When you think of Kansas, you immediately think of the long list of big-time players the program has produced. Celtics star Paul Pierce comes to mind, and so do the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson -- all of whom were lottery picks.
Pierce was a huge name when he signed, but the other guys weren’t McDonald's All-American-caliber players in high school. They improved under Bill Self's direction. They were solid names when they arrived in Lawrence, but they weren't the most glamorous or highly touted kids. By the time their careers ended, though, they were national headliners and player of the year candidates.
Kansas gets players. Self has built his programs by getting talent. So Wayne Selden (Boston/Tilton) committing to the Jayhawks shouldn't surprise anyone.
Selden is one of the best wingers in the country. He is strong, multi-positional and a tough kid. He should be a McDonald's All-American come March.
Because of KU's reputation and success of putting guys in the pros, it's surprising to learn that Selden is KU's first top-20 prospect since 2010, when Josh Selby, currently with the Memphis Grizzlies, signed.
Selden is a big-name recruit, the kind that gives a coach swagger. Self has plenty of swagger, so maybe it's just added ammunition that Selden provides. He seems like the type of recruit that attracts other players. Selden has national recruiting swagger. Kansas needed him as much for his talent as it did his mojo. Self won a recruiting battle against Missouri, Syracuse, Florida, Ohio State and UCLA.
Selden visited KU during Midnight Madness. It's hard to turn down the Jayhawks after going through an evening in that atmosphere. Locking up Selden, who seemed committed to his process, was a big move, and the Jayhawks didn’t mess around. An elite program with an elite head coach coming off a pumped up evening, it was the perfect time to go for the recruiting kill shot, and Selden didn’t resist.
On the outside, this is a momentum builder that comes at a great time for the Jayhawks. It gives Randle, Gordon and center Joel Embiid (Gainesville, Fla./The Rock) solace in knowing they wouldn't be alone in the class. In fact, it's just the opposite.
KU's class is rock chalk strong. Selden is the scorer and facilitator. Conner Frankamp (Wichita, Kan./North) is one of the elite shooters in the country. Brannen Greene (Monroe County, Ga./Tift County) has uncommon size and a solid scoring repertoire. Frank Mason (Petersburg, Va./Massanutten) has wiggle and sizzle at the point guard slot. The class, with the addition of Selden, is coming together nicely.
The final piece is a big. Gordon, Randle or Embiid are targets. Selden's pledge is key not only for his talent but also the momentum it gives the Jayhawks at a crucial time on the calendar. This kid is a mouthpiece recruit. He'll speak, and people will listen. He has an audience of three, and all he needs is to get one to tip for KU.