Can Josh Selby singlehandedly lead H'dirkness to change his beliefs on the one-and-done player?
Mmmm not so fast my friends! Atleast, not yet. I've been very public about my distaste for one-and-done players coming to KU. I don't believe it's the best way to build the foundation of a program (hard to replace players every year), nor do I believe it's the best way to win National Championships, which is what it's all about. I base most of my beliefs around what it takes to win it all around the 2008 Kansas team, the most successful team I've ever followed from day 1. That team wasn't the only team void of a one-and-done type player, but rather every College Basketball team that has won a championship in the past 20 years, with one very large exception, the 2003 Syracuse team led by Carmelo Anthony (next closest contributor may have been Marvin Williams to the 2005 North Carolina team, who didn't even start).
I believe that it takes a certain desire, a willingness to lay it all on the line, to win in March. One-and-dones treat the NCAA Tournament like it's a showcase for them to get noticed by NBA scouts. Xavier Henry was the perfect example of this last year. As the ship was going down, and it was time to see what the Jayhawks were made of deep down, I think I spotted Henrization X in the stands getting a hot dog. "Oh, sorry guys, did you need me?"
Now maybe my distaste for Xavier is too fresh on my mind for me to see the big picture. After all, The Selbinator will probably have a shot at going #1 in the NBA Draft, so he might actually care about what happens to the team (hard to go #1 if you get bounced early). But, with my full disclosure of predetermined beliefs now out in the open, let me get to what happened on Saturday against USC.
Selby's huge 3-pointer that he hit with just under 30 seconds left in the game, putting KU up by 1, may have created a stigma for himself. And it may be just what these Jayhawks needed. Already stacked with a National Championship caliber frontcourt (no, frequent commenter Rickaaay, that does not include ChenoWithey), Selby may provide the final piece to the puzzle. Tyshawn Taylor, Eli'Jah Rule Johnson, Travis Bobbleheadeford, and the Whitey Tighties are all nice complimentary pieces, but none of them really inspire confidence in taking a big shot (I'd actually trust Tyrel the most).
That 2008 Kansas team's calling card was balance. A team that could attack you with any player on the floor, from any spot on the floor. This 2011 team is very similar in that aspect. However, with the '08 team, everybody knew who would take the big shot (except the Calipari Monster I guess). Who is that man on this team? Mar-Mo would probably be the answer as of now, but you'd prefer a guard that could create his own shot. Selby might have to be that guy. Fortunately, he looks like he's up for the challenge. He did not hesitate to shoot it in his very first game in a KU uniform. This is a very good thing. He is young enough to believe what people are saying about him, and people had to be slob-knobbing him after his performance on Saturday.
However, Selby was far from perfect. He was a bit of a chucker, but that might not be the worst thing for these Jayhawks, who have yet to develop a true identity. He also showed some rust with a couple of Ty-Tay-like turnovers that had you scratching your head. Hopefully, those kinks get worked out with a few more games under his belt though (just like Tyshawn right?).
So, while I was hesitant to embrace the arrival of Josh Selby, I can't deny that the Kansas Jayhawks just became a whole lot more interesting. While merely trudging along through the winter sludgery (their beginning to the season has been rather boring), they were being forgotten by Ze Dirkness due to the playoff push by the Chiefs (GO CHIIIIIIIIIIIEFFSSSSS!). And while the Chiefs are dominating 95% of my brain right now, the Jayhawks are now atleast on the radar, which is good news for all my KU Crodies out there.
(P.S. The lack of Chiefs writing can be attested to my approach to these last three games as more of a fan than a writer. Writing about the Chiefs is fun, but my passion doesn't run as high with an eye on the big picture at all times. I want both eyes on the here and now, with all perspective thrown out the window. That being said, I'll try and pump out some thoughts before next week's game against the Titans, which I will say, scares the dickens outta me.)