Archive for Saturday, December 18, 2010

Freshman Selby has fairy-tale beginning

Kansas guard Josh Selby licks his chops after hitting a second three-pointer against USC during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Josh Selby licks his chops after hitting a second three-pointer against USC during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

December 18, 2010


KU vs. USC

Kansas freshman Josh Selby and teammates Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson discuss their win over USC and Selby's last-minute shot that propelled the Jayhawks to victory Saturday, Dec. 28, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

It’s been some time since anybody has put on a better show for those lucky enough to gain admission to Saturday’s basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse as the guy whose picture was on the ticket.

Kansas University coach Bill Self and his assistants will find plenty of teaching points on the game film to make freshman Josh Selby better, but all the crowd could say after with their considerable volume was, “Thanks for the memory.”

Coach Kevin O’Neill’s hard-driving USC Trojans nearly spoiled Selby’s debut by ending KU’s fieldhouse winning streak, but Selby didn’t let it happen, pushing the streak to 65 and leaving the audience with but one question: Why wasn’t this charismatic shooting sensation from Baltimore hyped more aggressively in advance of his collegiate debut?

Oh, well, too late to change that.

Selby lit the crowd’s fire shortly after checking into the game after the first TV timeout. From the left wing, he elevated smoothly and quickly flicked a shot at the apex of his jump. Perfect follow-through. Prettiest jumper in the program since Brandon Rush took his to the NBA. Three points. Nothing but net. Crowd went berserk.

The noise was nothing compared to the reaction to Selby’s game-winning three-pointer from the right wing with 26 seconds left in KU’s 70-68 victory that kept the Jayhawks undefeated in 10 games.

OK then, if Selby, who’s such a hot shot he had 21 points in 27 minutes, and Kansas was ranked No. 3 in the nation without him, why did unranked USC, battling the Jayhawks and the crowd, nearly end the streak?

Easy. Basketball teams’ performances aren’t judged based on the sum of their parts, rather on whether the whole is greater or less than the sum of its parts. Even though Selby has practiced with teammates, playing with them against an opponent that doesn’t show its cards represents a different challenge.

Offensively, Selby did a better job of playing with teammates than they did of playing with him. At times, they turned into spectators. Even players can develop tunnel vision and get lost watching a great talent for lapses, especially during a player’s anticipated debut.

For a stretch during the first half, when Selby caught fire, it looked as if teammates followed his lead in quickly putting up shots, even though a great shot for one player is a bad one for another. Tyshawn Taylor had a particularly sub-par game, his worst of the season.

Selby rushed up a couple of shots he ought not to have taken, but for the most part, his game-high point total came without him forcing the issue. Defensively, the effort was there for Selby, just the instincts and knowledge were absent. He helped too aggressively off of USC’s Jio Fontan and was burned for a three, and on a couple of other occasions he failed to rotate. That will take time. So will the team recapturing its offensive rhythm.

Even before that transition becomes smooth, an exciting team already has become more entertaining thanks to the addition of one talented guard who opened and closed his debut with a splash.

“That’s what we expect of him,” Taylor said of Selby. “Big-time players make big-time plays, and that’s what he did today.”

Asked to grade Selby, Taylor said, “A-plus. That shot in itself was an A-plus performance. If that was the only shot he made in the game, I think I’d still give him an A-plus. He’s going to be real good in a couple more games.”


ochocinco 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow! What amazed me most about Selby was his confidence to step up and knock down the big shot. You could tell he wanted it.

Keegan is spot on. The problem wasn't that Selby didn't fit in--he played great--but that the team had trouble fitting in with him.

It's amazing the streak has lasted this long. Too many times KU has let mediocre teams back into games instead of staying on the gas.

yankeevet 7 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree with you Selby played rings around the team; it seems like he did not any help; what talent he has. Can u imagine if all of KU players played like Selby!!

TLR 7 years, 2 months ago

Selby will raise everyone's game.

They may finally have a "go to guy".


JustNoticed 7 years, 2 months ago

Leave it at that? Are you joking? The Jayhawk Nation has a lot of bloviating to do.

Jason Bailey 7 years, 2 months ago

Taylor's a liability and will end up costing us wins. He almost did so yesterday. I don't understand why Self plays's obvious to me that Taylor is a loose cannon, ignores coaching when he's frustrated and tries to make things happen, loses focus much too easily, and generally has a short fuse. But I also do not make $2 million per year either.

Self must see something.

xclusive85 7 years, 2 months ago

Taylor has been one of the best point guards in the country this year. Maybe you are just remembering last year. I think he has taken coaching very well this year. Just because he had one bad game doesn't mean your characterization is correct. Taylor had some issues last year, mainly with maturity. It seems to me like he has grown tremendously.

Jason Bailey 7 years, 2 months ago

Case in point....Wednesday night. The guy drives, runs into opposition and instead of kicking it back out, he takes a nearly impossible shot. Taylor is a liability this year. I hope he is soon replaced on the starting five by Selby and it stays that way.

slowplay 7 years, 2 months ago

"Freshman Selby has fairy-tale beginning".....Except for the fact his lack of defense and offensive execution nearly cost the Jayhawks the game. That said, he will most likely get better at both as the season progresses.

Tom Wilson 7 years, 2 months ago

With KU favored to win this game by 20 points, you have to ask why the actual differential was only 2? Was it "chemistry"? After all, Selby is new to the mix. Was it the referees? Though USC could have pitched at tent in the 3 second zone violation area, the calls seem to have been fairly well distributed on both sides. Or (my belief) was it the same old "hold on" approach we have seen for years in the second half when playing mediocre teams? That means....Jayhawks gain a reasonable lead and begin playing "hold on to the lead" rather than going for the kill. Yes, it is tough going for the kill when you are averaging less than 60% from the charity stripe, but still! Not a lot of "playing smart" near the end of games ...a mantra of so many Jayhawk losses over the years. I keep thinking the coach will make corrections to this "disease", but so far, no progress has been noted.

yankeevet 7 years, 2 months ago

oh yes; thats right he did have some team mates; almost forgot while watching Selby dominate the

Robert Rauktis 7 years, 2 months ago

Seems to me Keegan ought to be more concerned about barely skimming by a mediocre team on your own court. If the team doesn't win, might as well watch "Dancin' With the Stars".

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