I've been mulling over the idea of a fanpost on this subject for a day or two now, but after reading Tully Cochran's article on the subject, I decided to go ahead with it. Before I go any further, however, I'll throw this out there: my instinct is to say that I don't personally feel that Selby's decision to go to the NBA right now is a good one. I think if he came back next year he would have a solid season, and in the process would have erased some of the doubt that crept into GMs minds this year as they watch him struggle. I also believe that a lot of his problems this year were due to injury and missed practices, so I won't be at all shocked if a team uses a top 20 pick on him based on their perception of his ceiling when healthy and in-shape. Since hearing the news, however, I've had to accept that my opinion on this is pointless and irrelevant. By the way, so is yours.
That's part of the problem with what we're discussing. We all believe we have a legitimate opinion on this subject. I'm not sure that's possible. After all, this is a personal decision. Sure, it affects more people than any of the personal decisions you or I make, and there's a lot more cash on the line. Still, as Josh Selby's personal decision, it had to be made based on a number of factors we are not fully aware of.
For one thing, it's generally assumed he won't be drafted high enough to warrant leaving. However, do we have any connections with NBA GMs? I know I don't. I also know that Bill Self and others whose opinions actually matter to Selby do. I also know that my definition of being drafted "high enough" is probably not the same as Josh's. Again, this is Josh's decision, so how can I substitute my beliefs for his? Perhaps he doesn't care if he's the fifth pick of the second round. Perhaps, to him, a contract worth $2 million or so now, combined with realizing his dreams immediately, is more important than the potential for a $4 million contract after another year of playing college ball, which I think we can safely assume is not where his heart is.
This leads me into the next point of discussion, which is the extent to which fans are taking this personally. I think the root of much of the anger in our fanbase lies in the fact that Selby doesn't want to play basketball for us any more. We're all pretty tied up in this team, so knowing this is akin to being suckerpunched. We didn't find out how badly he really wanted to leave until he was in Vegas. By the time we were able to stand up and dust ourselves off, he was already gone. Since we can't sock him back, many of use have taken to the internet desperately trying to land some blows. Here's a sampling of quotes taken from RCT, which is probably the most calm, rational group of sports fans in the history of internet blogging...
So long, Josh. You just made a decision you'll regret for the rest of your life.
is it his dream to play in the NBA for one year and then get dumped in a shit league?
its a chicken-sh*t decision.
its a gutless move.
Dude couldn't take the pressure that comes with playing for Kansas.
I'm glad he's gone.
I don't think I will cheer for this guy. I am so ridiculously mad right now.
dont let the door hit ya.. where the dog shoulda bit ya. #$%*#r.
[sic] where applicable. Granted, a few of these are out of context, but they give you a hint of the taste this decision has left in Jayhawk fans' mouths. Like Tully Cochran and others have pointed out, not all criticism is hate. However, especially on the internet, hate is often levied under the guise of legitimate criticism. I think most of the criticism on this subject falls into this category. We can say we just don't agree that he's making the right move for him, but at the end of the day the only reason we care is that this potentially hurts our basketball team next year. A legitimate discussion can be had on where Selby will be taken in the draft. A legitimate discussion can be had on whether another year would have improved his stock. But a discussion on whether this was the "right" decision? Well, that's just going to come down to a bunch of angry, surprised fans talking about what they want. The choice was Selby's to make and he made it. I believe that, for him and his motives, whatever they may truly be, it must have been the correct one.