Prepping for the Day

Josh Selby has a date and now it's all about prepping for game number one in a Kansas uniform.

Phew! Finally! Thank goodness! It's about time!

Those were just a few of the many reactions rolling off the tongues of Kansas fans everywhere as the Josh Selby saga, or umm, ruling was finally handed down by the NCAA on Friday.

You can debate the fairness of the process, the logistics of the rules, the relationship between the Selby family and Robert "Bay Frazier, and the amount of time it took to hand down a decision but at least we now know.

It would've been priceless to see the relief on his mother Mae's face when she received the call from KU head coach Bill Self. Or the deep breath Josh had to have taken once Self informed him at shootaround prior to the North Texas game that his first game for Kansas would be December 18th against USC.

The result of a case that Self labeled a "little more complex" was a nine-game suspension and over $4000 of money that would have to be repaid.

It wasn't just finding out when he would take the court that provided relief it was also finding out IF he would take the floor for Self someday soon. The ruling that came down involving Enes Kanter at Kentucky, though a different type of situation, likely sent tremors through all those who questioned whether Selby would play at KU including Josh himself.

"I'm happy I got everything over with the NCAA. I did nothing wrong," said a relieved Selby. "They made that decision you have to follow rules. I'm just happy that it turned out not to be the same situation as Enes Kanter (Kentucky freshman) missing the whole season. I'm happy to be back out there with my team practicing with them and getting better."

The road to college basketball action for Selby has been a bit topsy turvy. He arrived in Lawrence over the summer, dealt with injury, not being able to take classes, having his academics questioned, taking classes, not being able to practice, then practicing with the first team, then practicing with the second team, then for the last two weeks unable to practice at all because of another NCAA rule. It's been a trying time for Selby and his family. But according to those around him he couldn't have handled himself better during such a frustrating time.

"I really am proud of Josh," Self stated. "He's dealt with several things that would really make a young man's mind clutter. And he's been mature about this. I think he's really handled it pretty well and his family has."

"It's very hard," Selby admitted. "Your mind wanders not knowing whether you're going to play. You got your teammates asking you when you're going to be able to play. Now that we have the date we can just go forward."

Forward progress for Selby means it all comes down to preparing for maiden voyage as a college freshman. He won't have the luxury of exhibitions to get game ready and no matter what his high school credentials show, he will receive no special treatment from his head coach.

"I love Josh but he's gotta beat somebody out," Self confirmed. "I mean let's just call it like it is. And he's capable but he's got to beat somebody out to have a situation where you walk in and spots yours.

I think his role will definitely be a big part no question but a lot depends on him and how he picks stuff up and how hard he works and how well he plays. But I think he's more than capable of playing very well and picking stuff up very quickly."

When Selby was asked if he worried about expectations his answer was quick and to the point.

"Nope. Not at all."

"Our expectations should be he's a freshman and he's going to labor and he's going to have good moments and he's going to have some not so good moments," Self told reporters. "That would be my expectations so if those are my expectations I think that outside of us should have similar expectations. He's a nice talent, he's a good player but he's got a lot to learn."

After Self finished his statement he turned to his newest point guard and said "I think you'd agree with that," and Selby nodded in affirmation saying, "I agree".

So what should the expectations be? There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Josh makes Kansas a better team with the potential to be a difference maker. Expect there to be some rust. Expect there to be some bumps in the road but a December 18th arrival gives Self more than ample time to prepare this team to win its 7th consecutive Big 12 title and contend for another NCAA title.

"I'm more excited about our team than I have been because I can see we've got another scorer on the perimeter, we've got another ball handler, we've got a guy that will make it much harder to pressure us. We've got more speed on the perimeter we can pressure," Self said listing all the qualities that Josh brings.

"There are some positive things that are going on moving forward I'm excited about the next few games but I'll be real excited end of January and maybe early February in what we can potentially become."

Kansas fans should be excited no matter how much Self tries to temper the expectations for Selby and no matter how much both parties agree the learning curve will impact his success early on. 

"I don't think it will take long because our team they do a great job mentoring you on and off the court," Selby answered when asked how long before he could jump in. "Along with their help I'll be fine. I fit in perfect with them."

"He's going to have a coach work with him every possession so he can just absorb as much as he possibly can so it's as seamless as it can be at that date (December 18). But I still think it its still going to be conference play before our team learns how to play with him but that's ok. It's not ideal but I've certainly dealt with worse situations than this," said Self with a smile.

There is no plan to appeal the decision since all parties are in agreement that the rules are pretty black and white in this area. Self likened it to arguing a ticket for going 70 in a 55 that is for X amount of dollars. If you did it, you wouldn't argue whether a written rule or punishment was just, so they won't. Now we wait more, but at least we know the date to mark down on our calendars.

December 18th the day Josh Selby finally takes the court as a Kansas Jayhawk.

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