Former Kansas Jayhawks guard Wayne Selden Jr. is back in the NBA after a successful season in Israel.
Selden, a 6-foot-5, 27-year-old native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, has made the 2021-22 roster of the New York Knicks as a free agent, the team announced this week.
Previously, Selden, who was not selected in the 2016 NBA Draft after three seasons at KU, had played for New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago over three NBA seasons. He also played in the NBA G League one season and in Israel in 2020-21.
“He had been here all summer and in the fall, then training camp, and it’s just a lot of the intangibles,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told the New York Post. “He’s got experience. He’s played in the league. He’s a great practice player, and that’s what we were looking for, someone who could help move the group forward. He’s been terrific in practice. We felt like it’s another wing in a wing-driven league, so that’s what we were looking for.”
Thibodeau added: “He will do anything that you ask him to do. Basically, his practices are his games, and so when you have guys like that, it helps everyone move forward and brings the best out of his teammates. So that’s important to us.”
According to empiresportsmedia.com, Selden beat out Dwayne Bacon, Brandon Knight, Brandon Goodwin, Aamir Simms, M.J. Walker, and Myles Powell for the Knicks’ final roster spot.
He will earn $1,669,178 this season according to hoopshype.com.
Selden averaged 6.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists over 16.4 minutes a game for the Knicks in the 2021 NBA Summer League. He didn’t get into a game during the just-completed NBA preseason, but last season he earned Final Four MVP of the 2021 FIBA Europe Cup as a member of Nes Ziona of Israel.
Selden is one of 13 former KU players on NBA rosters for the 2021-22 season.
According to NCAA.com, Kentucky has the most former players on NBA rosters (27) — five more than Duke (22). KU and Texas follow with 13 players apiece. North Carolina and UCLA have 12, USC 10, Arizona nine and Michigan eight.
Forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris are KU’s longest-active NBA players, as each is beginning his 11th seasons in the league. Marcus is in his third season with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Markieff, who won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, is in his first season with the Miami Heat.
Shooting guard/small forward Ben McLemore is beginning his ninth season in the NBA and his first with the Portland Trailblazers. Guard Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, is beginning his eighth season in the NBA, his third with the Golden State Warriors.
Wing Kelly Oubre Jr. is beginning his seventh season in the NBA, his first season with the Charlotte Hornets. Center Joel Embiid, a four-time NBA All-Star, begins his eighth season in the league, all with Philadelphia 76ers. He missed his first two seasons because of injury.
Wing Josh Jackson begins his fourth year in the NBA and his second with the Detroit Pistons. Point guard Devonté Graham, shooting guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and center Udoka Azubuike, who were members of KU’s most recent Final Four team in 2018, also continue their NBA careers.
Graham, who enters his fourth season as a pro, is in his first year with the New Orleans Pelicans; Mykhailuk, a fourth-year pro, is in his first year with Toronto Raptors; and Azubuike begins his second year in the league, both with Utah Jazz.
Two of KU’s NBA players — point guard Devon Dotson (Chicago Bulls) and combo guard Marcus Garrett (Miami Heat) — are on two-way contracts, meaning they will play in both the NBA and the G League this season.
Meanwhile, point guard Frank Mason III has signed to play for the Los Angeles Lakers’ G League team, the South Bay Lakers. Mason, 27, played just four games for the Orlando Magic a year ago after being named MVP of the NBA G League in 2019-20 as a member of the Wisconsin Herd.
Mason played two full seasons with the Sacramento Kings to begin his NBA career in 2017-18.