Josh Selby has played in many different cities in the past year, but he is back in a comfortable atmosphere — at least for a little while.
After a disappointing 2012-13 NBA season in which the Lake Clifton graduate bounced around with five teams in five months, Selby is returning home to Baltimore for several days to run a charity event. On Saturday, Selby is hosting the Walk-Away Campaign at Margaret Brent Elementary-Middle, an event to help combat youth violence and make Baltimore more safe.
Selby enjoys giving back to the community and hopes he can set a positive example for children who are experiencing the same struggles he did as a youth in the city.
"I try to give them a story about how my past was, because they think that people in the NBA always had a good life," Selby said. "It [isn't] like that for some guys. I tell them to always try to work hard, stay humble, stay out of trouble."
Selby has also participated in other charity events over the course of his career, including collecting 250 blankets for the homeless, donating 200 shoes to children in need, and giving out food for Thanksgiving meals to less fortunate families. Most of the events are held in Baltimore or Memphis, his permanent residence and where he started his NBA career.
Though the former Kansas guard continues to give back to the Memphis community, his playing time in the city was short-lived. Selby played his rookie year in Memphis and began his second season in the league there before he was traded to Cleveland in the first of many moves — a very tough transition for him.
"New players, new teammates, new cities, it was new everything," Selby said. "Once I got comfortable, I just had to pack up and leave."
Selby spent time with two NBA franchises and three Development League squads during the 2012-13 season, finishing with the Maine Red Claws.
Though he saw very limited action with Memphis — he averaged less than eight minutes per game in 38 appearances — Selby was a dominant player in the Development League, averaging 17 points and 39 minutes per game.
The 22-year-old was assigned to the Development League to get more experience and hone his skills. Selby said each coach had him focus on a different skill, which has helped elevate his overall game.
"When I was at Canton [with the NBDL's Charge], it was knowing the defensive schemes," Selby said. "Know the rotations, where to help, when not to help. Then at Maine, they just wanted me to be aggressive, shoot the ball, show I can score. I think both of those teams helped me out."
Many NBA front offices are impressed with Selby's talent, but still have some reservations about his overall play. Selby's sole injury-filled year at Kansas and an unimpressive rookie season with the Grizzlies left many people wondering if he will ever develop his talents and find a permanent spot on an NBA roster.
"Josh is a tremendous talent, and we feel that with some fine tuning and tweaking he can be an NBA player," Boston Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge said. "Josh just has still some things to learn about being a professional and some things to improve on in his game, but he has a lot of things you can't teach. If Josh can improve his habits, his work habits, his basketball habits — he's got some high school, AAU, street ball-type habits in his game — if he can cut those out, I think he definitely has a chance."
Canton head coach Alex Jensen said: "The potential is definitely there. It's hard, I think, for a kid to leave college early. College is a much better time for a kid to improve and concentrate on a certain skill set. The potential is there; it's just a matter of honing in and having game minutes."
Selby will return to Memphis after his weekend in Baltimore to continue his offseason workout regimen to prepare for the NBA Summer League in July, where he hopes to impress teams and earn a contract before the season begins in October.
Selby is confident he will make a team in the fall because he's had two seasons to work on his game and develop into a true NBA guard.
He considers himself a combo guard, which has been a difficult sell for many NBA teams, as each squad is trying to fill a roster with specific-role players, but he's not concerned about fitting in on an NBA team. His ability to switch roles, he said, is what will help him fit in with whoever signs him in the fall.
"A lot of times in the NBA, you have to fit in [with] a handful of superstars, and you have to find your niche," Jensen said. "Find those skills that make you fit. He has the skills, but he has to find out what those are."
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