep winning, I’m good. That’s why I always keep a smile on my face and cheer for my team.”

Comments

masonhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Good article about Josh. Keep your head up and just focus on making the team better and the scoring will come. Jayhawk nation is behind you and your teammates all the way!

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Jonathan Allison 3 years, 6 months ago

That's the spirit! Your time will come! Just keep practicing hard and playing harder. Play within the offense, take the open shot, and give your all on defense, but most of all enjoy the ride. Guys were playing tight today, I think that the post-season jitters were kicking in. At KU especially, the expectations can get to you if you let them. So don't let them.

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Clarence Haynes 3 years, 6 months ago

Life deals difficult cards to play with! Hang in there Josh!

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Funhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Wonder if Josh is still wearing the boot on his injured foot.

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ajhk 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow! Scouts take note of the great attitude (for next year's draft). Good going Josh.

Not many, if any #1 rated players out of high school would have the same attitude given the same circumstances.

We all know you have great ability. Play this year out to win, Hudy-ize in the off-season and kill it next year.

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cobweb 3 years, 6 months ago

Be patient, kid. It will pay off big time.

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matlockhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

I really like the young man, but there is no way ready to match up against players in the NBA. I would hate to see him fade into oblivion like so many others in recent years (Wright, Aldrich, Arthur, Henry, etc.). He should stay long enough for his body to grow strong, his skills to develop, and his decision making to improve. One year more (maybe two) and then do a progress check. At the moment, he is just another forgotten name at the end of the bench.

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jhawklifer 3 years, 6 months ago

Wright may be fairly labeled a bust, and it's too early to tell about Cole, although I agree early returns are not encouraging. As for Henry, he's a part of Memphis' rotation as a rookie, and Shady, well....

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/playerbreakingnews.asp?sport=NBA&id=1490&line=155666&spln=1

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jhox 3 years, 6 months ago

Let's be honest, he's not at full speed. The player we saw just before the injury is the real Josh Selby, and he is definitely a pro prospect. Josh has just had a tough luck year, first having to set 9 games. By the time he just started hitting mid season form he was injured

I'm not sure I agree with your comment that he's not ready to match up against players in the NBA. I think a healthy Josh may well do fine in the NBA, maybe not star, but possibly contribute. However, he will improve his draft position by coming back another year, no question about that.

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lee3022 3 years, 6 months ago

I follow the NBA closely. Wright, Henry and Arthur left too early although Arthur has started a few games and continues to be productive. Henry had been starting for Memphis but sidelined for a couple of weeks now. He is ok for a rookie. It does take time. Paul Pierce took several years before he started playing as a star. As for Cole, he is is a good place to learn and develop. Centers do not step into big roles in the league unless with a bad team. Cole now has Perkins ahead of him at OKC but this is a a good mentoring situation for Cole. He will play next year (as a reserve). He could be the next Jayhawk to win an NBA ring.

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JJHawq 3 years, 6 months ago

Pierce was runner up for rookie of the year behind Vince Carter. He had a great rookie year.

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KU_Dropout 3 years, 6 months ago

May the power of Jimmer compel you!

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milehighhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

matlockhawk -

Agree it is too early for Selby but disagree with your list.

Arthur has had at least a couple 20+ point games this year (and I barely follow the NBA), and I think it's WAY too early to write off Henry. I would agree Cole has had issues transitioning to the league, but don't think those could have been remedied with another year at the college level.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

And Cole is a rookie. There aren't many rookies that are making significant contributions by the middle of their first year. That's especially true when your style of play doesn't match up well with the team that drafted you.

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PhogAdvisory 3 years, 6 months ago

Great attitude! Glad to hear he's keeping his head up! I was happy to see that smile of his back after he made that three today, even if it was just for a second.

I really hope he sticks around for another year. He was starting to really gel with the team before his injury. I can only imagine (and drool) at the thought of how much of an asset he'd have been if he'd been able to play for more than half a season.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

Brady also needs to remember Mario's challenge and realize that he has plenty of scoring ability as well. Everyone needs to be ready to step up when the opp/opening arises for the team to be successful.

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RockCaCO3 3 years, 6 months ago

Pretty mature attitude for an 18-19 (?) year old.

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Brian Powell 3 years, 6 months ago

next year, with his health and a year under his belt and a bigger role on the team, he's gonna esssssplode! watchmenow!

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63Jayhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Matlock, Darrell Arthur is playing pretty well right now. He is receiving significant minutes and is scoring (e.g. 20-21 points in recent games). Henry is injured.

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HawkNVegas 3 years, 6 months ago

Josh I'm glad your maturity is coming along during a season you expected to be different from a personal achievement standpoint. You hold your destiny in hand, and the NBA will watch attitude as much as talent displayed on the court. Keep your head up, we Jayhawk fans would love to see as many years of you as we can get. If you stay a couple more years your body will go through the same expansion that your upperclassmen teammates have gone through with the athletic off season workouts the basketball players get. Rock Chalk, we support you 100%, we know it hasn't been what you expected, but having a positive attitude is the right way to be!

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Vroo 3 years, 6 months ago

Josh - Hope you're reading the positive energy here. If you have any doubts about where you'll be in the future look at the stats for your teammates' freshman years. You'll go far with a team attitude as will your team.

Jayhawks are #1 in assists per game yet not a single player is in the top 50. That means that everyone is a team player.

http://www.ncaa.com/stats/basketball-men/d1/current/team/216 http://www.ncaa.com/stats/basketball-men/d1/current/individual/140

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jayhawktalk 3 years, 6 months ago

As contradictory as it may seem, the best, quickest and easiest way for Josh to come out of his slump and be more personally successful is exactly what he's doing - worry about team first, and self as a distant second. It will free up his mind, and everything will come more easily. Too much introspection, self doubt and counterproductive self-criticism become a vicious cycle that can be difficult to escape.

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RockChalk26 3 years, 6 months ago

Man, I love this kid's attitude!

You will find your stride Josh, just give it time and let the game come to you.

RCJH!

March Madness is upon us!

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