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Tilton's Wayne Selden (Kansas signee) makes case for prime time at 2013 Hoophall Classic
By Jay King, MassLive.com
on January 20, 2013 at 12:30 PM, updated January 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM
SPRINGFIELD -- No longer in prime time at the Hoophall Classic, Kansas signee Wayne Selden (ESPN's No. 16 boys senior) nonetheless showed why he's one of the nation's elite high school basketball players Sunday as he helped Tilton down Vermont Academy, 71-67, at Springfield College.
After notching 24 points and seven rebounds, Selden noted that Tilton, which lost Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel to graduation after last season, had been downgraded in status by the tournament's directors.
"We got the Sunday morning game now, we're not prime time anymore, so we have to work for everything we get," said the star.
But that doesn't mean he misses everything about Tilton's previous campaign.
"We have more heart this year. We're more of a fighting team this year," he said. "We have to earn everything we get, nothing's handed to us."
Quite clearly the most talented player on the floor, Selden was nonetheless unselfish. Early in the first half, he could have forced a shot in the paint, but decided to kick out to an open teammate for a 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession, he dribbled in transition to the foul line, looked to his right and fired a bullet bounce pass to his left, where a teammate was waiting underneath the basket for an easy lay-in.
Concerning his mentality toward scoring, Selden was more LeBron James than Kobe Bryant. (Note: By no means should you consider that a comparison between Selden and the greatest basketball player on earth.) The Tilton star only had one assist, but he facilitated ball movement all game and could have easily picked up more dimes if his teammates had hit open shots.
His team-first mentality should bode well at Kansas next season, and it didn't keep him from scoring 17 of his 24 points in the second half Sunday. He rarely forced shots, making 10 of 18 field goal attempts, but still showed an ability to score when his team needed it most. Vermont Academy put together a late surge, but Selden ended any hopes of a comeback with a baseline drive that he finished with a reverse layup with less than a minute left.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound, Selden, who prides himself on "being able to operate with the ball, being able to penetrate and find the open man," looks like he developed an addiction to protein shakes many years ago, and used his phenomenal strength Sunday to his advantage in the mid-post. However, at least on this day, his shot of choice after catching in the post was a fadeaway jump shot. Despite the effectiveness of his turnaround, he likely would have been better served taking his 6-foot-1 defender closer to the basket.
When Selden did drive to the hoop, defenders bounced off him. After one particularly strong drive on which the guard drew a foul, the Vermont Academy coach screamed for his player to take a charge. I almost expected the player to shout back, "Coach, I'd rather survive."
Defensively, Selden wasn't always attentive, but showed a willingness to work. He took one charge and attempted to take at least one other. Tilton showed a lot of zone and Selden often played closer to the basket, so he wasn't used in nearly the same capacity in which coach Bill Self will ask him to operate at Kansas.
Asked why he chose the Jayhawks, Selden replied, "I felt like it was the best place for me as a player, as a person, socially. It was just a really good family environment. I feel like I can go there, help the team out."