Bill Self said he could tell from pregame shootaround that guard Wayne Selden was going to have a breakout game Monday against Oklahoma State.
It’s a secret Self, the Kansas men’s basketball coach, apparently kept to himself.
“I wish he would have told me that,” Selden said with a smile. “I just felt good.”
Perhaps more importantly, his shooting touch returned.
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After going 3-for-19 from three-point range in his previous four games, Selden made 4 of 7 against Oklahoma State in scoring a team-high 18 points.
“I feel like lately, it hasn’t been going in as much,” said Selden, a former McDonald’s All-American. “I’m just going to keep shooting the ball, because I feel like that’s what the team wants me to do. That’s what I need to do: When I’m open, just let the ball go.”
Selden, who started the season as one of the nation’s top three-point shooters, had been slumping in Big 12 play. He’d made just 33 percent of his outside shots in conference games before Monday, and that was after 13 non-conference games where he made 34 of 64 threes, 53 percent.
“It felt good to see it go in the rim, go in the hoop,” Selden said. “I’ve just been shooting the ball like I always have been, just waiting for it to go in.”
Selden remains a bit of an enigma from game to game. He scored 33 on Jan. 30 against Kentucky, then followed that with a four-game stretch where he had 27 combined points.
“He’s been the best guard in the country on a night. He’s been very, very good on other nights, and he’s been a guy that’s labored on other nights,” Self said. “So I think ‘inconsistent’ would probably be a fair word.”
Health could be part of that. Selden came down with flu-like symptoms before KU’s road game against TCU on Feb. 6 and has struggled with his stamina since that point.
Selden, a junior, said the closest he felt to 100 percent was Monday, as he played 29 minutes before sitting late when the game was in control.
“Since I got sick, I’ve been getting exhausted faster,” Selden said. “But I feel like (Monday), my wind really picked up back up, and I was able to play in longer stretches.”
Selden still sees lots of improvement for No. 2 Kansas, which travels to Kansas State for a 5 p.m. game Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum. He says the Jayhawks can guard ball screens more cleanly, move the ball quicker and can get better focus defensively from both he and teammate Frank Mason.
“I could keep going all day,” Selden said with a laugh.
Personally, though, he would like to continue to impact the game in more areas when he’s not making shots. That could be hustle plays, rebounding or being aggressive on drives to draw contact.
Of course, he’s not going to be upset if his three-point attempts continue to fall.
“My teammates keep telling me to shoot,” Selden said, “so I’m going to do that.”
Ellis a finalist
KU senior forward Perry Ellis was selected as one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS award, given annually to athletes with notable achievements in community, classroom, character and competition.
The winner will be announced during the men’s Final Four in April.