Memphis, Tenn. Former Kansas University combo guard Josh Selby said he broke down and cried on Thursday night when selected in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies.
“My first reaction was I couldn’t believe it. I was sitting in the car with my mom listening to the radio station,” Selby said Friday at his introductory news conference at the Grizzlies’ FedExForum. “I heard people in the background say, ‘Josh Selby (was drafted).’ I ran out of the car, broke down. Everybody said, ‘Welcome to Memphis.’
“I’ve been here before. I love the city. I’m ready to put on a Grizzlies’ uniform and play,” added Selby, who is a cousin of University of Memphis players Will and Antonio Barton and friends with Grizzlie Rudy Gay.
Selby told reporters that his foot injury was the reason for not meeting expectations his only season at Kansas.
“After the injury I never could get back in the flow. Coach (Bill) Self wanted me to shut it down, but the competitiveness inside me ... I wanted to help my teammates. The injury held me back,” Selby said.
Selby was asked by a reporter what he thinks when people tell him he has “character and maturity issues.”
“I know deep down that’s not me,” Selby said. “That’s not who I am. I have a clean slate here and will try to change that perception people have of me.
“They (naysayers) say I’m cocky. I don’t think I’m cocky at all. I have a way I carry myself and say things. They say I have a temper, bad attitude. I don’t have that at all. They say I’m selfish. My teammates at Kansas thought I was very unselfish.”
Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace said the team was thrilled to land Selby at No. 49 overall. He presented Selby a Grizzlies hat just like commissioner David Stern would have done had Selby been a first-rounder.
“It’s been said if you stayed in school you’d be a first-round pick. We don’t want you to miss on a first-round experience. Congratulations and welcome to Memphis,” Wallace told Selby as he gave him a Grizzlies hat to place on his head.
“Sometimes you get a dose of good luck in the draft,” Wallace told the media. “Hopefully last night lady luck shined on the Grizzlies when Josh slipped to 49. It was a similar situation in 2008 when Darrell Arthur took a tumble to 28. We picked him and he’s been productive and it has worked out,” he added of the former KU forward.
“We’re taking Josh primarily off his high school pedigree right now. Some thought he was the best player in the country. He was always ranked in the top three. Any time you can get that type player with that type of pedigree late in the draft ... there’s not any risk but a potential high reward.
“I know josh is disappointed the draft didn’t quite go his way. It was an up and down season for him at Kansas. Now is the beginning of his professional career. We are starting here with a blank slate. We’re anxious to see what this very talented man can do ... We’re coming off the best season in the history of the franchise.”