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Selby was never long for college basketball


To say Josh Selby spent his one season at Kansas with one eye on the NBA might be unfair, but not entirely incorrect.

The 6-2 freshman averaged 7.9 points, 2.2 assists and made just 36 percent of his 3-point attempts in his only season at Kansas. He was an occasional starter and did have some high points – 21 points and a game-winner in his debut vs. USC – but it wasn’t the type of season one would expect from the No. 1 recruit in’s 2010 recruiting class.

So when Selby tweeted last week that he’s entering the 2011 NBA draft, it drew scoffs among college basketball writers and disdain from unsatisfied Jayhawk fans.

But it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Selby was never long for the college game. He’s spent the past four years preparing for the NBA. His game is built for the pros, not a structured offense built around two reliable post players. Most of all, he didn’t spend all those years dodging trouble in Baltimore waiting for the payoff. From the Kansas City Star:

Selby has never lacked fire. He has always overflowed with energy, and it’s been hard for him to stay in one place too long. This year in Kansas was always supposed to be just that — one year. So what if he started the season projected as a lottery pick and finished it as a likely late first-rounder? What about his dream? And, most importantly, what about his mom?

“To be honest, I worry about her more than she worries about me,” Selby said in a recent interview with The Star. “She can sleep at night. I can’t sleep at night because I want her to have everything in the world. I just stay up all night, till about 3 or 4 in the morning, just worrying about, ‘What do I gotta do to make sure my mom has everything she wants?’ Because she deserves it.”

Selby found Kansas to be a great place to play basketball but never really immersed himself in the college experience. His mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, had moved to Lawrence from Baltimore, and he spent most nights at her apartment instead of his dorm room at Jayhawker Towers. Selby didn’t go out on the town very often, even though he would have been the main attraction if he did. He would rather go bowling or watch movies with his mom.

No, this year has not gone according to plan. But Selby has been on this track for so long that he couldn’t turn back.

It’s a great read on Selby’s background, hoop development and what he and his mom had to do simply to get him this far. Another year at Kansas might’ve helped him develop – he would’ve had more opportunities with the Morris twins gone – but it’s easy to see why he left.

He’s set to be a first-round pick after years of wanting little else. Who wouldn’t go?

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.