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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Selby's disappointing college career bad sign for pro future

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Josh Selby will announce sometime soon that he's entering the NBA Draft because the only real alternative would be to return to Kansas, and that just isn't happening. You think Selby wants to try to explain to the NCAA how he has been paying to train in Las Vegas for the past week? No way. So the freshman guard will pick an agent and formally declare -- meaning his entire college career will consist of one disappointing season that garnered more headlines for impermissible benefits than impressive performances.

Josh Selby-Willie Warren comparisons do not bode well for Selby's pro prospects. (Getty Images)  
Josh Selby-Willie Warren comparisons do not bode well for Selby's pro prospects. (Getty Images)  
In other words, Selby wasn't worth the trouble.

And he might not be worth a first-round pick, either.

If the McDonald's All-American was hoping to use Kansas as a springboard to the top five of the NBA Draft, he failed miserably. The NCAA suspended Selby for the first nine games of the season, then Bill Self basically benched him the final nine. That means a coach who has won seven straight Big 12 titles and a national championship -- i.e., a Hall of Fame coach -- got a close look at the combo guard from Baltimore and decided he couldn't really help the Jayhawks all that much. So consider yourself warned, NBA general managers.

"He's drawing lots of Willie Warren comparisons," DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony said.

All together now ... Yikes.

Warren was a talented high school prospect with physical gifts and lots of red flags (sound familiar?) who enrolled at Oklahoma in 2008, had a nice season as Blake Griffin's sidekick, then showed his true self as a sophomore. Warren clashed with coaches, teammates, refused to guard and was just a problem in general. He turned pro last year, was drafted 54th and is now a member of the NBDL's Bakersfield Jam.

This is what happens to coddled talents who are coddled too long.

Warren learned early on that his physical tools were good enough to let him get by with minimal work and focus, and that there always would be somebody willing to overlook his warts. Now he's in the NBDL, and it seems likely that his professional achievements never will match what his natural gifts once suggested were possible.

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Kansas is No. 13 in the Ridiculously Early Preseason Top 25 (and one). Read More >>
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And that's the guy NBA people mention when you ask them about Josh Selby.

That's bad for Josh Selby.

But can you blame them?

Selby spent parts of the final 18 months of high school decommitting from Tennessee, driving a Mercedes and taking unofficial visits despite the fact that his single mother had no obvious way of paying for the lifestyle she and her son were living. Turns out, a "family friend" who happens to double as Carmelo Anthony's business manager financed much of it. Never mind that you and I don't have any family friends who would loan us a Mercedes or buy us a plane ticket. You and I also don't have mothers who found out a way to move to the city where we went to college like Selby's mother found a way to move to the city where he went to college (or, at the very least, spend a whole bunch of time there), so you and I couldn't possibly understand what it's like to be Josh Selby.

But we can understand how Josh Selby became Josh Selby, can't we?

When you go from having nothing to having everything based on little more than people's beliefs that you're gonna be worth a lot very soon, it must be easy to start to think you've already made it even if your coach doesn't feel you're good enough to play in front of Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar or Tyshawn Taylor. And you know what? Maybe Selby will be right. Perhaps there's a general manager who will watch him dribble right and dunk in a workout, and that's all it'll take to fall in love. It's impossible to know for sure. But at the moment some NBA folks are comparing Josh Selby to Willie Warren, and that's not good for anybody ... except, perhaps, the Bakersfield Jam.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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