Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jeff Withey, Thomas Robinson putting on pounds

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson roars after a dunk and a foul against Nebraska during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson roars after a dunk and a foul against Nebraska during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas University’s two biggest returning basketball big men are faring well in the weight room this offseason.

l Jeff Withey, a 7-foot junior-to-be from San Diego, has put on 12 pounds since the March 27 conclusion of the 2010-11 campaign and now weighs 230.

l Thomas Robinson, a 6-9 junior-to-be from Washington, D.C., weighs 242 compared to last season’s 237.

“Our goal for Jeff is 240, which I think is a very capable goal for Jeff,” said Andrea Hudy, KU assistant athletic director for sports performance. “We’re working with him hard on flexibility and nutrition. We’re trying to feed him as much as we can,” she added, noting Withey recently had a weightroom snatch mark of 176 pounds.

“For a 7-footer ... a snatch of 176 is pretty impressive,” she said.

Robinson, meanwhile, continues to sculpt his massive body.

“Thomas came to KU at 218 (summer before freshman year). He’s put on 24 pounds,” Hudy said, noting Robinson hang-cleaned 300 pounds two weeks ago.

“We don’t want him as big as possible. We need him to run and run efficiently,” Hudy added. “We don’t want him to lose speed for the sake of putting on muscle mass. There’s a fine line. We need to keep an eye on his performance on the court (in relation to weight).”

As a group, the Jayhawks have impressed since the conclusion of the season, Hudy indicated.

“The guys are pretty intense. It’s not like we are keeping them forever (but) the sessions are intense. They are staying on task,” Hudy said of weight training four or five times a week. “These guys ... they train 48 weeks a year. So we change our intensity. It is not all high intensity stuff, but they are around a lot.”

Aside from the regular weekday training sessions, “I’m on call,” Hudy said. “If they want to do extra, they know I’m here. You’ll get guys come in and work (extra) on things they need to whether it is flexibility, speed development, lateral movement. Our upperclassmen have been doing really well.”

Hudy, who has been at KU seven years, will play host to KU’s third-annual Midwest Sports Performance Conference Friday and Saturday at Anderson Family Strength and Conditioning Center. Registration forms are available at

“This could be considered a national conference in caliber of speakers and presenters,” Hudy said.

Keynote speaker is Mary Ellen Clark, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in diving. William Kraemer, one of the top researchers in the world in the field of resistance training; Jerry Martin, the strength and conditioning coordinator at UConn; and Andrew Fry, chair of KU’s department of health, sport and exercise sciences will be joined by many others including K-State director of strength and conditioning Chris Dawson.

“We try to run a good clinic that is intimate. People get to talk to whomever is here. They are not on a big stage,” Hudy said. “There are things you can take away into personal training sessions, high school sessions, college sessions, recreational sessions.”


lee3022 9 years, 2 months ago

Clearly this is what we have been waiting for.

Food for thought: While rehabilitating from his first micro-fracture surgery Greg Oden (home in Indiana) went from 251 to 300 pounds of pure muscle and bone. Coach McMillan was horrified. Greg was the strongest player he had ever seen - but no longer the fastest and highest jumping 7 footer he had seen. Well a fractured patella and another micro-fracture later (you know the story) Greg is now getting down to 257 per coach's orders. Perhaps this new Greg will be durable.

Now we are pressed to admire the clean work of Andrea Hurdy. She just might be the very best in the country.

KU_Alumn_2000 9 years, 2 months ago

I certainly could be wrong...but I think the writing is on the wall. We're gonna be thin in the post next season. T-rob is a stud...but after that we're gonna have to settle for Whithey.

Guessing that deandre denials is going elsewhere...most likely Duke. That's too bad because he's got a great opportunity at KU to start and play with a team that will contend for a final four appearance.

phoggydrive 9 years, 2 months ago

The latest word out there is Duke and Daniels have parted ways leaving Kansas and Texas as the likely destination.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Withey should hang with me this summer. I have NO problem putting on weight.

Chris Bruning 9 years, 2 months ago

phoggy, please tell me you heard that from somewhere other than a frat party......i wish that were the case, although Texas is probably more of a contender then they were just a week or two ago.....choose KU DeAndre.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

RCJ, it was actually posted yesterday by this guy, but he's changed his story a couple of times. Thought it was KU initially and then pretty much signed and sealed DD's fate to Duke and now this info. It's twitter so take it with a grain of salt.

phoggydrive 9 years, 2 months ago


It's pretty common knowledge now within the recruiting circles. However, you have to take about everything with a grain of salt in this electronic media era.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 2 months ago

I was kind of in a rush this morning and just scanned the article. When I saw 176 pounds, I was horrified as I thought that was his actual weight. Glad I read this wrong. I can't remember a player at KU that needed the weight room any more than Withey!

keith horinek 9 years, 2 months ago

We will definitly be challenged this coming year. I'm not sure about being a final four contender. The latest poll I've seen, KU is picked 18th preseason. Let's not make too many predictions just yet, rather, let's just enjoy the ride. I really like the intensity of the returning players. Hudy is one of the best trainers in the business, I know she will have them ready.

9 years, 2 months ago

A 176-pound snatch? The more we mention IrishDaddy, the longer he is going to keep hanging out here at

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Thank you txrockchalk, for saying that so I didn't have to!!

Brak 9 years, 2 months ago

Flying covers??? I guess we all know now why you are so bitter against KU, you obviously weren't smart enough to get in and you still hold a grudge.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 2 months ago

7'0"/230!!! Still a stick!!! Won't be muscling anyone around at 240 either.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

I think the key is getting up to about 245 or 250 lbs so when the season gets going, you're playing at 230 or 235 lbs. Tyler Zeller before the season at UNC was at 250, but he got down to 235 lbs as his final playing weight at the end of the season.

Withey did the same thing where he was listed at 235, but it's been documented that he got down below 220 during the season. It's on Withey on how much he wants to work. He has to find that balance of nutrition, weightlifting, and the time spent working on his game. Most guys don't have to worry about all 3, but for somebody like Withey it's going to be crucial. It may be unfair, but for somebody like Withey, it has to be done if he wants to take that next step.

Joe Baker 9 years, 2 months ago

If I remember correctly, HCBS mentioned at some point Withey caught some flu bug that caused him to lose quite a bit of weight. Seems like he was hurt and sick the majority of the season.

KGphoto 9 years, 2 months ago

Dirk Nowitzki is 7' 245. That's more Jeff's style of play. He was never gonna be an Ostertag or a Big Country. He is athletic and he can shoot.

rwhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

The problem with the Dirk comparison is Withey's style of game is less like his and more like Ostertag, hence the problem with being 240.

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Gary, this is a good off-season article, the type of account which recruits and parents might enjoy reading. Andrea Hudy is players' gold. Any athlete who arrives at KU with a desire to improve conditioning and sculpting week in and out is blessed with one of the best and most thoughtful training staffs in the collegiate sports business. Kudos to our former A D for bringing her aboard.

David Lara 9 years, 2 months ago

What an absolute Irish idiot! All players show intensity in march. That's cake. Champions are the ones that have intensity when there is no reason for it. Come back when you learn something. You have an unfortunate habit of showing how little you know about this game and how little you belong here. Just change your name to Irishgluttonforhumiliation

Kevin Studer 9 years, 2 months ago

It's the ten exclamation points that convince the fans to take you seriously.

YuCoJayHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Ku opens the betting season at 35 - 1 to win it all next year. Would be a very nice payoff... Rock chalk championship!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 2 months ago

You know, I know people are worried about potentially having a "Thin" frontline, but I say embrace it. The last two years KU has had seemingly all the depth in the world only to not utilize it in the tourny.

If Kentucky can get by on one true center in Harrelson, I think KU could get by with two decent big men in T-Rob and Withey. For once, it might be kind of nice not to really have any position battles and just let guys play without having to look over their shoulders. That hasn't really happened since the 2007 and 2008 seasons when KU knew the order of the roster from top to bottom.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 2 months ago

absolutely agree I remember some pretty good KU teams having to play Paul Pierce at PF an aweful lot due to injuries

I think TT, EJ, TR, TR and JW can all benefit from both the job security and the responsibility of a thin roster...if they can stay healthy

Also love how much playing time will be going to guys in their 3rd or 4th year at KU, though I obviously hope we get some great contributions from new recruits as well

Trey Hohman 9 years, 2 months ago

I fear that no matter how much weight Jeff Withey puts on, he will still be way too soft. That he will still get pushed around like a Jimmy Stewart character in a Frank Capra movie. I just don't think it's in his DNA to get physical with people. It's like there's some intellectual gag reflex that kicks in anytime the other players around him are angressive and sweaty. Every time I watch him try to rebound, he looks like a very tall but scared lizard trying to wrestle a bunch of polar bears. He's a 7-footer with a chess player's mindset, and all we're really asking him to do next season is play Shoots & Ladders. (block shots, loose-ball rebounds, guard the post effectively, etc.)

Hope I'm wrong. I guess we'll see soon enough.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

I've been thinking about Jeff and if I understand him correctly his greatest strengths are running the floor and having a soft decent shot.

Why are we trying to make a square peg out of a round one. I can solve the problem.....

Just tell Jeff he's a shooting forward. He'll be a 7'-0" mismatch nightmare for anyone we play. Forget about the on speed and shooting.

If he has the shooting touch he's supposed to have, he'll have a big advantage against 6'-7" and 6'-8' guys [Provided he can shoot, of course:) ]

Previous comment for entertainment value only. I doubt anyone will take me seriously.

khekhen 9 years, 2 months ago

you can add all the weight in the world but you'll never turn a chihuahua into a pit bull, watching Withey get pushed around without fighting back was disconcerting.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

"Attitude reflects leadership, Captain" Julius Campbell - Remember The Titans.

milehighhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I think Withey suffered from mono or some other illness this season that wasn't really documented.

He looked very good in flashes.

I think he'll be our most pleasant surprise next year.

KGphoto 9 years, 2 months ago

Jeff really needs Danny more than Hudy. Hudy will have him ready, but Danny is the one that is developing Jeff's moves on the court. Jeff needs a go-to shot. A jump hook or a turnaround jumper. TRob has a lightning quick up-and-under he likes to go to. Danny will help Jeff find his thing. Personally I hope it's a sky hook. There won't be too many people who are tall enough to defend it, and Jeff has shown the touch to pull it off. It's a shot that has been lost over the last 20 years, but Kareem was unstoppable with it. Why not Jeff?

Make_Ur_Free_Throws 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree about Jeff needing Danny more; how he moves his feet will help offset any weight or muscle he may give up. It will do a lot help both his shot and his defense!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

I am afraid Jeff will either be the surprise of the season, or, now that Morningstar is gone, this site's whipping boy if things go south.

KGphoto 9 years, 2 months ago

Not for me. The kid has tried hard. He's had a tough road and not a whole lot of support so far. I'm a Withey fan and as long as he keeps up the effort, I always will be. Besides, he's about the only dude to keep completely out of trouble over the last couple of years. That alone gets my support.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 2 months ago

Speaking of pictures, your new one is very easy on the eyes. Thanks for making the change!

Kevin Studer 9 years, 2 months ago

Again: All the exclamation points clearly make you a man to be taken seriously.

KUsmoothies 9 years, 2 months ago

Irishdoody is SDCU alum, so probably still supports them

Martin Shupert 9 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I think he went to Death Valley Commuter College and fried his brain the old fashioned way.

yovoy 9 years, 2 months ago

What I saw from the staff regarding Withey last year was that D-Manning had worked with him on mastering 1 move, and trying to build off of that as the situation demanded. I think it was fake-to-right shoulder then little jump hook after going to his left shoulder. I can't remember what it was, but I remember thinking that they must've been working on a "go-to move" for him and that they wanted him to work on mastering that as he only threw one move when we were working the ball and got it to him in the post. I deleted all the games from my HD or I would look, sorry.

Withey's weight is important for a player that plays his style so that he doesn't get pushed around. For a player that brings what Withey can bring, he doesn't need to be able to push players around - at least not if it sacrifices his mobility and speed. He needs to make sure that he doesn't GET pushed around, and he needs to have enough strength that he can get himself set up so that he can get into his next move(s) on the offensive end. On the defensive end he needs enough weight that he doesn't get backed down like a driveway. He's tall enough that if he can get pretty set on the block he's going to be hard to keep the ball from if he gets wide down there. He needs to weight enough that he can hold his position on both ends.

We have a banger, his name is the T2000. I look for him to move his game outside a little bit, unless we have to move Withey out.

If EJ or TT can shoot consistently we could play a little bit like we did in 08:

EJ/TT/Whoever to bring it up or to go to the wing-a la RussRob/Mario/Sherron Releford at a biggish 3 a la B Rush Withey playing a "big" that can face-up a la Darrell/Darnell TRob playing in the middle a la Sasha - I know he's lots smaller than Kaun, but he and Withey might be interchangeable if Withey can hold the post and if TRob can develop a consistent 6-10 footer.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

I saw the reference to the "176 pound snatch" in the article above. I am very confused and have questions.

  1. Can you actually "weigh" one.
  2. Is that considered heavy?
  3. Is this a carnivore?
  4. Is this on the endangered species list?
  5. Can you keep one as a pet?
  6. If you saw one on the street, do you call 911?
  7. Is there any distinguishing features?
  8. From how far away can you pick up the scent?
  9. Does it ambulate, and if so, does it leave a trail ... like a snail?
  10. Is it well groomed?
  11. Can you make one angry?
  12. Is this actually a mythical beast?

I'm struggling for answers here ......

yovoy 9 years, 2 months ago

  1. You can: but why?
  2. "Heavy" isn't the same as "Big". The one is question is mos' def a big one.
  3. 'vore' ˜'eater'...this one is more of a 'spewer', so no, not really a carnivore.
  4. The one we're talking about should be.
  5. The one we're talking about? No, it should be euthanized.
  6. No need. They're mostly harmless, hence the name/reference.
  7. Top hat, cane, bulbous "nose".
  8. Distance to detection = 1 to 4 posts (max)
  9. It's not exactly a "trail", it's more like droppings that form a trail.
  10. Top hat and cane...what do we think?
  11. Ones at this weight are ALWAYS angry. They are "trophies" afterall.
  12. Only in its own mind.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Lord, I apologize for that one there, and please be with the starving Pygmies down there in New Guinea. Amen. LCG

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I am an optimist re the latent talents of Jeff Withey. I hope his body holds up to more minutes of play this season, and that summer weight gain clings. In the spring of 2010 we saw some effective shot blocking and that pretty soft hook shot. Aldrich's comments about Jeff's practicetime shotblocking were very positive. I really look to see Jeff, Releford and EJ show us some solid dependable play in 2011-12. We know that Trob and Taylor will bring high level performances. BenMac, Tharpe and Anderson are walking into a marvelously promising team framework. Garrett and Wesley are a pair of unknowns who could offer some serious help. And I am willing to wager that Bill Self and staff are not yet lying bellyup in the recruiting waters. I'm sitting here wishing I knew how to place a $20 bet on those 35-1 odds for a Jayhawk national championship. The makeup of our team is already close to the potential of any of the schools which reached last year's Elite 8. Rock Chalk!

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 2 months ago

Withey should be on an even plain with Christian Moody at least, but he isn't there now. Moody went from a rather gangly bench warming, practice squad regular to a contributor off the bench in a matter of two years, He and Withey have a very similar frame and body type.

Between the ears is equally as important as numbers on a scale. Put 20 pounds on Kevin Garnett and he's a different player (less effective). Take 20 pounds off of Glenn Davis and he's still the same player. Box score improvement is not a direct byproduct of weight gain. Conditioning and determination contribute more to success as does confidence in the fact that one can overacheive more easily with more mental toughness than underacheiving using less than their potential.

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