Kansas was selected to represent America at the World University Games in July. After losing Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr. to the NBA, the Jayhawks will have to depend on such returnees as Wayne Selden Jr. In 2013 he was named a McDonald’s All-American and then decided to become a Jayhawk. He has played in two straight NCAA tourneys and scored a career-high 25 points against Iowa State in last year’s Big 12 tourney title game. CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Wayne about his famous teammates, facing a near-perfect Kentucky team, and playing for team USA.
You played with Nerlens Noel in the Elite Youth Basketball League and at the Tilton School: how dominant were you two back in the day? It was not just the two of us: we also played with Georges Niang. We had Dominique Bull (who committed to Missouri), a kid who went to Dartmouth (Kevin Crescenzi), and another who went to UNLV, so there were a lot of good players on that team.
In the 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game you scored 13 points for the East: which of your teammates impressed you the most (Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, other)? Andrew Wiggins: it was great to become his teammate at Kansas and win a Big 12 title. All those guys were very good, so that was a fun week.
You started all 35 games as a freshman at Kansas: how were you able to come in and contribute right from the start? Just working hard and having a lot of energy.
In the 2014 NCAA tourney you scored two points in a 3-point loss to Stanford: how close did you come to winning the game? It was a back and forth game but we did not get stops down the stretch. We made some runs at them but it was not enough.
In the 2014 Champions Classic you scored a team-high 9 points in a 32-point loss to Kentucky, who won 38 in a row before losing to Wisconsin in the Final 4: where does that Wildcats team rank among the best you have ever seen? That was the second game of the season. We rebounded well and went on to win the Orlando Classic and the Big 12 regular-season title. Kentucky had a great season and that night against us they were great.
In the 2015 Big 12 tourney title game you scored a career-high 25 points (8-12 FG) in a 4-point loss to Iowa State: how were you able to play your best when it mattered the most, and what was it like to face your old teammate Georges Niang? My teammates gave me the ball in the right places. It is always great to play against Georges: he is a really good competitor.
In the 2015 NCAA tourney you went scoreless in a 13-point loss to Wichita State: how big a deal was that game to people in the Sunflower State? It was a real big deal to people around here because we have not played them in a while: unfortunately we came up short.
Your teammates Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr. decided to enter this year’s draft: why did you decide to stay in Lawrence? I decided to stay at KU because of some unfinished business. I am using that game last March and the entire season as my everyday motivation to get better. This is a special place.
On Tuesday you scored 13 points in an 8-point exhibition win over Canada: how difficult was it to incorporate SMU’s Nic Moore into a team made up of mostly Jayhawks? It has not been difficult at all. Coach Bill Self was an assistant under SMU coach Larry Brown at Kansas so we are all part of the same family. Nic is a great player and has been a great addition.
In July you will play for team USA at the World University Games: what does it mean to you to represent your country, and what are your team’s expectations? This is a great opportunity to represent the USA. Our intentions are to go and play our best and hopefully come away with the gold medal.