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KU Top 30 Seasons Under Self: #29 Wayne Selden 2016

Portland Trail Blazers v Chicago Bulls Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Wayne Selden came to Kansas as a McDonald’s All-American, and after two somewhat disappointing seasons, helped by some nagging injuries, Selden had a breakout performance in the World University Games, including 22 points in the gold medal game.

Selden continued that into the 2016 season, helping lead Kansas to the 2016 Maui Invitational title, pouring in 25 in the title game. From there, Selden was mostly up and down for the rest of the season, with his best performance coming in a 33 point effort in an overtime victory over Kentucky, but some low points mixed in as well, like a 0-6 from three effort in the Elite 8 loss to Villanova.

Why is he this high?

Selden’s junior season gets underrated, largely due to disappointing freshman and sophomore campaigns. But, in 2016 he took the second most shots on the team behind Perry Ellis, and had the 2nd highest usage rate among rotation players as well (freshman Carlton Bragg had a slightly larger usage rate, but played in only 21.7 percent of the minutes).

Comparing Selden and Langford, we get the sense the two were near interchangeable:

Selden v. Langford
Player Min% Usg Ortg Dreb 2 pt% 3 pt% Assist% TO%
Selden 74 22.2 111.3 9.4 54.6 38.3 15.7 15.7
Langford 78.6 24.9 109.2 9.5 52.5 35.8 21.9 17.1

Langford was slightly less efficient, but took more shots. Offensively, though, I am comfortable calling them a wash. Where Selden pulls ahead is his defense. A poor defender his first year (and most of his second) in Lawrence, Selden really put things together in his junior year and became a good wing defender, with notably good performances on Big 12 player of the year Buddy Hield among his finest performances.

Why isn’t he higher

Selden was a sort of co-second banana with Frank Mason on that 2016 team, and played the fourth most minutes on the team. Absent an insane level of efficiency, it’s tough to rank him too much higher. His efficiency numbers are worse than every other KU wing of the modern era other than Kelly Oubre, and it’s worth noting that Oubre improved during the Big 12 season, posting a 110 offensive rating in conference play, while Selden regressed, posting just a 100 offensive rating, a full 11 points lower than his full season total.

Still, Selden belongs on this list because of his contributions on both ends of the floor, and his contributions in big games. But for a so-so showing in the opening round win over Kansas State, he had a legitimate claim for Big 12 tournament MVP and he was key in Kansas’s second round NCAA tournament win over UConn and Sweet 16 win over Maryland. His lows keep him pretty low on this list, but his highs got him on it.