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December 22, 2010Josh Selby hardly played like someone making his collegiate debut in leading Kansas to a thrilling victory over the weekend. He also didn't act much like an underclassman minutes after the game, when he didn't want to reflect too much on the sensational performance and instead focus solely on beating California.
Selby looks to build on that outing when the third-ranked Jayhawks meet the Golden Bears in their first true road game of the season Wednesday night.
After being suspended for the first nine games by the NCAA for allegations tied to accepting impermissible benefits, Selby made his debut for the Jayhawks (10-0) against Southern California on Saturday.
The 6-foot-2 guard, ranked by most recruiting services as the No. 1 prospect in the nation, finished with a game-high 21 points and hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 26 seconds left in a 70-68 victory.
"I wasn't really worried about my individual (statistics)," said Selby, the most heralded Kansas freshman since Danny Manning 25 years ago. "I was focused on my team."
Selby's teammates were conversely focused on him.
Forward Marcus Morris, who averages a team-high 16.3 points, passed up an opportunity to put Kansas ahead to get the ball in Selby's hands for the winning shot.
"Now I think my team trusts me more and my coaches trust me more," said Selby, who went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Selby came off the bench about 4 minutes in and made an immediate impact, but he's not concerning himself with all the hype.
"I am not really focusing on that right now," he said. "I am just worried about getting to California and getting another win with my teammates."
The Jayhawks have already traveled to Las Vegas and New York, but this will be their first game on their opponent's home court. It will also be their first visit to Berkeley since 1956.
Kansas, which has already defeated Pac-10 schools Arizona, UCLA and USC, beat California 84-69 last December behind Morris' 14 points and seven rebounds. It was the Jayhawks' ninth straight win in the series since a 65-62 loss in 1954.
The Bears (6-4) are coming off a sluggish offensive performance in Saturday's 51-41 win over Cal Poly and will likely need a better effort against the Jayhawks, one of the nation's top-scoring teams at 85.6 points per game.
Cal shot 38.6 percent from the field and was held to 57 points or fewer for the fifth time in eight games. Senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears, who finished the game on a 12-2 run to avoid the upset.
"We've just got to gain some confidence in ourselves in terms of what's a good shot and what's not," coach Mike Montgomery said. "That's going to be an ongoing process."
Montgomery earned his 599th career victory, sixth-most among active Division I coaches, but he knows immediately adding to that total won't be easy.
"Kansas is Kansas. They're really good," he said. "They're going to be really big and strong. They'll wear you down. They run out 10 guys at you and they're all really good players. I think Selby, as is evidenced; he's a legit really good player."
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