Undrafted free agent Wayne Selden started the 2016-17 basketball season as a member of the NBA Development League’s Iowa Energy.
He finished the campaign as a starter for the Energy’s parent club — the Memphis Grizzlies.
“It was a roller coaster. It was a wild ride,” said Selden, a 6-foot-5 former Kansas guard who was not selected in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Selden returned to Lawrence this week and scored 16 points in Thursday’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic KU alumni game at Free State High’s gym.
“It was worth it going to the D-League and stuff like that, barely getting to 10 wins,” he said. “Then you are playing against the Spurs (in playoffs) so you know it was a great experience.”
The 230-pound Roxbury, Mass., native first received a 10-day contract with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans after averaging 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists for an Iowa team that went 10-25 with Selden in the lineup.
Selden — he averaged 5.3 points (on 62.5 percent shooting) and 1.7 rebounds in three games (all starts) for the Pelicans — was not offered a second contract. The Grizzlies stepped in and gobbled up Selden, signing him to a two-year deal.
Selden averaged 5.0 points (on 40 percent shooting, just 3 of 21 from three), 1.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists a game in 11 regular season Grizzlies games (including two starts). In six playoff games versus the Spurs (two starts), Selden averaged 3.8 points per contest.
“I think going to the D-League put a chip on my shoulder,” said Selden.
He averaged 13.8 points and 3.4 rebounds a game — good for second-team all-Big 12 honors — during his third and final season at KU in 2015-16.
“I feel like battling through the D-League and working through the D-League gave me a lot more confidence overall,” Selden said. “My confidence is high right now.”
Selden will play for the Grizzlies’ summer-league team for a second straight season, this time trying to solidify his status as a member of the NBA team, not the D-League affiliate. Selden indicated he had a year left on his contract, which according to reports will be worth $1.3 million.
“I’m working out in Memphis right now getting ready for summer league,” Selden said. “I’ll be there for summer league and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Memphis coach David Fizdale told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that Selden has a bright future in the NBA.
“The kid is built for the league,” Fizdale said. “He’s got a great 2-guard’s body. He reminds me a lot of Dwyane Wade from a body standpoint (with) big shoulders. And he knows how to play. He’s got an IQ about him. We’re just going to work hard to develop him and see where it takes us, but I really like what I’m seeing so far.”
Selden believes former KU guard Frank Mason will be taken in the June 22 NBA Draft and not have to go the free-agent route.
“I think his situation should be better than mine,” Selden said. “So many accolades … he showed he was the best player in the country. Regardless of potential, regardless of projections, he was the best player in the country. I feel the best player in the country has to be drafted.”
Selden said he was not surprised by Mason’s stellar senior season.
“I knew he had it in him from my freshman year,” Selden said. “It sounds like a cliche, but being in the gym with the guy every day you see it. You knew it would come together.”
Jackson works out for Lakers
Former KU guard Josh Jackson, a projeted top-three pick in the draft, worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. The Boston Celtics pick first, followed by the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers posted a picture of Jackson on Twitter with president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, coach Luke Walton and general manager Rob Pelinka.
“Great workout today with Josh Jackson,” the Lakers’ official twitter account posted.
Jackson tweeted: “Thank you for the opportunity @Lakers.”