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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Keegan

Withey presence in post

Kansas center Jeff Withey delivers a dunk before Iowa State forward LaRon Dendy during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas center Jeff Withey delivers a dunk before Iowa State forward LaRon Dendy during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

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2010 KU-Iowa State

Reader poll

Which performance were you more pleased with in the KU-Iowa State game?

  • Cole Aldrich: 19 points, 8-for-11 shooting, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, steal, 31 minutes 56% 1353 votes
  • Jeff Withey: 8 points, 5 rebounds, block, turnover, 12 minutes 41% 991 votes
  • Undecided 1% 36 votes

2380 total votes.

Reader poll

Who was KU's first-half MVP against Iowa State?

  • Cole Aldrich 53% 70 votes
  • Jeff Withey 30% 40 votes
  • Thomas Robinson 1% 2 votes
  • Brady Morningstar 11% 15 votes
  • Other 3% 4 votes

131 total votes.

— Early foul trouble Saturday forced Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self to take a deep breath, summon courage and tell seldom-used red-shirt freshman center Jeff Withey to enter the game early in the first half against Iowa State.

It didn’t take Withey long to show his inexperience. He wasn’t equipped to do something almost as basic as tying his shoelaces. Taken out after his first stretch of playing time, Withey went to the bench and took a seat, the head coach’s seat, right between assistants Joe Dooley and Kurtis Townsend.

Withey had a much easier time finding his way on the court and played like a veteran against one of the best big men in the Big 12. He played 12 minutes and contributed eight points, five rebounds, a blocked shot and terrific defense on Craig Brackins in KU’s 84-61 victory in Hilton Coliseum.

You know you’re watching a deep basketball team when a bad break instantly turns good.

“We had a new guy jump on the scene I never would have given a chance if we hadn’t had foul problems,” Self said. “I thought Jeff was great. He gave us some good minutes, so that’ll give me some confidence and our staff and our team some confidence going to him more often, so it was a fun game for us.”

Especially for Withey, whose practice time had been limited by a leg injury before he became eligible Dec. 19. The fifth post man, playing behind junior Cole Aldrich, sophomores Marcus and Markieff Morris and freshman Thomas Robinson, Withey totaled 11 minutes of playing time heading into Saturday.

Forgive Withey for a momentary freeze when he heard his name called at the first media timeout with 15:58 left in the first half.

“I was a little bit in shock, did a little double-take look at coach,” Withey said. “Yeah, I was shocked. I was a little bit nervous, but I was confident also.”

The nerves didn’t show. The confidence did. He looked sure of his footwork in the post, scoring on a soft bank, athletic scoring on a follow slam, sure-handed and blessed with quick feet and skinny long arms that came in handy defensively.

Withey earned a No. 36 overall national ranking, No. 8 among centers, coming out of high school. A 7-foot, 225-pound freshman from San Diego who originally enrolled at the University of Arizona, Withey never played there and transferred a year ago at the semester break.

The odd man out until Saturday, Withey had one of two means available to cope with the lack of playing time. He could either pout, send off bad body language in practice and on the bench, or realize he’s fortunate to work against so much talent daily and figure out how to earn playing time. Because he chose the wise path, he maximized the opportunity when it arrived against the Cyclones.

“All our big men can be NBA players some day,” Withey said. “Cole is probably going to be one next year, and I’m getting better every day going against him and the twins and Thomas. Every day is a battle, and I feel myself getting better and more confident every day.”

On the day Kansas established itself as the favorite to win the Big 12 title, it became a better team by 7 feet.

Comments

NebraskaJayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Let me also comment that in my unprofessional opinion, the only reason Withey saw the floor on Saturday was because we turn around and play Monday night. I don't expect Withey to get much PT tonight. I could be wrong, but just a hunch.

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

No offense, but I'm not jumping on the Withey bandwagon just yet. I want to see him play against a physical team first.

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 2 months ago

Hey, for the record, CaliHawk, I wasn't baggin' on 100----

That last post, 100, great points. The point you said, "To me, this Cole/Withey discovery by Self was huge." I kinda said that in an earlier post but it really puts the exclamation mark on the whole deal. Coach Anderson and Coach Martin will have less sleep now, since the Jayhawks have made that discovery, don't you think? GREAT JOB, 100! Bring on Mizzou! Hope we show the Nation again on ESPN why we are still one of the best basketball programs in the USA!

Good Luck, Jayhawks--RCJH! Talk to you all tomorrow night!

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100 4 years, 2 months ago

You guys are all right:

I must go to internet rehab for posting & pasting my post before reading (seriously thought everyone was done for the day so what the heck).

Oakville, I love that lineup for next year! All we can wonder (since Cole has suffered half the season with Bronchitis & a stress fracture), is....

What if....

What if Cole stays?

Let the nearly impossible 2011 speculation begin: Cole, Marcus, Withey, Kief & A great point on the court at the same time!

Wow!

And for the record, I do like what everyone has said today & I'm not trying to "influence Coach Self". These boards are what they are, for fans to write about basketball, hopefully at least loosely tied to the article or a previous post.

Sometimes things are just obvious -- two athletic big men are nearly impossible to stop. You almost want X out there jacking up 3's so Withey & Cole can slam it home.

Mismatches are everything. I have been a coach for forty years of my life & sometimes as head coaches we forget the obvious. I stand by my guns -- not once did I say Self was doing anything wrong. I just know what will work.

The reason I put things out there is sometimes we run into competition that Self will stick to his guns so much that we just dig ourselves a big hole.

You want to know how (after the fact) we couldve whipped Tennessee?

Put Withey in with Cole. It not only puts an extra shot blocking dunker in there, but more importantly someone is forced to play Cole honestly. Even in a zone, 3 guys can't now sag on Cole. Mismatches are everything.

And we absolutely must begin to realize we can score inside any time we want. We need to own the paint. Not only with the big guys. But with guys like the Xman. He must take it inside for 75% of his shots. We must own the inside.

And Quantum T -- same with him, he can get an angle on a Defender any time he wants.

The other thing that is really important about this team is the number of ways we can win. Lots of fans talk about UK. Some talk about KSU. Some talk about Mizzou. Some talk about UT.

What do all of these teams have in common? When winning, they do it one (and only one) way.

We must develop different simple sets to throw at teams to confuse and dominate them.

To me, this Cole/ Withey discovery by Self was huge.

Having an option like this puts a completely different spin on the season come April.

Rock Chalk, Oakville

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Kye Clark 4 years, 2 months ago

RockChalkCaliHawk - I think Oakville was making the point that 100 posted what he did on this thread and at least one other article, just to make sure everyone saw it.

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David Leathers 4 years, 2 months ago

Like HCBS said, the schedule is 50% over. There is still 95% of the season left.

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David Leathers 4 years, 2 months ago

Oakville and mikendal -

Did it possibly occur to you that 100 didn't care to read any posts before he decided to write what he did? That being said, 100 just happens to have the same opinion as a lot of the other posters here.. Give the guy a break!

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Kye Clark 4 years, 2 months ago

drgnslayr - thanks, glad you liked the post. I think playing a big line-up with Marcus at the 3 is a possibility. It's probably nothing you'd want to do a lot, mainly because Marcus has played so good at the 4 you hate to take him out of position. We don't really have another prototypical 3, so you're either gonna play big or play small, so it'd be a way to at least get Withey some minutes when X takes a breather. I agree with your comments about our depth and worry about this team being able to gel. I've made the point that it's hard for guys like EJ and TRob to develop any kind of rhythm when they're in there for a minute or two, make a mistake, then get yanked out and sit the bench for the rest of the half. I really like those two cats, but at this point you almost hope they (along with CJ) only get garbage minutes as we need to get our regulars gelling. Right now it's really only the point guard position (Sherron) that isn't in flux. The 4 & 5 (Marcus & Cole) are realitively stable, but again I expect Cole to start playing more minutes, and in general with the emergence of Withey yesterday it presents a situation where the entire big man rotation might be getting tweaked. The arrival of Brady awhile back and Taylor's antics have things changing at the 2, and X's shooting may spell a slight change in minutes at the 3. It's definitely time to get things settled.

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 2 months ago

drgnslayr....we could call it "Forty Minutes of Gell". :]

100...I am getting greedy but after Saturday I want Cole to stay another year and with Jeff, Marcus and Markieff we would have double twin towers. We could call the line-up the Kansas Skyline Up.

The mind reels at the possibilities....Selby at 1, Cole at 5, Markieff at 4, Jeff a really, really big 3 and Marcus at 2.

I know , I know, it would never happen but what a zone defense you could present!!! Still three out of the four at the same time is totally real!!

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William Blake 4 years, 2 months ago

icthawkfan316 - good post! Withey may not get so many minutes this year but what he gets could be important. Somewhere down the line we will need the depth he offers at the 5. He's our only legit 5 after Cole. And as he learns the system and improves his speed/timing to gameplay he'll offer CS another choice to go to. We've now seen a brief moment of Cole/Jeff and that may be a hint of what we may see later. There is a lot of basketball left to be played and there are many circumstances which could give Jeff more PT.... like injury or someone playing bad, Cole in foul trouble, or playing a specific team where we need an extra tower on d...

I'm very glad we have Jeff standing in the shadows ready to come out and offer solid play at the 5! He's about a 1/2 step behind from getting as many blocks as Cole. His timing will pick up and if he comes on that strong we could use defensive help at the post.

And if X continues to slump and Marcus continues his spurt, we may see Marcus taking minutes at the 3. I can imagine some possibilities of a big lineup including Cole, Jeff and Marcus...

I don't know what to think of all this depth... at first glance it looks impressive, but sometimes it seems that minutes are spread too wide and our main group of 5 to 7 aren't getting enough minutes to gel. It definitely seems like it is taking too long for them to come together as a group. I think CS is hoping the gel will come eventually, along with having so much quality depth...

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FairgroveJayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Withey must be a hands-on learner. Referring to the comment he made (in Dec?) regarding not knowing the offense yet, he looked much better yesterday as compared to his debute performance. The past month being healthy has proven a very positive change.

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Ralster Jayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Im curious about Mizzou's post-play? Big W for KU, although Anderson will have them trying to compete, no doubt...

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 2 months ago

OakvilleJHawk--And I'll add another key. . . . Let the crowd go crazy--juice the crowd with great "D." 100--I will second that notion by Oakville--I get the picture!

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 2 months ago

100...I think you just set a Jayhawk site posting record for the number of times you've put up the same post..Great post but we get the picture, OK?

Sometimes fate plays a role in a coach's winning strategy. Coach himself almost admitted that he was surprised at the high quality of Jeff's performance.

At the very least it gives us five more fouls at the post position. On the flip side it could turn into a matchup nightmare for virtually every team in Division One!

KEY to the game tomorrow....minimize turnovers by breaking the press early, pound it into the middle, defend the three like they"re going to take your baby's food away!!

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100 4 years, 2 months ago

There are certain simple offensive sets we could absolutely dominate teams with. I'm talking sets we all ran as fifth graders. Two big men, swinging side to side on the blocks, Cole up down low & Withey up high.

Takes five seconds to learn & one minute to practice for gametime -- when you are loaded with height, skills and athleticism, one should always make us of the simple credo:

"The simplest way is usually the best."

in this set I would see three guards outside, just like we all learned in grade school, swinging the ball around looking for one thing -- an open seven footer to throw an alley oop. With Cole now not double teamed, everything opens up.

In relation only to quality minutes, where the players have thrown very few turnovers, played tough D & remembered to box out, & overall been great teamates, I would use the above offensive set for 5 minutes per half, with the following players:

  1. The Human Bowling Ball
  2. The ReedIng Aparatus
  3. The Brady Factor
  4. The Seven Foot Dunkotron
  5. The Seven Foot Coal Train's Brother

All of these players we can count on -- and it comes down to matchups. 5 minutes per half of this combined with another 10 minutes per half of the 2nd team led by the Xman, pump faking, driving in for layups (& not 3 pointers), leading his troops, playing pressure D would drive an opposing coach NUTS!!!!

Wear....

Them...

Down!!!!!!!

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Firebirdguy31 4 years, 2 months ago

Yates33333 "Imagine Aldrich, Withey, Morris, X, and Collins,"

I agree with Yates... having Withey in at the same time as Cole seems pretty logical. Self is already putting the twins on the floor at the same time, which in my opinion makes our front court a bit small at 6'8 and 6'9. However, having Aldrich in at the same time as Withey allows our team to have an experienced player on the court along with an inexperienced player. It allows Withey the chance to gain valuable experience while not suffering much of a production loss at that position due to his inexperience. Cole would also draw attention from the other team which would leave Withey open so he could contribute offensively and gain confidence in himself.

Also having two human flyswatters in at the same time can't hurt defensively either. I noticed at Iowa State that Withey would hang back near the basket as a Cyclone would drive the lane. Instead of running at the player and getting a blocking foul he would allow them to shoot and then swat it out of the air. Unfortunately, it only counted once because each time they drove the lane one of our guards would foul from behind and the block wouldn't count.

I was very pleased with Withey's contribution in Ames and I hope that Coach Self will use him regularly for the rest of the season.

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KGphoto 4 years, 2 months ago

He needs to lose post-dunk, crotch-shot gorilla hang. I'm not a big fan in general, but it just looks goofy with a lanky seven footer.

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Ralster Jayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Ive honestly just never, ever seen a college team with so much depth?! We are worrying about carving some PT for players who would be starters anywhere else...RCJH!

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hawk316 4 years, 2 months ago

I think both Withey and Robinson are going to be terrific before it's all said and done. These are diamonds in the rough right now. Give them a couple of years under the tutelage of this coaching staff, and in particular, Danny Manning, and watch what happens. In addition, they both will benefit from playing against Cole and co. every day in practice. Withey will continue to get stronger with more work in the weight room. Robinson really shows the inconsistency of a freshman, but as he matures, he's going to be something special.

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 2 months ago

3G--- YES!!!!!!! Will Smith sings that song, right? Alright! We got one!!!!

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3GJayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Gettin Withey with it.

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 2 months ago

Speakeasy--

NO -- NO -- NO -- NO -- NO -- NO -- NO -- NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

No perm for Withey. But somebody has to think up a musical artist for Withey. You know Sasha had Chaka Kahn!!!!!

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PAHAWK1 4 years, 2 months ago

Icthawk, great post. I was thinking of the same thing. Self already has a rotation problem. Cole and Marcus have started playing well. Keif has done a good job as the first big off the bench. KU team has a tough schedule coming up. Where will he get minutes from?

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Benjamin Jones 4 years, 2 months ago

Should Withey perm his hair like Sasha?

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aerohawk 4 years, 2 months ago

I loved the little spin move Withey did.

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Sparko 4 years, 2 months ago

What an intelligent game plan by Self. He is getting the most out the team and is hammering the weaknesses of the other side relentlessly. Having that one loss to a quality team on the road took a lot of pressure off of the guys.
Withey's footwork and speed impressed. That makes five high quality big men. It would be fun to see the Twins at guard, T-Rob and Cole at Forward, and Withey at Center for a few minutes some time.

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Jaminrawk 4 years, 2 months ago

I almost forgot Withey was on the team before he entered the game. I was really impressed considering how little he has played the last two years. He was a nice presence down low.

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jayhawkjoe98 4 years, 2 months ago

When X is struggling, I would love to see this lineup on the floor:

Aldrich Withey Marcus Morningstar Collins

Marcus has proven he is quick enough on defense to guard an opposing three. He would really pose some problems with his height at that position.

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Kye Clark 4 years, 2 months ago

drgnslayr - I think a performance like today's probably earns him more minutes down the line, but IDK if he's going to be a big contributor this year. He might be playing the role that Cole played his freshman year, the secret weapon as the last big off the bench. I guess you could argue that IS being a big contributor (we all Cole's accomplishments in that role), but in terms of minutes I don't know. A couple things: first, it shocked me when he became eligible and he said that he didn't know much of the playbook. The guy had been here a whole year! Practice time or not, he should have been more familiar with our system by then. This lack of understanding is probably the main reason he hasn't seen much floor time, he obviously has the physical tools and basketball instincts. Also, I'm not entirely sure where his minutes will come from. I think it was a good sign to see Cole log 31 minutes yesterday, but if he's finally starting to get his endurance back after the bout with bronchitis it undoubtedly means less minutes for the other bigs. He's been averaging a little over 25 min/game before yesterday, so if he pushes it up to 30+ min/game those minutes have to come from somewhere. Marcus is playing so good right now it's hard to envision his minutes taking a cut. Markieff has been solid as the first big off the bench, but for all of his improvement he's averaging pretty much the same amount of playing time as last year. We both agree TRob is going to be a beast one day, and while he's averaging almost 10 minutes/game that number has been padded by the extended minutes against cupcakes in the non-conference. In the 11 games against either conference opponents, BCS conference school opponents, and Memphis, Temple, & Cornell, he is averaging 6.5 min/game. Hard to carve Withey out many minutes from that. I think a realistic expectation would be that Withey sees extended minutes in situations like yesterday where foul trouble forces Coach Self's hand, if he is frustrated with the play of his normal big man rotation, or if facing a big man who is burning us by playing away from the basket. This seems to be a flaw in Cole's game, guarding athletic big men out on the perimeter, a role Withey may be better suited for. I wouldn't expect him to all of a sudden start logging a bunch of double digit minute games, nor do I think Coach Self is an idiot if he indeed doesn't.

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oldalum 4 years, 2 months ago

Robinson does have trouble with the refs. I suspect it's because he tends to play sort of out of control, and his flailing draws their attention even if he hasnt actually done anything. That will go away as he progresses. He just gets ahead of himself. Once he channels all that speed, look out.

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FairgroveJayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Withey looked great inside. It was great to see him have a good overall game. He looked a bit lost 10' from the basket and when running the floor. But other than that he was a definitely a major presence offensively and defensively. So much great talent to watch, so little time to do it.

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William Blake 4 years, 2 months ago

Withey will continue to win game minutes, especially as he improves daily. Many people don't realize how little practice time Withey has had... he's almost full strength now and practicing against the rest of the bigs. He will contribute this year, and hopefully he'll be "Hudy-ized" over the summer and come back a monster next year. He's already put on some weight and strength as a Hawk. A definite work-in-progress.

Sometimes it looks like the refs have it in for TRob.. just as it looked like the refs had it in for the twins last year. It's really just a case of these guys learning the subtleties of the game. TRob is going to become a real star someday soon!

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 2 months ago

Seeing Withey play as good or better than Cole, again, I said it before, WOW! Withey's confidence on the floor gave me ideas that this will carry over to the Mizzou, K-State and the Texas games.

Yates33333-- You said, "Withey needs to used more often." Oh, Self will use him--he would be an idiot not to. Post-game comments by Self: Withey showed all of college basketball world that Jeff can play on this level."

The next two games will be fun------I HOPE!!!!! Good luck with Mizzou!

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jayhawkinATL 4 years, 2 months ago

That was pretty cool seeing Cole and Withey in there at the same time.

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Kye Clark 4 years, 2 months ago

It was great to see Withey make some positive contributions today. It's obviously raised the question here on the message boards as to why he's not playing more. I can only assume it's because he does not look as good in practice as the other bigs, whether that means in terms of knowing the playbook or if the early season leg injury has set him back in terms of endurance or what, but I think it's probably fair to say Coach hasn't been sitting him just to sit him.

I love watching TRob play. Sure he's good for a traveling call about once a game as he gets sped up and tries to make a quick first move, but he is going to be freakishly good when he gets things figured out and the game slows down for him. Coach Self knows this, and the only way to achieve that is to keep putting him out there for stretches and let the game come to him.

Lastly, I wish I could read one story without someone either clamoring to hear what Jaybate has to say or lauding something he said. And the guy claims to not have followers!

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eastcoasthawk 4 years, 2 months ago

I was just happy to see him get playing time and do well with it. Agree that it will be interesting to see how he fares against tougher competition. But seeing Cole and Jeff on a double team was monstrous. And you have to admit that together they really were altering many shots from ISU bigs.

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Robert Brock 4 years, 2 months ago

Keegan wrote this column without mentioning anything that Withey did in the game. Sheesh!

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KU1992 4 years, 2 months ago

yeah. Whithey looked like a more athletic version of freshman cole. This kid could have a bright future. You can't fault robinson for is energy, but I think he needs to be taught to watch passing lanes when he is passing. He gives the ball away way to much. that being said he is a monster on the back boards. <--also a bright future

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KU 4 years, 2 months ago

ISU played one true big, Hamilton. He got in early foul trouble and only played 18 minutes, but scored 11 points. Other than Hamilton, none of their 3s or 4s have a hard-nosed, warrior mentality in the paint. Brackins is a 4 at this level and likely could play the 3 in the NBA. He's not a banger that you have to worry about in the post.

Just providing a little perspective to explain why our bigs suddenly looked a lot better yesterday. If we see that same kind of game against teams which either a) match our size, or b) have bigs that are physical and aggressive in the paint THEN I will get all excited.

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msthompson37 4 years, 2 months ago

Whithey looked waaaay better than Thomas. I know coach loves Thomas I was on the bandwagon also but he ain't doing much for me....Whithey looked "potentially as good or better than cole!"

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dukehester 4 years, 2 months ago

ref 'skinny arms'......you all know keegs is in a funk because his choice of #1 team dropped 2 in a row......AND he has that trauma of now jumping bandwagons! it can take its toll!!!

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number1jayhawker 4 years, 2 months ago

Uh Keegs, you might want to look at the picture of Jeff above, before you say he has skinney arms. :-)

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jhwkfan162515 4 years, 2 months ago

Too bad I missed the game, but I can't help but be pleased with Jeff's contribution. Especially defending Craig Brackins. That's the most important part.

GO KANSAS! DEATH TO IOWA STATE!!!

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docileboy 4 years, 2 months ago

I think that is by far the best Withey and Robinson have played all season. They are both future NBA players after a few great years at Kansas. I was impressed with Withey's confidence and Robinson's hustle.

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illuminatironin 4 years, 2 months ago

Good to see Withey get some PT! He looked alot more comfortable and mobile out there.

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yates33333 4 years, 2 months ago

Withey needs to be used more often. He made very few mistakes, if any. Cannot say the same for Thomas Robinson. He'd make a spectacular play and then a foul-up. The referees do seem to have something against him. With Withey KU really looked awesome. Imagine Aldrich, Withey, Morris, X, and Collins, although I would put Morningstar in place of X at this point. X also makes spectacular plays and then fouls up. What a team, however. If only they can play against other opponents as they did agains ISU. Wow! Even I could coach these 10 or 11 players if Bill Self would recruit and train them with help from Danny, Joe, and Kurtis.

BTW Jaybate's predictions early in the season seem to be coming true.

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Edward Daub 4 years, 2 months ago

Yesterday, we were introduced to the Twin Towers, Aldrich and Withey! And we have the Twins, Marcus and Markieff! Backboard Fever Reigns!

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Sean Edmiston 4 years, 2 months ago

Withey looked really good as did Thomas Robinson. I remember one play where Robinson was directly underneath the basket and seemed like he cleared out the 10 ft radius around in to get a rebound.

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