Archive for Friday, June 24, 2011

Josh Selby missed his shot

Kansas guard Josh Selby cuts to the bucket past Miami (Ohio) University defenders Julian Mavunga (4) and Orlando Williams (15) during the second half, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Josh Selby cuts to the bucket past Miami (Ohio) University defenders Julian Mavunga (4) and Orlando Williams (15) during the second half, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

June 24, 2011


Josh Selby’s post-season, pre-draft tour took much the same path as his short time in the Kansas University basketball program. It started with so much promise, veered off path and wound up in the ditch.

Selby drew raves for his initial individual workouts from NBA teams, shot up into the middle of the first round in many mock drafts, talked about leaving bad Kansas memories behind him. Now, if he’s honest with himself, he must wish he had Kansas in his future. Big if.

Shortly before Thursday night’s draft, a league source said Selby’s stock had slipped because his foot had not healed properly and there was concern he might have “weak knees.” When your only memorable college performance comes in your debut, it doesn’t take much to give general managers weak knees.

Second-round draft choices don’t get guaranteed contracts and first-round picks do. Selby could have played his way into the first round if his body and body language became healthier as a sophomore at Kansas. Instead, he quit on the whole idea that he needed college basketball to grow as a player and person.

No way Selby improves as much sitting the bench in Memphis or fighting for playing time in the Developmental League as he would battling in Bill Self’s intense practices, playing high-pressure games and trying to lead a young team. The needed personal polish he could have attained from attending classes and interacting with students might have helped him in life.

Yet, the silly rule set in place by the NBA allows colleges to be used by professional basketball for a year to test and market the future talent gives Selby the chance to leave college basketball without leaving or taking anything from it.

The one-and-done NBA rule and the vast majority of players who take advantage of it make a mockery of the first half of the student-athlete phrase so often uttered at NCAA Tournament press conferences.

In contrast, Marcus and Markieff Morris grew as men and basketball players during their three years in Kansas. If they never earn degrees, that doesn’t mean they didn’t get as much out of their experience as students who walk the hill do.

Selby might suit up for some Grizzlies games, though the D-League, home of plenty of bad body language, appears a more likely destination. The Grizzlies lone 2011 draft pick, Selby has a shot to beat out reserve guard Ish Smith. Who?


Selby’s slip supplied suspense to ESPN’s telecast, especially when, with the 45th pick, the New Orleans Hornets selected Josh ... Harrellson.

Markieff Morris getting taken ahead of Marcus qualified as a mild surprise, as did Selby’s drop all the way to 49th.

The most predictable draft development: ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy was the star of the night.

Nothing about Van Gundy, from his common-sense to his candid humor, screams TV guy. He throws out great questions in down-home sports philosopher fashion, such as: “Why do players get in shape after the season?” And: “Why in the draft room do they clap after their pick? They knew who they were picking. Why do they clap?”

Will anybody ever clap for Selby the way so many did during the USC game in Allen Fieldhouse?


rtwngr 6 years, 11 months ago

Every college in the country can use Josh Selby as the poster child of "Don't let this happen to you" when recruiting.

Joe Hyde 6 years, 11 months ago

Agreed, rtwngr. KU can certainly cite this as an example. Not that it'll do any good particularly. Once a highly-touted high school baller gets it in his head that he's already an NBA 1st round lottery pick, I doubt any coach can talk him out of leaving college after one year. You just gotta let 'em go.

Jerry Collins 6 years, 11 months ago

In many pre draft analysis, they said it was just a bad fit without Self giving this "go to guy" a chance. The press has been wrong on this guy from the start. He wasn't the talent the clippings projected. The pros are smart enough to not believe what they read or hear on TV. What he didn't understand is, every kid that comes to Kansas is a "go to guy" and if you don't learn to play team ball, you won't play. He had better save all the money he gets for his first contract because it will have to last him the rest of his life. Props to Keegan for a pretty close guess on his place in the draft.

Corey Williams 6 years, 11 months ago

Two number one high school picks in a row, two "one and done" players in a row, two disappointing early exits from the tournament. Does anyone else see the connection?

Terry Sexton 6 years, 11 months ago

The last time I checked, the regional championship game was not classified as 'early exit.'

CreatureComforts 6 years, 11 months ago

He could tear it up in the Turkish league. Actually, Istanbul sounds better than Houston, so maybe he at least beat out Marcus :)

Jim Williamson 6 years, 11 months ago

Istanbul, not Constantinople. That is all.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Gawd, Keegan, is this an obituary? He got drafted in the second round, something that neither Little nor Morningstar nor Reed managed to do.

That doesn't mean that he's a lock to make the team, but he's certainly not dead, as your little piece implies. He had a disappointing year at KU, and as a fan, I wish it had gone better. But I'm certainly not going to advocate throwing him under the bus because of it.

Good luck, Josh. I hope you make the team.

tententen 6 years, 11 months ago

".....Selby has a shot to beat out reserve guard Ish Smith".

The same "Ish" who excelled here at Wake under ALL-WORLD point gaurd Chris Paul? That's not much of a shot... You've gotta beat him out to earn a contract? When it rains it pours doesn't it Josh? Josh, you'd of been better off as the 111th overall pick by Taco Bell..At least that way you'd be guaranteed to eat because you're playing for checks now! Ish will "eat your lunch" that much is a guarantee. I HATE hearing people say " you're not in Kansas anymore.." but Josh, " you're NOT in Kansas anymore" and that is NOT a good thing for you. The reality of it is going to whipe that sheepish grin off of your face. The clip of you and your family on youtube celebrating the day before you went to Kansas was touching. They all seemed to have so much hope for you. 17 hours east of The Phog I was jumping around in my living room watching you fall right into place against USC. And then there's today. "With the 111th overall pick Taco Bell selects...."

monarchs20 6 years, 11 months ago

Where does Keegan pull this crap from? I am disappointed that Selby chose to leave early and I think it was a mistake. I think he had some people without his best interests at heart chirping in his ear and I think he probably lacks the maturity to see that. That is not at all uncommon in college freshman.

What I don't see is this revisionist "body language" stuff. I watched every game of this past year just as I have done for as long as I can remember. Josh Selby played very hard on the court, he was involved, active and supportive of his team when he was on the bench. There was nothing wrong with his body language. I don't get the hate for the kid and that is what this is, hating on the kid. Keegan, he had a disappointing year, everyone, especially Selby, knows that. Why do you insist on piling on with stuff that just isn't true? I'm sure you are familiar with disappointment and judging by the bitterness of your writing, I'm also sure you never handled with close to the grace Selby has.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't see any hate toward this kid...just reality from Keegan's viewpoint. Don't forget that it's his job to pay attention to things like this and he has the access to do so.

As far as your paying attention to Selby? Well, I don't know where your seats are or if you just watch games on TV, but I personally find it really hard to believe that you either did or could pay all that much attention to his 'body language' during games.

And please keep in mind that how a player presents himself is not restricted to how he appears on the court. Keegan would have seen this. Would you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Selby's "body language' was not that hard to observe, even for the casual fan.

As others have noted, during game situations, there was little or no negative body language. He showed up and did his job as instructed by the coach. He didn't produce as expected, but that was rarely if ever reflected in his body language.

racerx 6 years, 11 months ago

Leaving KU after 1/2 a season (actual playing time) was a mistake. But, mistakes are what 19-year-old kids are famous for. Now, after a dose of reality (and humility), Josh has an opportunity to work his butt off and prove everyone wrong (and, I hope he does). At 19 years -old and a chance to make an NBA roster, he has an opportunity that most kids don't.

And, if he ends up playing overseas or in the D-league, it's still a better gig than being a sportswriter at the J-World ;-)

hammerhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

A dose of reality for sure. But as far as "humility"? I seriously doubt it. I also doubt that he will prove the people who drafted for the NBA wrong either.

Mike Ford 6 years, 11 months ago

in the real world of journalism outside the KU mythology of Lawrence, in the USA TODAY article reviewing each teams draft grading it was stated that Josh Selby could be a beneficial player on a guard starved team like the Memphis Grizzlies. They have Greveis Vasquez and Ishmael Smith but they don't have anyone else at the point guard position. Josh is in better shape than Sherron "training table" Collins condition wise. He can rehab his injuries and play 8-12 minutes a game for the NBA minimum which is between 350 and 400K and may be play for a guaranteed contract or do well enough auditioning with the Grizzlies that someone else signs him. Wesley Mathews was an undrafted rookie out of Marquette whose father played with the ATL Hawks in the 1980's. He made it with the Jazz and had a restricted contract. The Blazers offered him a 5 year $34 million deal after a season with the Jazz where he averaged 8 or 9 pts a game and the Jazz didn't match the offer. He's the reason Portland didn't miss a beat when Brandon Roy went down. He got drafted and even if he's overseas look at the case of Denis Clemente. Sherron beat him out but he signed with Maccabi Telaviv for a million or so and his contract was bought out by a Spanish team and he's making more money there now. Europe is way better than playing for a bunch of nba hating hillbillys. Josh will be fine.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 11 months ago

This assumes a number of things. One is that there's an NBA season. Another is that he makes an NBA roster, rather than going to the D League, where his salary would be in the thousands, not the hundreds of thousands.

As far as undrafted rookies go? It's often better to be undrafted than to go as low as Josh did. And, if there's an NBA lockout, the competition for playing elsewhere will be a lot stiffer than it usually is, so there's no guarantee there, either.

Sure, I assume he'll be playing for pay somewhere. But, if his foot truly didn't heal correctly and he does have weak knees, Josh may not have the career he's counted on for a long time. Would an extra year at KU have likely assured him tons more $$ than he's facing now? If he didn't get hurt in that extra year, I'd say yes. But it's a moot point now. I just find it sad when kids count their chickens before they hatch.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Sitting on his eggs an extra year at KU wouldn't necessarily have hatched them.

woodscolt 6 years, 11 months ago

This is a terrible article Keegan. Selby will be making a lot of money to rehab himself back into playing condition. He couldn't afford to play another year at KU. This way he will get paid and eventually work himself back into the player he was before his KU experience. Sure glad I don't live in the wacky world of Keegan. Geeze.

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