Originally published June 8, 2013 at 01:09a.m., updated June 8, 2013 at 05:00p.m.

Selden: Nothing painful about process of picking KU

Wayne Selden, middle front row, sits behind the bench during Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. Selden was one of 24 players selected for the 2013 McDonald's All-American game.

Wayne Selden, middle front row, sits behind the bench during Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. Selden was one of 24 players selected for the 2013 McDonald's All-American game.


The recruiting process for five-star, Top 20-ranked high school boys basketball players can be long, drawn out, excruciatingly painful for those players, their parents and fans.

Not always, however.

“It was never stressful for me,” said Wayne Selden, Kansas University’s 6-foot-5, 220-pound freshman shooting guard from Tilton School in New Hampshire, who, instead of milking the process for months as the country’s No. 12-rated player, announced his commitment to Kansas University last Oct. 15.

That was exactly one day after the conclusion of his only official campus visit.

He revealed his decision to a handful of media members before his first class of the week at Tilton.

“I took the process slow. My circle was able to control it well. I was taking it as it goes and able to make my decision,” Selden said.

The McDonald’s All-American — he averaged 24.8 points and 10.1 rebounds a game last season — chose KU over Ohio State, Florida, UCLA, Syracuse and Missouri.

“It came down to a few schools. After my visit (for Late Night in Phog) I was pretty solidified I wanted to come here,” Selden said during a Thursday interview in Allen Fieldhouse. “My parents loved it. During the in-home visit, coach (Bill) Self had made the best impression on my mother, my parents. I wanted to come here.”

Selden actually committed to Self on the Saturday night of his weekend visit, but wanted to return to his hometown of Roxbury, Mass., with his parents so he could phone coaches of his finalists before making the news public.

Coincidentally, the only other freshman in KU’s recruiting class of 2013 who is ranked higher than Selden — No. 1 Andrew Wiggins — also had a low-key recruitment that ended with an announcement on Twitter, not on national TV.

“I was sitting in my dorm (at Tilton). We were all watching ESPN, flipping the channel. Somebody tweeted at me saying ‘Andrew Wiggins to Kansas,’” Selden said of the May 14 morning announcement. “Me and the guys in the dorm were excited. We knew how versatile a player he is and the athlete he is. He’s a great player.

“Before he decided, I was like, ‘We’re trying to win games, do this and that.’ When he decided to come here, I was like, ‘We’re REALLY trying to win games.’” Selden added.

Selden spent time with Wiggins during the weeks of both the McDonald’s All-America and Jordan Brand Classic contests

“He is quiet. Once you get to know him he opens up,” Selden said of Wiggins, a 6-7 small forward from Huntington (W. Va.) Prep, originally out of Toronto. “A bunch of people were pulling him different ways. The media always was in his face. Different players from different teams were trying to persuade him. I probably hinted at it once (that he should attend KU). I never put pressure on him. That can be stressful. I decided to let him take his time. It was his own decision.”

As far as the two players ... “We’re not too similar (on court). He is more of a freak athlete. I like more on-ball stuff. He is more catch and ready to go. He has a quick first step. I feel our games will blend well together,” Selden said.

Selden was asked if the addition of Wiggins takes a load off his own shoulders.

“I came here to develop. I came here to get better. I came here to win,” Selden shrugged. “That’s the big thing. Andrew will help me get better. Practice will be real competitive with all the new guys and returning guys. With the older guys like Tarik (Black, senior transfer from Memphis) coming in ... we all came in to develop and win games.”

Selden said he believes his natural position is shooting guard. He played some point in high school.

“I am willing to do whatever. I’ll play 4 if I have to,” he said of power forward. “I want to win and get better.”

KU coach Self likes Selden’s versatility.

“He’s powerful. He’s got a great frame,” Self said. “He can play the 2 or 3 and maybe even some emergency point. He’s big enough to post and defend the 4 if we decide to go small and he can make shots. He’s a strong kid. He has an NBA-type body. He’s explosive. He can put it down on the deck, make threes.”

Selden said his goal is to blend in and win games.

“I’m thankful I’ve been able to get this far, coming from the inner city, coming from Boston, going to prep school in New Hampshire. My journey has led me here. I’m thankful,” he said.

Selden on his first week on campus: “It’s been a great experience being with the guys, starting to blend with the guys, hanging with the guys,” said Selden, who rooms with frosh center Joel Embiid. “We’re trying to become one team now.”

... On his favorite moment in KU history: “Probably Mario Chalmers’ shot. That was big. I remember watching the game (2008 vs. Memphis). It was a big deal.”

... On KU workouts and pick-up games: “Naadir (Tharpe, junior) is being a great leader. All the returning guys are great leaders.”

McLemore on assertiveness: Former KU guard Ben McLemore worked out for the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday and spoke to the Arizona Republic about criticism he is not assertive on the court.

“Bring the ball up, control it, up-tempo, take control of the game,” McLemore said, referring to what he can add as a pro. “I could’ve done those things at Kansas but that’s just how the Kansas system is. I was just playing Kansas basketball. Now, I have an opportunity to play free and play my own game. I know deep down inside I can take over games. I know I have that dog in me to take over games.”

McLemore, who has had just one individual workout, is said to be slipping in the draft, ESPN indicating he will be available for the Suns at No. 5. The guard still has time to work out for some more teams and possibly move up before the June 27 draft.

Late Night on Oct. 4: KU’s 29th-annual Late Night in the Phog will be held the evening of Friday, Oct. 4, in Allen Fieldhouse, KU officials announced Friday. The event is usually held the Friday closest to Oct. 15. However, the NCAA recently moved up the start of fall men’s basketball practice by two weeks. KU will play a homecoming football game versus Texas Tech on Oct. 5.

“I am in favor of this because of this — injuries,” Self said recently of the early start date. “The way it is set up, you will get the same number of practices (30 before first exhibition game). Starting earlier means you could take more days off. I think that is very positive for everybody.”


Adam Gerval 8 years, 6 months ago

Wow. Selden just sounds like such a great kid. I'm extremely excited to watch him play.

Rio, you pissed away a golden opportunity. It's interesting to see this happen. You were the backup PG of an extremely talented team. Now, you'll fade away into obscurity because your incredibly inflated ego got the best of you. Say hi to Quintrell Thomas.

Jesse Johnson 8 years, 6 months ago

If by "golden opportunity" you mean warming the bench for another couple years, then yeah he had a golden opportunity here at KU. With how stacked KU is going to be from the 1-3 positions, he was going to have an even harder time cracking the rotation than his freshman year. I wish him well at UNLV and am excited for our new players coming in.

hawk316 8 years, 6 months ago

jesse, I'm with you. Although Rio is a talented player, competition for PT was going to be intense. Most players have a very small window to enjoy their experience in college athletics. I can't fault someone who transfers because they have a desire to get some significant minutes, as long as it is done in the right way, without burning any bridges. This seemed to describe Rio's situation.

I think this may turn out to be a "win-win." I, too, wish him the best at UNLV.

Bobby Burch 8 years, 6 months ago

“I am willing to do whatever. I’ll play 4 if I have to. I want to win and get better."

As a coach, there's probably no better attitude and outlook to have from a player. Seems like this team is full of a bunch of cooperative, team-minded athletes. Should be great to watch that on the court.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 6 months ago

It is interesting that UNLV is making a habit of catching our cast-aways.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 6 months ago

Besides the talent, this is going to be a great group of guys to watch develop. Great character from all of them.

KemDooKU 8 years, 6 months ago

Wonder why McLemore had to take a shot at Kansas and the system Bill Self runs- he had plenty of opportunities to take over the game and he did take over a few games last season - I know he is trying to make excuses to get drafted #1 but don't slam KU's system for your benefit - last time I checked you were a 30 ranked something kid out of high school and two years later you will be a lottery pick - I think Kansas system did you a great service - now cash those Millions whether your #1(Danny Manning) or #10(Paul Pierce) - note to Ben - it's the 2nd contract that you want to get - just ask Selby. Step up and dominate the NBA and you won't have to complain about KU system of holding you back - also the GM's know enough about basketball and listen to every word you say.

hawksince51 8 years, 6 months ago

Well said. Frankly, the criticism about him sounded pretty accurate to me. While he was a great shooter and defender, and pretty solid elsewhere, IMHO he is not ready to “Bring the ball up, control it, up-tempo, take control of the game,” in the NBA. Pretty tall order for someone with his ball-handling skills.

Ashwin Rao 8 years, 6 months ago

I agree... it was disappointing to see that McLemore took a shot a KU. It does not say good things about him. It makes him look like he is getting desperate.

John Randall 8 years, 6 months ago

Ben was talking about himself – fitting into Selfball, not about KU or anything else holding him back. He is also saying, "You haven't seen all parts of my game, yet." which is certainly true.

He was a great team player for KU and he deserves none of this "tell me only what I want to hear" crap coming from the likes of some spoiled brats who call themselves fans.

milehighhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

C'mon kids, it's the draft.

Ben still loves KU, these are just the kind of things that need to be heard by NBA GM's.

Eric Williams 8 years, 6 months ago

Quick question - did Ben publicly voice displeasure with Bill's system during the season? Did he go rogue and do whatever he wanted during games? Did he ever say he cared more about his personal stats than team success?

The answers are all No. He showed his support for KU by sticking out a forced red-shirt season and being a team player. It's true that he played Kansas basketball, but it's also okay for him to say he thinks his skill set is suited to a different style. Time will tell.

Ben did not slander Bill or Kansas. He never said he regretted going to Kansas.

Ethan Berger 8 years, 6 months ago

I took it completely different then a shot. He wasn't blaming KU, he was pointing out it wasn't his job. At KU, you don't need 1 guy to dominate. It is the system, he knows the nba is less organized.

DDDHawk 8 years, 6 months ago

I don't think he was taking a shot at KU at all. He was just saying he was playing within KU's system. Give the guy a break.

Bobby Burch 8 years, 6 months ago

Ben does indeed love KU and Self, however, this comment, as we all know is about the $$$$

actorman 8 years, 6 months ago

I also found it a little bothersome, although I don't think he necessarily meant it as a shot at KU. I think he's saying what he has to say to get drafted as high as possible. Still, he probably could have put it better ...

Michael Gentemann 8 years, 6 months ago

That photo has been posted many times. Could anyone please name the faces in the crowd?

jayhawkinATL 8 years, 6 months ago

Aaron Gordon, Frankamp, Selden, don't know, and Embiid, I believe.

dylans 8 years, 6 months ago

The dude in black looks like Dakari Johnson.

Robert Brock 8 years, 6 months ago

Mac had better worry about playing at all and not worry about taking over games. If you are a 2 and you don't have handles and don't play defense you tend to sit in The League.

dylans 8 years, 6 months ago

Umm, when did they start playing d in the league? Defense isn't played until the postseason and the team drafting BMac won't make it their for several years(judging by high draft position).

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 6 months ago

I didn't get the inference he was really bashing KU and Self but just stating it wasn't his job to bring the ball up and control it. Those are facts people and not criticism.

However, his recent comment of being able to drive the bucket is funny as everybody knows he didn't do that. He does need to learn to drive/control the ball.

I'm not going to hate on Ben as he was the ultimate teammate. I just want him to enjoy the NBA and not have his family use him but quite frankly he seems hell bent on giving them alot.

Selden is the ultimate type of kid we need at KU. This class is poised to be one of the best ever for Self. Totally selfless and all about team ball.

Brandon Deines 8 years, 6 months ago

I don't think Ben's comments mean much. This is SOP for prospects trying to address their weaknesses to teams.

jayhawkinATL 8 years, 6 months ago

BMac is still a solid top-2 pick. and Jay Bilas (of ESPN) still have him as no. 1. has him at no. 2. Just going by ESPN (Chad Ford) and saying he's dropping is flat-out ridiculous!

Brianna Zaleski 8 years, 6 months ago

Doesn't Chad Ford have some sort of an affiliation w Mizzou? It seems like there are a few Tigers at ESPN and explains some of the routine slights to KU.

Greg Lux 8 years, 6 months ago

SOP or not. Blaming KU for his short comings is not going to help him endear himself to the Kansas fans around the country and there are a lot of them A LOT. HCBS begged Ben to be more assertive and Ben many times hid in the corner. WHY? Ask Ben but my guess is he didn't trust his ball handling skills, he didn't like missing bunnies, and last he was young and loved the excitement of the crowd when he hit a 3 or made a dunk. Ben you have a great future ahead of you but quickly learn that the faster you accept your weakness and address it the faster you will mature as the star you are able to be. But PLEASE don't blame others or the system for your failures. Best wishes your always a Jayhawk embrace it.

Rock Chalk

skragglydoo 8 years, 6 months ago

Let the kid say what he needs to say right now.

TexiCaliHawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Ben is an incredible talent who (still) has a very high ceiling, but other than a few games where he went off shooting the ball (along with a few classic 'poster-izing' dunks!), he did not have the ability to 'take over' a game like a Marcus Smart. I'm sure you remember the final 4-5 minutes during the O-State game at AFH after we stormed back to take the lead -- Smart made all the right plays on both Offense and Defense to take the game back for the 'Pokes. At this stage in his career, Ben is more like a Ray Allen-type of shooter/scorer with the ability to drive/create yet to come once he improves his handles going left & right. Ben will be fine; however, as has been mentioned in many posts, he must now go out and DO something with his opportunity to take his Lottery Pick status and 'earn' his NEXT contract.

Greg Ledom 8 years, 6 months ago

BMac wasn't taking any shots at KU, he was simply stating the facts. No harm no foul. Good luck Ben.

Ben Fletcher 8 years, 6 months ago

cant say i totally agree. while he was being truthful, and Kansas is (and rightfully should be) the ultimate incarnation of team ball, i seem to recall about a dozen times last year where Self was quoted as pretty much begging Ben to take over games, be more aggressive, attack. Ben himself said it in a few interviews. so yah, he was playing the Self game, but it is clearly on him that he didn't take games over when asked/told/begged to. all said, it was a bit of a slight. he's trying to keep from slipping and is saying what is needed to be said for his purposes. don't think it'll have too much of an effect on future recruiting. the guys that would care about being the #1 option all the time, we don't want anyhow.

John Randall 8 years, 6 months ago

HCBS' normal style with freshmen is to "break them down and build them up again," sort of like a wild young bronco off the range. With Ben, the breaking went better than the building. Messages got confused.

hotrodm 8 years, 6 months ago

Agents coach these kids to say what the agent thinks will move them up in the draft. They teach them to blame their weak points on past coaches, systems, etc. Ben is just saying what he is coached to say. No Big Deal.

DrPepper 8 years, 6 months ago

No. Ben's comments are fodder for opposing NCAA coaches when they are out recruiting. No way those coaches also quote the 62 times Bill Self has told the media that he wants Ben to be more aggressive. Why can't he just say he is young, has upside, wants to develop, and will work hard everyday to get better.

REHawk 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm happy to read that Rio appears to have landed in a program which someday can showcase his talents. Here's hoping he gets his academics in order, stays healthy and free from Twitter fiascos, and eventually shines. No doubt, he has the athleticism to do well in a highpowered Div. 1 program.

REHawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Wayne Selden seems to be one very solid freshman recruit. I am excited to follow his development at KU. If this squad advances to the Final 4, he and his roomie are bound to be hounded with NBA chatter. I'm hoping to see each of them spend at least 2 seasons in Jayhawk singlets.

Hurinfan 8 years, 6 months ago

I don't know who Ben is kidding. He was probably the 2nd to last person on the team I wanted bringing up the ball and controlling tempo. Also there were plenty of times in late games where he could've taken over and didn't or just disappeared on the road.

otaKU 8 years, 6 months ago

Anybody else think that Selden is comparable to Deron Williams?

almostesoteric 8 years, 6 months ago

Reminds me much more of Mitch RIchmond. Selden might be a little more explosive. (In fairness to Mr Richmond I never got to see him play when he was 18. He might have been a bit more "bouncy" back then.) Both stocky, strong players. Looks like Selden knows how to get to the rim.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 6 months ago

Is it ok fellow Jayhawk fans to say Rock Chalk Blackhawks for the game tonight?

aerohawk 8 years, 6 months ago

I know what you are talking about, but don't think it is a great idea. Rock Chalk has nothing to do with Chicago, Illinois or Hockey.

actorman 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm with you, aerohawk, as that seems pretty sacreligious to me. Where would it end: Rock Chalk Atlanta Hawks; Rock Chalk Marshall Falk, etc.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 6 months ago

Wiggins apparently skipping the team Canada stuff and coming to campus next week.

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