LAWRENCE — As the Kansas Jayhawks enter postseason play, the time has come to adjust expectations for talented freshman guard Josh Selby. And that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing for KU.
Selby had his worst outing of the season on Saturday at Missouri, sitting the entire second half after scoring no points and turning the ball over three times in the first half. But KU coach Bill Self still sees a way that Selby, who is still learning how to play with a stress reaction in his right foot, can impact his team in a positive way.
In particular, Self recalled two crucial performances from his bench players on the way to winning the 2008 national championship.
"He can still be a guy for us this year that is the Sasha Kaun of the Elite Eight game, that is the Cole Aldrich of a Final Four game," Self said, "that is a guy that just comes out and goes and gets 15 or 18 when we're really struggling. He's still potentially that guy. He's just got to have a little more confidence going forward."
This week, with No. 2 KU playing as many as three games as the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, would be a good time for Selby to begin resembling the player who was rated the top overall prospect in the country last year by Rivals.com. Because once the NCAA Tournament starts, Self won't be able to be as patient with a young player who is trying to find his way.
"It's a hard time of the year to let guys play through mistakes," Self said. "Your whole team works their butt off to get in this position, and now it's one or two possessions that are the difference between winning and losing. So there's not time to play through mistakes. It doesn't mean you're not going to make mistakes, but still yet, you've got to see some positive things that are happening."
With sophomore guard Elijah Johnson now manning a spot in the starting lineup and earning praise from Self for his defense, Selby faces an uphill battle for playing time. Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor has also played well in two games since returning from a two-game suspension for violating team rules.
When healthy, what Selby can do better than Johnson and Taylor is create offense for himself. Selby began to show glimpses of that ability early in conference play, before he hurt his ankle at Colorado on Jan. 25. Selby is still playing with the aftereffects of that injury, though.
"He's wearing a brace, an orthotic on his foot that wraps all the way around it," Self said. "It's totally uncomfortable. He can't cut, can't move like he wants to move. With that being said, other people have played with it. It's one of those things that, you've just got to adjust and play with it. I do think his health has messed with him."
Self said Selby just needs to see some shots go down.
"He's got to let it go and be aggressive," Self said. "He's more than capable of playing great down the stretch."
Reed feeling the pain — Self said guard Tyrel Reed is playing with a left foot injury that will require surgery as soon as the season is over. For a large chunk of the season, Reed has only been practicing with the Jayhawks the day before games.
"He's got a bad heel where there's a piece of bone in there that's giving him some problems," Self said.
Reed said the injury is painful but emphasized that it's "not a big deal." Self said playing three games in three days this week, if KU makes the tournament title game, could present a problem. But Reed wasn't convinced.
"I'll be fine," Reed said. "I've dealt with pain before, and I'm willing to deal with it again."
Self named AP Coach of the Year _ The first year Bill Self took charge of the proud Kansas basketball program, his Jayhawks finished second in the Big 12 regular-season race.
They haven't done that poorly since, and Self was named the Associated Press Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Rivals have been astounded by Self's seven straight Big 12 titles. It's a run of regular-season titles not seen in a BCS-level conference since John Wooden's UCLA teams won 13 straight.
Probably no one admires Self more than Kansas State's Frank Martin, who was one of two Big 12 coaches to beat him this season.
"For Kansas to do what they've done, seven consecutive years, is remarkable," Martin said. "It's a credit to Bill Self. It's a credit to his assistants, to their recruiting, their consistency in handling young men, making them perform, and getting people to coexist and put their egos aside and play and compete. That's hard to do one year. But to do it seven years in a row is just amazing."
Ed Manning funeral set — Services for Ed Manning, the father of KU legend and assistant coach Danny Manning, will be Wednesday evening in Keller, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family would like to request that donations be made in his name to the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association, Cardiac Services (325 Maine St., Lawrence, 66044).
Danny Manning is expected to be back in time for KU's first-round game Thursday.