KU Men's Basketball 2010-2011: The Importance of Josh Selby (Selby cleared to play starting December 18th!)

Rivals.com's #1 player for 2010 is a Jayhawk


In the late signing period, the Kansas Jayhawks landed the player they needed when they signed Josh Selby, Rivals.com’s #1 high school player, to a national letter of intent. Kansas coach Bill Self compared signing Selby to “hitting one out of the park.” Josh Selby’s talent remains unquestioned as the 6’3” senior averaged 32 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals per game for Lake Clifton High School in Baltimore. He can drive the ball, has a good jump shot, and is said to be a good defender. His task as a Jayhawk will be to replace the player with the most wins in KU history: the graduated Sherron Collins. Can Selby replace one of the most successful, celebrated Jayhawks of all time? Based upon the company he keeps, the answer is yes. Rival.com’s top players in years past have included John Wall, Michael Beasley, Greg Oden, Dwight Howard and LeBron James. Demonstrating that nothing is certain in the world of sports, Rivals.com also picked B.J. Mullens and Gerald Green as their top high school players in 2008 and 2005, respectively. It must also be noted that from this list of players, only Greg Oden ever played in the NCAA championship game. That fact is somewhat misleading, however, since three players from this list went directly to the NBA. It does suggest that lofty credentials guarantee nothing.

There is great optimism on Mt. Oread for the 2010-2011 season, and most of it originates with Selby. Josh Selby will certainly play and contribute, but what will his role with the Jayhawks actually be? To answer this question, it is important to look at KU’s other backcourt players.


Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU

Rivals.com's #1 High School Player, Josh Selby will play for the Jayhawks in 2010-2011
Rivals.com's #1 High School Player, Josh Selby will play for the Jayhawks in 2010-2011
Joining a program rich in tradition
Joining a program rich in tradition
KU can set a new Allen Field House record for consecutive home victories this season
KU can set a new Allen Field House record for consecutive home victories this season
Can Josh Selby live up to his accolades and lead KU to the Final Four, as Mario Chalmers did in 2008?
Can Josh Selby live up to his accolades and lead KU to the Final Four, as Mario Chalmers did in 2008?
Could KU soon hang another championship banner in Allen Field House?
Could KU soon hang another championship banner in Allen Field House?

What to look for in the 2010-2011 season


KU returns a wealth of backcourt talent, although questions remain. Junior Tyshawn Taylor is the most experienced returning guard, logging major minutes as a freshman starter and splitting time in the lineup with Brady Morningstar during his sophomore campaign. Taylor is a good college player, but not yet a great one—he makes too many unforced errors and possesses a marginal outside shot. He is athletically gifted and gets points driving to the basket. Despite his flaws, he can play either guard spot with some success, making him the type of guard coach Bill Self favors.

Tyrel Reed returns for his senior year and is guaranteed minutes as the Jayhawks’ best outside shooter. He is not a reliable ball-handler or defender, but works hard and is better than he’s given credit for. He is a valuable third or fourth guard and helps the team with his play.

Elijah Johnson is the mystery man in KU’s backcourt. A highly touted high school player from Las Vegas, Johnson rarely saw action his freshman year while older, more experienced players received the majority of playing time in the backcourt. Fans wondered why Johnson didn’t see more court time when Tyshawn Taylor’s lackluster play limited his minutes, but most believed Coach Self simply chose to go with the more experienced Brady Morningstar.

Morningstar historically receives the bulk of his minutes as a reserve small forward, and will likely be called upon again to provide mistake-free play off the bench in the frontcourt.

The other guards are red-shirt sophomore Travis Releford, walk-on Conner Teahan (if he does not choose to red-shirt in 2011), and freshman Royce Woolridge. Releford will earn minutes if his jump shot improves.  Teahan and Woolridge will probably be restricted to mop-up duties.

KU’s returning players are talented but limited, and Selby will likely be the best and most complete guard on KU’s roster the moment he arrives in Lawrence. The local newspapers have suggested he might be a better player right now than Sherron Collins ever was for KU, which would certainly help. It is assumed that Selby will start in the backcourt with (probably) Tyshawn Taylor, giving Bill Self two players who can man either the point or shooting guard position. If Elijah Johnson’s game (and jump shot) improves over the summer, he would be the third man on the roster capable of filling both positions, and Coach Self would have a three-man rotation of versatile, athletic players. Tyrel Reed would see duty as a fourth guard, and his minutes will depend on how well the other guards shoot. If they falter from outside, expect Reed’s court time to increase.

The beauty of Josh Selby’s teaming with an experienced backcourt is that Bill Self doesn’t need to push him to become a leader. The Jayhawks won’t have to start from scratch with Selby learning to run the team since Taylor and Johnson are capable of playing point guard. If he can take over orchestrating the offense from the outset, KU will be that much better.

KU doesn’t necessarily need Selby to bring the ball upcourt and run the offense, but they do need a go-to guy—someone to step up in a close game and make plays on both ends of the floor, or to take big shots with a game on the line. This is how Josh Selby can best help the Jayhawks in 2010-2011, and it is what Sherron Collins provided for the last two years. Before Collins there was Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush to make big plays. Before they arrived, Wayne Simien, Aaron Miles and Keith Langford stepped up when KU needed leadership. If Selby wants to lead KU to an NCAA title, the leadership role will be his for the taking.



Can Selby be the next Derrick Rose or John Wall?


Can he be the big play guy for the Jayhawks? Based on his reputation and the accolades he has received the answer is yes, but it is impossible to say for certain until he takes the court. We don’t know yet if Selby will be the next John Wall, or if he will play more like Avery Bradley (no offense intended to Texas Longhorn fans). If Selby can establish a rapport with Coach Bill Self, the possibility of an outstanding 2011 season presents itself. If he is not up to the challenge, KU can still rely Tyshawn Taylor or Elijah Johnson to run the team. That is the beauty of this squad—it is talented and deep. KU’s success does not depend on a single player—even the highest rated player entering the college ranks this season.

It could be a fun year for KU fans. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!


SELBY LEADS KU WITH 21 POINTS IN HIS DEBUT!


Selby will wear jersey number 32; the number his mother wore in high school.

Selby eligibility cleared. On November 19th the NCAA ruled that Josh Selby must sit out nine games before suiting up for the Jayhawks. He will be eligible to play for Kansas beginning with their December 18th game against USC. Josh Selby's amateur status and his eligibility to play college basketball was examined by the NCAA because of his relationship with Robert Frazier, the business manager for Carmelo Anthony. Amateur athletes can have contact with sports agents, but if an agreement for representation is reached, the athlete's eligibility is compromised. It was determined Selby received $4,607.58 in "illegal benefits" including clothes, transportation, meals and lodging. Selby must pay back that money to a charity of his choice. When a player has been determined to have accepted over $1,000 in impermissible benefits, NCAA rules state he must sit out 30% of the season's games. The suspension seems long, but Coach Bill Self said the rules were "black and white" and seemed pleased with the outcome. Unfortunately, the meat of KU's non_conference schedule falls into Selby's suspension period, and KU will play Arizona, UCLA, and Memphis without his services.

Selby's first game as a Jayhawk was a big one. He came off the bench to score 21 points against USC, including a go-ahead three-point basket with 24 seconds left in the game. KU squandered a 14-point lead against Southern California, but Selby came through with clutch shooting and led the Jayhawks to their 65 consecutive home victory. His first game was timely--without Selby, KU would likely have lost the game. Josh Selby showed what he brings to the Jayhawks, and it is just what they need--someone who can make plays under pressure. He will be a huge factor for KU before long.



Take the poll: Comparing Josh Selby

How will Kansas freshman Josh Selby compare with recent point guards Derrick Rose and John Wall

  • Selby will be as good as Rose and Wall
  • Selby won't be as good as those guys, but will still be a good player
  • Selby will be a disappointment at KU
See results without voting

Comments 18 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

I don't follow basketball much but my mother-in-law was a HUGE fan! Of course since she had lived in San Antonio for many years, the Spurs were her favorite team. The photo of that statue makes it look like KU's campus is a very pretty one.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi Peggy, thanks for reading. The San Antonio Spurs are a fun team to watch, and they have historically had ties to KU. Their head coach Gregg Popovich worked with former KU coach Larry Brown for a season in Lawrence, and their General Manager R.C. Buford also worked for Brown when he coached at KU. I believe Ed Manning (father of former KU player and current assistant coach Danny Manning) is still a scout for the Spurs, as well.

KU's campus is indeed very beautiful and the statue is of Phog Allen, a coach at KU for decades. Allen Field House is named after him and it is on Naismith Drive, named after the inventor of basketball (and KU's first basketball coach).

Thanks very much for stopping by, Peggy--I appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

Mike


rml 6 years ago

Josh Selby should be a terrific player for KU. Previous top high school players were Raef LaFrentz and Danny Manning. I don't believe Selby will be as good as those two were, but if he is in that class, KU should be very good next season.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

rml, thanks for your comments. I would be overjoyed to learn that Josh Selby is on a level with Danny Manning or Raef LaFrentz. Those two were among the best ever to play for KU. I would settle for the next Derrick Rose--except at the free throw line.

Thanks again for your comments.

Mike


Rockthechalk08 6 years ago

I can't wait for next year with selby and our deep team. We have so much potential and will be athletic and fast at every position. I'm just hoping for a solid tournament run that can end in our 4th national title and make up for the years in which we choked.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Rockthechalk08, thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to next year, also. You're correct, we should be very fast at every spot on the floor, and we will still be quite deep. This could be a team that is able to full-court press if Bill Self wants to--I never thought Collins or Aldrich were right for that type of defense. It should be a good season. Thanks again for reading and leaving a comment.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

wow, great stats, the Jayhawaks will soar this year. He is definiely a great adiition to the team. Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Maita! I'm definitely looking forward to college basketball next season--Josh Selby should be really fun to watch. Thanks for stopping by, I always enjoy finding your comments.

Mike


Sean 6 years ago

I think with the addition of Josh Selby, It is going to make everyone better. He is going to bring that mental/physical toughness that we have been lacking. Even with the players that we lost to the NBA Draft, I still think with the recruits we got and the talent that remained at Kansas we are primed for a National Championship!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sean, thanks for reading. I agree that Selby could be the kind of talent that makes everyone else better. As good as Sherron Collins was, that wasn't among his strengths. Collins had a great determination and will to win, but he didn't make his teammates better.

This year's squad could be among the most athletic ever, and while we only brought in two new players, the return of Mario Little and Travis Releford will make this year's squad extremely deep. If last year's class (Thomas Robinson, Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey) show improvement, KU could very well challenge for a National Championship.

Thans again for your comments, I greatly appreciate them.

Mike


Sean 6 years ago

I've been a KU fan all of my life, and I think this might be the season that I'm most looking forward to. Last year I knew what we had, and I knew we were going to be dominant. But this year we don't really know what's going to happen, and I think that is the beauty of it. We don't have that one "Solid" player that stands out. It's gonna take the entire team to make a run for a championship, and I love it! I absolutely have to go to a game this year, I've only been to one and that was when they lost to K-State in Allen Fieldhouse.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sean, thanks for coming back. You hit on a good point--it's sometimes more fun to watch a team that isn't necessarily dominant than it is to watch a great team. With KU's squad last year, when the team won there was relief and when it lost, it was pretty tough to watch. When a team is so good it is supposed to win every game, sometimes it's more difficult to watch them play.

KU has the talent to be an extremely good team next season, but there is a lot to be done to put the pieces together. It will be fun to watch and see how well they do.

Thanks again for your comments, I appreciate them a great deal.

Mike


marcccoraty 6 years ago

I can't wait to see Josh Selby attack and break down the defense. This year will be a year to remember. If they click early, I'm predicting a perfect season.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Marcccoraty, thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to watching Selby play this year, as well. It should be a fantastic year, and while I'm not certain they can run the table, they have all the ingredients for a great, great team. Thanks again.

Mike


Sports Star Pro 6 years ago

Even though, in reality, a high school player surely would be watching many of the Olympic basketball games, would they still continue to consider Duke while other schools stuck around and tried to woo them?


Husky1970 5 years ago

Mike - Just read your article on Josh Selby. It was extremely informative. He certainly adds to an already talented roster. KU's loss will be insignificant in the big scheme of things come March. I honestly think a regular season loss is beneficial to a team's development. However, watching Ohio State destroy Purdue last night made me think that being undefeated and ranked #1 doesn't seem to be a burden for them yet. Time will tell.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sports Star, thanks for stopping by and I am sorry I missed your comment, months ago. Duke carries a lot of prestige, and most high school basketball players will seriously consider Duke if Duke is considering them. Everyone is different, however....

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Husky, thanks for stopping by. I was actually ready to label Selby somewhat of a disappoint, but then he torched Colorado for fifteen points in the first half (before an ankle sprain limited him the rest of the night). I don't think he has the look of a "one-and-done" player, but if he goes pro he will likely be drafted high on reputation.

I don't think Ohio State can go undefeated, but they are certainly the only ones left with the opportunity this year. They are a very good team but not an all-time type team.

I look forward to seeing the team that can run the table. College basketball needs a new superstar, and not John Calipari's AAU teams with "Kentucky" on the jersey. If anyone under the age of 30 saw Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play as a collegian, they would be AMAZED.

Mike

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