Monday, June 29, 2015


Column: Wayne Selden Jr. shows board potential

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) flexes before the crowd after a three during the second quarter of Friday's World University Games exhibition at Sprint Center.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) flexes before the crowd after a three during the second quarter of Friday's World University Games exhibition at Sprint Center.


Kansas University junior Wayne Selden Jr. has the strength and quickness advantage on most college basketball small forwards, yet he had such poor offensive rebounding numbers his first two seasons.

Why? Because Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr., KU’s small forwards the past two seasons, had better physical gifts for crashing the offensive glass. Selden, who played shooting guard the past two seasons, had to retreat to the defensive end when shots went up.

“We dissected last year’s season a lot,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after his team completed a two-game sweep of Canada in preparation for the World University games in South Korea.

Much of that time was spent trying to figure out how to make the most of the skills and intangibles Selden brings to a basketball team.

“Wayne was our second handler last year, and the year before he was our second handler,” Self said. “And now the way we’re playing, he’s our third handler. So he doesn’t have to be on the ball. He doesn’t have to do some things.”

One of those things is balance the floor by getting back on defense. Now he can crash the glass, and he did that well vs. Canada. Self said that when on the floor with Wiggins or Oubre, Selden didn’t go to the offensive boards, “nine out of 10 times.”

“You’re in with Nic (Moore, filling Devonté Graham’s role in South Korea) and Frank (Mason III) now that adds something to his game because now he’s an offensive rebounder,” Self said. “Just little things like that will help him.”

Selden’s sophomore slump followed a solid if unspectacular freshman season. He particularly struggled to finish drives to the hoop, sometimes taking off too far out in order to try to complete a throw-back dunk. At other times he came flying in and put up a shot without taking aim. He noticeably slowed himself down to finish with accuracy in the exhibition games against Canada. He did so multiple times to avoid charging fouls at Sprint Center, even though an impressive crew of referees blew a call against him, whistling him for an offensive foul.

“He looks more explosive than he has the last two years,” Self said. “I think the majority of it comes from a fresh body. You get run down during the season.”

A deeper bench will give Self the luxury of playing starters fewer minutes, especially if Perry Ellis, Carlton Bragg and a center play together at times, which won’t be the regular lineup.

The best guess as to the most common 2015-16 starting lineup: Graham, Mason, Selden, Ellis and freshman Cheick Diallo.


Suzi Marshall 6 years, 10 months ago

It seems the same article was written about Selden last summer or for that matter, the summer before his freshman season as well. I'm not sure why Selden has such a hard time finishing during the season but slowing down at the rim seems to be a recipe for disaster. I've always thought a player needed to be quick, explosive and under control when finishing. UCLA's John Wooden used to always say something like "be quick but don't be in a hurry."

Mykailiuk could be in the '15-'16 starting line-up.

Darwin Dandy 6 years, 10 months ago

If he does, he will replace Graham because I think there is no way he bench Selden. He has been playing him this long, Self wouldn't bench him now because of he is a veteran now

Janet Olin 6 years, 10 months ago

I seem to remember Wayne had knee surgery fans didn't even know he needed, which explains in part his lack of explosiveness. He looks better now, and that's a good sign for him and the team, especially if he doesn't have to handle the ball as much as before.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 10 months ago

Wayne Selden played with a partially torn meniscus his freshmen season, had surgery to repair it and played last year on a surgically repaired knee. The only way he'll get his explosiveness back is to drop weight and play at the 210-215 range instead of the 225-230 range that he's listed at.

Shannon Gustafson 6 years, 10 months ago

Wayne did say he's trying to lose some weight this summer so I think he's got the same understanding. I don't think he plans to lose as much weight as you listed though.

Darwin Dandy 6 years, 10 months ago

I believe Selden numbers will significantly go up because he can attack on the offense end as well as on crashing the boards on missed shots. Really look for a big year from him

Ian Brown 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree with your first post, Darwin Dandy, in that Self will continue to start Selden. Just as he stuck it out with Elijah Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor, and to a lesser degree, Naadir Tharpe, Self will do the same with Selden. He plays favorites, whether he admits it or not, and he becomes attached to certain players, particularly guards, like the ones I mentioned above. However, I have a hard to believing he's going to have a superb year. he's undoubtedly less explosive than he was coming out of high school, and he's simply not a good enough shooter to offset his surprising inability to effectively attack the basket. Look, I truly hope he comes in this year and becomes the player we all thought he'd be from day 1, but I'm certainly not going to expect much more than he's given us the last two years for the reasons above. I had as high of hopes as anyone coming into the last two seasons, but if it wasn't for him being Self's chosen son, he'd likely be giving up his starting spot to Svi, Greene, or potentially Vick, who reminds me of a combination of McLemore and Releford, which is a pretty awesome combo.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm afraid you are missing the mark, Ian. Coach Self doesn't play favorites. He got to a National Championship game with Tyshawn Taylor who made it to the NBA. As for Elijah, he was often thrust into a point guard role which is not his natural position. Even Nadir, whose career ended at KU on somewhat of a sour note, had his good moments.

The bottom line is that Coach Self will always play the guys that he believes give KU the best chance of winning. Results speak for themselves as the streak of Big 12 championships demonstrates.

Frankly, Greene, Svi, and Vick have yet to prove anything on a consistent basis, not that they won't in the future. However, Selden plays a leadership role for KU, and with his new emphasis on rebounding, I predict that his contributions to the team's performance will expand significantly this year.

Darwin Dandy 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree mostly everything you said but I am optimistic this year because I feel like he has been asked to do this things that he doesn't excel for example being the second primary ball handler. I know he played it in high school but I don't think that is one of his strengths and I feel he is fresh far as his body is concerned but just my opinion but we will see

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