And, like that, the Kansas Jayhawks are again the favorite to win the Big 12 Conference.
Dragged through the NCAA wringer, Josh Selby, the top recruit in the country, finally will suit up for the Jayhawks after he completes a nine-game suspension. He must also repay $5,757.58 in impermissible benefits. The money will go to a charity of his choice.
The ruling comes after the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff examined Selby’s relationship with Robert Frazier – NBA star Carmelo Anthony’s business manager.
No. 7 in the AP Poll, KU is 3-0 after a win Friday night against North Texas, and those victories count toward the penalty, meaning Selby will be eligible Dec. 18 against USC in Allen Fieldhouse.
“We knew it would take time,” KU Interim Athletics Director Sean Lester said in a release. “And we appreciate our partnership with the NCAA and our constant communication during this process.”
If it needed one, Kansas obviously received a major boost with Friday’s decision. Selby’s uncertain situation led some to pick the Jayhawks as low as fifth in some preseason Big 12 rankings. His arrival, along with the team’s very fast start to the year, likely has those who doubted Kansas reconsidering their lists.
One of the perceived weaknesses of Bill Self’s team this season was not having any real star power at the guard spot since Sherron Collins graduated and Xavier Henry left for the NBA.
And, at times during its first three games, KU did stumble a little looking for a consistent outside scoring threat to pair with Marcus and Markieff Morris down low. With Selby’s arrival, however, those fears will subside, though it may take some time for the freshman guard to blend in to an already talented group.
Elsewhere, consider it very bad news for the list of Big 12 teams that believe they have a shot to stop KU’s current run of six-straight Big 12 regular season championships (KU tied Oklahoma in 2005 and Texas in ’06 & ’08).
Preseason favorite Kansas State (picked by some because KU didn’t have Selby) has stumbled out of the gate, dealing with Curtis Kelly’s suspension and an unexpected general lack of toughness. Texas was impressive the past few days in New York – defeating a ranked Illinois and losing by two to No. 4 Pittsburgh – but is very young.
Baylor, too, must wait and see how its youth adapts to the rigors of the regular season, and Missouri was less than impressive in its season opener as it works in its own very talented but very new group of players.
And now, those teams must deal with an even better Kansas – one that already had taken exception to the preseason rankings.
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