After serving a nine game NCAA suspension to start the year, Josh Selby
has had an up-and-down freshman season, with things being much more down of late. Selby hasn't surpassed seven points scored in any of his last nine games played, including two games without a single point. Playing through a stress fracture in his right foot that caused him to miss three games in February certainly isn't helping matters, but Selby's stock is still sitting at an all-time low heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Billed as an incredibly creative and explosive scorer with outstanding athletic tools coming into college, Selby has shown flashes of that potential, putting it all together for a handful of games this season, but has struggled heavily with inconsistency and turnovers.
In the half-court setting, Selby is a very dangerous scorer when he catches the ball on the move, having an outstanding first step to go along with strong change of direction ability and body control in the lane, making him very dynamic within the flow of the offense. The problem for Selby is this had made up just a small part of his game this season, as he's attacked the basket very infrequently, getting to the line and getting shots in the lane at a poor rate. He averages just 1.7 free throws compared to 7.9 field goal attempts per game, and according to Synergy Sports Technology, in the half-court setting he's attempted 95 jumpers compared to 30 shots around the basket.
Overall, he's converting just 39% of his 2-point attempts, which would be the lowest percentage of any player drafted in the last ten years, if he indeed decided to enter. Combine that with his paltry 37 free throw attempts in 22 games, and it's no surprise why Selby ranks as the least efficient scorer
amongst players in our top-100 prospects ranking.
Selby's ability to create in isolation settings isn't something that has fully translated to the college level in the halfcourt, as he seems to have had some trouble adapting to the tougher defense, struggling with turnovers and not getting past his man as frequently as he was used to in high school. He's prone to committing offensive fouls by pushing off on spin moves and commonly loses control of the ball in not-so-difficult situations, something that's been exacerbated late in the season with his foot problems. His prolonged absence to start the year combined with the very short leash Bill Self has him on surely isn't helping matters, but it's clear that he hasn't been able to translate his scoring prowess at the high school level the way many expected him to.
As a shooter, Selby's done a solid job contributing for the Jayhawks, shooting a solid 36.9% on 3.8 three-point attempts per game, showing decent but occasionally sloppy mechanics and a great ability to put the ball in the basket. He's doing most of his work here spotting up, however, taking very few jumpers off the dribble and having less freedom to go out and create his own shot like he was known for the past.
Quite clearly a shooting guard and not even a combo guard at 6'2, Selby shows very little in terms of point guard abilities, almost always looking for his own shot except for rare spurts where he'll try and set up others off pick-and-rolls. His vision is actually solid when he's looking to use it, but shows very little in terms of instincts and accordingly hasn't been put in a position to run Kansas' offense for any noticeable stretches to help improve in this area.
Defensively, Selby is very aggressive both on and off the ball, showing a strong stance, active hands, and solid fundamentals. He sticks with his man diligently off the ball, keeping his eyes on his ball and the man at all times, while doing a solid job in the passing lanes in spite of his underwhelming length. On the ball, he's prone to being beat by quick first steps due to how far he plays up on his man, but shows good speed when in stride and does a good job getting his hands up to contest shots in the lane. He doesn't see many perimeter shots against him in isolation due to how aggressively he blankets his man.
Looking forward, Selby's play has fallen off heavily at the most critical time of the season, precisely when the greatest amount of NBA decision makers have been out to evaluate him. Missing the preseason, and injury problems definitely haven't helped matters, but many of his issues appear to be more deeply-ingrained, as he's had trouble consistently adjusting to this level of play. Going to a program (such as Tennessee, where he originally committed) that could have allowed him greater freedom to handle the ball and play the type of basketball he's accustomed surely would have helped ease the transition, as his situation at Kansas clearly isn't ideal.
A strong tournament performance could certainly help Selby's stock, but given the various issues he's had this season, he'll probably be best served coming back to school next year, where he should have a better chance to show off his various tools and solidify himself as a high draft pick.