Second-half highlights (5:00)
Frank Mason lofted a perfectly-timed pass to fellow Kansas University sophomore Wayne Selden, who threw down a vicious one-handed slam dunk Wednesday in Horejsi Center.
The 6-foot-5 Selden, who scored 17 points off an assortment of drives, dunks and jumpers in the Blue Team’s 79-67 Bill Self camp game victory over Ben McLemore and Cole Aldrich’s Red squad, showed he’s recovered nicely from offseason knee surgery.
“I’m still not to the point where I want to be. I need to get my body to the point where it needs to be,” said Selden, who, in playing point guard and shooting guard actually looked like one of the most athletic players in the game.
“I feel I’m jumping pretty well,” Selden added. “I’ve got a lot more energy. That might have been just the time off, the rest I had. You never really know. I feel I’m moving pretty well right now.”
The Roxbury, Massachusetts, native grinned when asked if his knee surgery was a simple arthroscopic procedure.
“I believe so,” he said with a smile, noting it was “my left one (knee), my jumping one.”
...“He’s focused in. He’s been getting in the gym a lot more. He wants it so bad. Physically, mentally he’s one of the toughest players I’ve been around. I just respect his game,” Greene added.
Selden, who said he’s “more comfortable” as a sophomore, promises to be leader of what he calls a more intense KU team this season.
“We are a tough group. Last year to be honest, we weren’t tough. We were soft,” Selden said of a 25-10 team that won the Big 12 title and went 1-1 in the NCAAs. “We didn’t win last year. That was the biggest thing. We did the bare minimum of what we needed to do. We had the pieces in place. We just didn’t come through. Now we’ve got a second chance. We’ve got to be a tougher team, a more defensive-minded team,” Selden added.
Greene, 6-7 from Juliette, Georgia, backed Selden on the toughness issue.
“There were a couple times in practice we weren’t the regular Kansas team that coach (Bill Self) was used to. We’d take it too easy,” Greene said. “As older guys we came together and decided we were going to be tougher every day and work hard. That was a weak point for us last year. We’re not going to let it happen this year.
“There is definitely some unfinished business,” Greene added.
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Jamari Traylor faked an 18-foot jumpshot on the baseline, catching his defender Cole Aldrich leaning forward just a bit.
That was enough. The junior forward tucked the ball and drove with his right hand, taking one dribble and two steps by Aldrich before putting down a vicious one-handed dunk over a contesting Kelly Oubre.
The play was one of many highlights for the improving Traylor, as his 11 points helped the Blue team to a 79-67 victory over the Red squad featuring a mix of alums like Aldrich, Tyrel Reed and Ben McLemore along with younger KU players.
One of Traylor’s biggest goals of the offseason is to become more of an offensive threat after averaging less than three field-goal attempts per game last year.
“I’ve been working on my ball handling, passing, everything to create opportunities for other people. I did that a couple times today,” Traylor said. “I’m going to be different. I’m trying to improve myself all around.”
The bouncy 6-foot-8 forward was assertive from the start Wednesday, going 5 for 8 from the floor and 1 for 1 from the free-throw line.
He also displayed a new skill he’s been working on: his mid-range jumpshot.
...Sophomore guard Brannen Greene led all scorers with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting with 4-for-5 3-point accuracy.
Bill Self cradled a microphone in his right hand, looking out into a sea of young faces. It was an afternoon in June, and Self was finishing up a short speech to a couple hundred kids at his Kansas basketball camp.
But first, the Kansas coach had a question:
“Who do you think the most athletic player on our team is?” Self asked, looking back toward his team, lined up near midcourt.
A moment later, Self began to name off players.
“Who thinks its Wayne Selden?” he said.
“Who thinks its Jamari Traylor?”
“Who thinks its Perry Ellis?”
Each time Self called out a name, a few dozen hands would shoot into the air. But this was just a setup, of course, a ruse for the campers, something Self had planned out beforehand. Finally, Self called out a final name.
“Frank,” Self said.
Self summoned sophomore guard Frank Mason to the front, provided a short cue, and then stepped aside for a rather dizzying display of tumbling. Mason, if you can believe this, began to reel off a succession of back handsprings across the floor inside the Horejsi Center — and then he kept going.
“I think Frank is the most athletic player on our team,” Self said.
So Mason’s flip game is not necessarily a new development. He pulled off a couple of standing back flips during an open practice before the Jayhawks’ NCAA Tournament games in March. But here it was again, a reminder of Mason’s natural explosiveness.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
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