Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews
KU coach Bill Self
Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 82-78 victory over Colorado on Jan. 25, 2011.
Boulder, Colo. There he was sitting on the bench and watching again Tuesday night toward the end of the game, just as he was the first nine games of the season because the NCAA had suspended him.
There he was sitting and watching again, just as he had been when his performance gave his coach no reason to want to trust him in crunch time.
The difference for Josh Selby this time was he had played a huge part in giving Kansas University its lead on the way to an 82-78 victory against Colorado in the wild Coors Event Center.
Selby — who did make a brief appearance in the final minute because of his free-throw accuracy — scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half and contributed five assists and four rebounds with just one turnover. A sprained ankle he suffered late in the first half robbed him of his explosiveness and limited him to 10 second-half minutes.
“That bothered me a little bit in the second half because my mobility wasn’t there, but I’ll get some treatment on it, and I’ll be fine,” Selby said.
As for his psyche coming off the first real slump of his entire basketball life, Selby sounded as if that already had been treated during Monday’s practice.
“I had a talk with coach (Bill Self), and he told me he wanted me to be more aggressive,” said Selby, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound freshman from Baltimore. “So I just tried to come out here and be aggressive scoring, either get me or one of my teammates a shot.”
Selby didn’t waste any time bringing it to the Buffaloes. On his first chance, he took it right to the paint, broke down the defense, and the possession ended with Tyrel Reed drilling a three from the left corner.
During his 15 first-half minutes, Selby had scored on a runner, a pair of jumpers and a trio of three-pointers and had three assists. A couple of the shots that went in might not have looked like wise choices, but they went in, and for a player with his talent, that’s better than playing with too much caution.
“I was playing not to make mistakes,” Selby said of his rough patch. “Now, since I had that conversation with coach, everything is fine.”
Selby made seven of 14 shots and three of six three-pointers. In his previous six games, Selby had shot .304 overall and .227 on three-point shots while trying to figure out how to make his talents blossom playing with so much talent on his side and so much on the other side.
“It’s huge for him,” fellow slump-buster Brady Morningstar said of Selby’s big game. “First half, he came out hot, and that’s what we needed. He hasn’t been that way for a while, and it’s great for him to get his stuff going because I know on Saturday (against Kansas State) we’re going to need him. He’s a big part of our team, and when he’s playing well, it makes everything else go a little easier.”
It never comes as a shock when an athlete new to the college game slips into a funk.
“He’s a freshman, he’s young,” Morningstar said. “You know he’s going to have games where he goes up and down, up and down, but the games we really need him in are games like this, where it’s close and he comes out and gets confidence early because that gets him going for the rest of the game.”
Kansas (19-1 overall, 4-1 in the Big 12) has 11 conference contests, as many as three Big 12 tournament tilts and as many as six NCAA Tournament games remaining. Will he get enough practice time and game action during that time to develop consistency?
“For sure,” Morningstar said. “There’s definitely enough time left for anybody to become a consistent performer. And we’re going to need that out of him. I think he’s capable of that for sure.”