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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Wayne Selden working hard for KU

Kansas freshman guard Wayne Selden soars in for a dunk during an unofficial dunk contest during warmups before a scrimmage.

Kansas freshman guard Wayne Selden soars in for a dunk during an unofficial dunk contest during warmups before a scrimmage.

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Next time you leave Allen Fieldhouse, try to make your ear zero in on the name Wayne Selden. Here are words I predict you won’t hear: “Potential.” “Flashes.” “As soon as he figures it out.” “You can tell he’s going to be really good.”

Instead, you’ll hear discussions about how hard he played, how good he was tonight, how many different things he did well that contributed to a victory.

Selden is all about right now, and that as much as anything is why he has such a bright basketball future.

A 6-foot-5, 230-pound freshman guard from the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Selden doesn’t claim to know it all about the game he loves, but he does have this much figured out: The more effort you put into every possession, the more rapidly you improve.

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, not a man given to hyperbole, wrote this about him after watching a Kansas basketball practice: “Selden is the hardest-practicing freshman I’ve encountered in more than a quarter-century on the college basketball beat.”

I repeated that observation to Selden.

“Wow,” he said. “That’s great. That’s great. I just feel like I have to push myself to the next limit and keep getting a level up every possession.”

He played 18 minutes in the McDonald’s All-American game, made five of seven field goals and totaled 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal. He was second on the team in scoring to current teammate Andrew Wiggins (19 points).

Those two freshman join junior point guard Naadir Tharpe, senior center Tarik Black and sophomore forward Perry Ellis in the starting five for the Jayhawks.

A hard-driving slasher, Selden has a knack for finding the open man when most in the gym don’t yet know he’s open. He’s built like Oklahoma State sophomore star guard Marcus Smart and in some respects plays a similar game. Smart plays point guard for the Cowboys, a position that would seem to be Selden’s NBA destination.

“I just consider myself a guard,” Selden said. “Whatever coach needs me to do is what I’m going to try to do to the best of my ability.”

Selden could make any team in America better, with the exception of the Harlem Globetrotters. Style points don’t interest him.

“My ball-handling’s gotten a lot better,” Selden said. “When I was younger, I used to dribble a lot. Then I went through a stage where I wasn’t really on the ball a lot.

“I don’t really do too many dribble moves. One move, two moves, go. I just like to contain the ball. I’ve never really needed a crazy handle on the ball. One dribble, swing it.”

A player after his coach’s heart.

If he’s dribbling, it’s with a purpose played out relentlessly. He tries to bring the same approach to defense every day in practice where he is surrounded by smaller and taller hard-to-guard athletes.

“This is the best gym I’ve ever been in,” Selden said. “Everybody brings it every day. Andrew White brings it every day. Naadir’s a leader every day. Black’s going after balls every day. The whole team is night in and night out competing. So it’s always good because the competition level is always high, and nobody is going to give anything to anybody easy.”

One of the players Selden brings it to also has not played his first college possession yet has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and was featured in GQ with a photo spread that includes him hanging shirtless from a netless rim. Does that make a competitor so driven as Selden want to bring it at Wiggins all the harder.

“No, definitely not,” said Selden, who went 1-0 against Wiggins in a high school game and 1-0 in an AAU game, by Selden’s count. “I want to go at him harder because I want all of us to get better, not because of all the accolades and stuff like that. I feel like he’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated, so we’re on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has a Kansas jersey on. He’s representing all of us.”

So is Selden. Based on his effort in practice, he’s doing a great job of it.

Comments

Greg Lux 5 months, 2 weeks ago

“Potential.” “Flashes.” “As soon as he figures it out.” “You can tell he’s going to be really good.”

That was exactly my feeling after last nights game .. Sorry but the Freshmen showed up last night and their is nothing wrong with that happening. First time on the floor in front of almost 17000 screaming fans for a Real Game ( yes exhibition games are still real ask any fan if they don't care if we lose ). He and AW both showed their nerves last night and why not? They are 18 years old and this is all new to them.... They will be fine but give them a little time.

Rock Chalk

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Glenn Moore Jr 5 months, 3 weeks ago

so can someone please tell me how I as a direct tv customer can watch the game? other than switching to time warner cable or ordering the college b ball package. I cant believe they wont show the game on direct tv satelite

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Chinese Laoshi 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Something that Selden said while ago excites me, " I am kind of athletic, but he (Wiggins) is really athletic." People are already think Selden is going to be great as a player this season.....and yet he is only "kind of athletic". Yes! 4 more days.

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Asad Zoberi 5 months, 3 weeks ago

While I have not watched Selden in action I'd agree with HEM here. But let's hope Mr. Selden can surprise us all and become a reliable D-1 PG if and when needed.

On a different note I really miss the regular posters on this site. While the stories put by LJW are great, without the commentary its not the same. It took me a few days to get over the whole Facebook drama but I am glad that LJW at least has another option now to post the comments without having to go through Facebook. I wish Jaybate, ICT and Konkey's of the world would come back.

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Jack Wilson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I've read the comments above. Has anyone ever seen Selden handle D-1 pressure? Self said he could be an "emergency" point guard. That's what Self has said.

There is a huge difference between dribbling it a few times with a few moves, and being a point guard. Last season, some folks did the same thing when Self was motivating Tharpe with some talk about alternative point guards -- suggesting KY, or Releford. As if you just put a player at the PG spot, and he's a point guard. I said that was silly then, and it's silly now.

And I disagree here with Keegan. It is nowhere near clear that Selden's NBA job will be as a point guard. Quite frankly, I doubt it. But I really don't care about the NBA.

Here, with coach Self, he needs and wants sure ball handlers. Guys that can dribble with incredible pressure, deliver passes to pressured wings, penetrate and dish .. guys that can create and make players better.

In September of 2012, Self specifically said he was searching for a "point guard" as part of the class. There is a reason for that.

Selden is exactly what Self said he is .. an emergency PG. That may be enough, as he evolves this season, to be a 6-8 minute guy there when Tharpe rests. But I doubt that. Mason or Frankamp will likely get those minutes. Mason looks the part.

If there is anything that is concerning, it's the back up PG spot .. in 2011-12, we had EJ to spell TT. Remember how horrific Tharpe was? Could you freshman candidates be that bad? Maybe. Seems to me that we have an 8+ man rotation, that includes Mason as the "+" minutes.

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Robert Robinson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

“I want to go at him harder because I want all of us to get better, not because of all the accolades and stuff like that. I feel like he’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated, so we’re on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has a Kansas jersey on. He’s representing all of us.” Quote of the year

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Charles Shirley 5 months, 3 weeks ago

If not Tharpe, Wiggins, Seldon, Ellis and Black then who?

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Jonathan Andrews 5 months, 3 weeks ago

TK: If you could expound in a future article on the seemingly widely held belief that Selden's ultimate position in the NBA is PG, I would appreciate it. I have heard this by most media outlets, and while it does seem "cool", it's doesn't ring true from the little I've seen of him.

As I've said all along, Wayne lands somewhere in the Terrence Williams - Andre Iguodala spectrum. Iggy is known primarily for dunks and defense, but he is a rare playmaker at the 2 spot. T-Will was a great 4-year utility wing for Pitino at Louisville, who ended up being a lottery pick but busted out due to his lack of a refined J. Those guys both have thrived in LIMITED EXPOSURE as the primary ball-handler and playmaker for their pro teams, but are NOT all-day, all-season PG's. This is what I see for Selden.

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Doug Cramer 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Got to admit...I've got a KU sports dot com Wayne Selden Kool-Aid IV running directly into my charodid.

Here's the thing...if this guy can run the point...why start Tharp ?

If we remember back to last year, Tharp had a long ways to go in order to get a team to the final four or national championship.

In my opinion...if we're gonna make a final four or national championship...we need Selden at point...and Tharp coming in off the bench.

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Greg Lux 5 months, 3 weeks ago

4 Days and counting ...... Finally almost here

Rock Chalk

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Bruce Beckum 5 months, 3 weeks ago

"(I) feel like he’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated, so we’re on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has a Kansas jersey on."

Does he? Every photo I've seen? Shirtless. JK. RCJGKU!

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Kevin Kunde 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Rotchurtz,

If you use poor grammar and or spelling when attempting to argue your opinion it becomes a complete moot point. You're trying to convince us of something and you can't even spell the guys name? Makes me think you don't pay to much attention in the first place.

The only fact here is you don't know how to spell. Not to mention this is an opinion article by Keegan.

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Ferd Magellan 5 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not at all a reach by Keegan to list that starting lineup. It doesn't take a CIA code-breaker to figure out that Self is likely going with those five guys first. Barring injuries that will be the lineup this year.

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Mike Rotchurtz 5 months, 3 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Chandler James 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I want to apologize to you Gary Bedore and you Jesse Newell. I know I was saying bad things about this site... but that was only because I missed some of the previous users... You have the best site for KU sports and i gladly will post my name so I can get Jesse's live updates of the game. The other sites they are trying to start are crap

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Suzi Marshall 5 months, 3 weeks ago

And he has great eyes and bod. You have to love Selden. Wiggins, Tharp, Ellis, Black, Embiid will all make their marks but Selden will be the golden boy before the year is out and going forward.

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