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Selden could be that dude for Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- If you want to really irritate Kansas coach Bill Self, ask him about players not living up to expectations. Especially the players he's coached who were one-and-done types.

The list is long, which is why his tolerance for the questioning is short.

His tipping point was probably last season when an early narrative on Andrew Wiggins emerged that he was somehow not playing to his potential. It has continued this season with freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre. And along the way, Self has found himself preaching patience to anyone who will listen when it comes to sophomore guard Wayne Selden Jr.'s development.

"Most of the kids that come in with a lot of expectations are expectations that have been placed on them by outside influences," Self said.

Selden, like the others, arrived on campus as a potential ready-made NBA player. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, he had the body frame. He'd shown enough explosiveness to be a big-time scorer and enough physical skills to be a good defender.

After a solid freshman season, but certainly not one that NBA scouts would consider sizzling, he dropped out of a lot of mock drafts.

"You play good one or two days in a summer camp, those things can be blown up or those things can really hurt you," Self said. "Neither one of them help or hurt you in the big scheme of things because you still have an opportunity to go out and play and show who you are."

Selden showed who he is Friday in the Jayhawks' 71-65 win over Florida. The sophomore guard bounced back from an 0-for-10 outing against Michigan State and scored a season-high 21 points to lead Kansas' rally from an 18-point deficit.

Selden admitted he might not have shaken off a poor performance so easily last season.

"As a freshman, you get down on yourself a lot," Selden said. "You struggle with confidence, you just don't really know what to do. Now if I miss shots I'm not really thinking I'm not going to play. I try to defend and do the other things to help me stay with it and stay on the floor."

Selden is aiming to become a well-rounded player whose game isn't affected by a poor shooting night.

"I think he's always been a streaky shooter, but the one thing about him is I think he's got confidence in himself and belief in himself," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "That's what really good players do ... he came back and responded really, really well."

The scouting report on Kansas is defend the 3-point line and protect the paint. All midrange shots are fair game and Donovan said he was willing to concede those. Selden blew up that blueprint, and if he can continue to do so moving forward, the Jayhawks will soar.

"We need him every game. He's a big part of the team, one of the best players," Kansas freshman guard Devonte Graham said. "We feed off of him and you [saw] what happened."

Forward Perry Ellis has been as steady all season, leading Kansas in scoring and rebounding. But for the Jayhawks to be special -- to pursue another Big 12 title and have a deep run in March -- they need one of their future pros to step forward.

Selden could be that guy. And he doesn't have to score 20 points a game to do so.

"It's not about that here at Kansas, it's about sharing the ball and playing basketball," Selden said. "If you do that, the pie is big enough for everybody."