It will be talked about for years.
The day Josh Selby made his debut as a Kansas Jayhawk. You really
couldn't have scripted it better. High school hot shot waits months and
months to make his entrance, stares pressure and expectation in the eye
and never blinks. And then during a sub par team overall performance by
KU, he ends up bailing his team out with a game-winning three-point
shot for the icing on the cake in a tightly contested win vs. USC
"He bailed us out, he saved us," KU head coach Bill Self admitted. "He
doesn't know what he is doing out there, but he still comes away with
21 points and was our best offensive player."
"Pinch me. Did this really happen?" had to be what Selby was saying to
himself after the final buzzer sounded because this one was straight
out of a Hollywood script.
"I couldn't have scripted a better ending," said a happy Self.
"National stage, national TV, and now he is going to be the talk of the
country. I'm really happy for Josh and his mother; they have made a lot
of sacrifices for this day to come."
He put up staggering numbers with 21 points including 5-8 from
three-point range. He's already a Big 12 Rookie of the Week in just one
game of action. He made shots, smiled, thumped his chest, and showed
all kinds of moxie. Remind you of anyone else who put on a KU uniform
recently? You knew they were coming. The comparisons to former KU guard
Sherron Collins didn't take much time to surface in the postgame melee
when Self said Selby had "a lot of Sherron in him".
"They both think they're pretty good," answered Self when asked what
similarities he sees. "Neither one lacks for confidence and I like that
Much like Sherron, Selby was exactly what Self said he would be – a guy
who when all else failed could go get himself a shot.
"He was obviously our ‘broken floor' offense," said Self.
And in the final minute of play when KU's offense was again going awry,
Selby found himself open across the court and was waving his arms,
wanting the ball, wanting the shot, ready to embrace the pressure of a
make or miss in the waning seconds with the game on the line. THIS was
what KU appeared to be lacking after Collins left and left many to
wonder who would fill the void. When asked if he was surprised that
Josh took the last shot, Self chuckled and answered, "I'd be surprised
if he didn't."
"Marcus (Morris) was like ‘are you ready to shoot? Because I have a
feeling they are going to double team me, don't hesitate to just let it
go. You have been hitting shots all day,'" said Selby. "So when he said
that, I didn't hesitate to shoot the ball and it just went in."
"It's nice to have a guy who wants the ball in that kind of situation,
and it is nice to know that (Selby) is that kind of player," Self told
reporters after the game.
The numbers are what everyone will talk about at the water cooler but
if you look between the numbers you'll see the careful thought Self is
putting into Selby's development and the little things that make Josh
such a dangerous prospect for opposing coaches.
First time Selby entered the game Self called his patented lob play for
the 6-2 freshman in an attempt to get him an easy hoop and settle the
nerves and excitement. Though it never materialized when Selby knocked
down his very first three of the game you knew that he was likely just
fine and the adrenaline was pumping.
Self also stuck to his plan of playing Josh more off the ball. Though
Selby will eventually be a point guard, Self feels its important not to
force feed the point guard duties and all the responsibilities that
come with it just yet. So far Self looks like a genius in his planning.
Coaching is all about trial and error and coaches constantly learn from
past mistakes. In this case Self learned from his experience with a
young Mario Chalmers. As a freshman Chalmers struggled with turnovers
early on. The game against Arizona in Maui stands out as one of the
worst. Getting the ball over halfcourt was a chore for that young and
inexperienced Kansas team. Rather than heap more pressure on Selby he
will be eased into the position.
Selby has a lot to learn and when the coaches break down film. He had
four turnovers and could be better at times defensively. Josh missed a
couple of key rotations after KU trapped the post but this will come in
time and right now he is being asked to do things that he has never
done before. Self said after the game Josh has to do a lot of things to
become a better basketball player so this is just a step in the
learning curve. But "he does some things you can't teach (And) he's
just a street tough kid," according to Self.
After one shot, one game, and one headline grabbing finish Selby has
already started to etch his name in KU lore. Last count if you searched
Josh Selby game-winner vs. USC he was up to nearly 750,000 hits and one
of the leading topics searched in sports. He answered the call,
permeated confidence, responded to the pressure, won a game for his
team, and managed to keep alive the nation's longest winning streak.
"This moment for him made the last six months worthwhile and I think
that's pretty cool," Self said.
Selby Leaves Impression
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