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Originally published May 16, 2011 at 12:29p.m., updated May 17, 2011 at 01:09a.m.

Jeff Withey, Jordan Juenemann to play in Europe this summer for Athletes in Action

Kansas center Jeff Withey slaps hands with fans as he exits the court following the Jayhawks' 113-75 win over Longwood, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey slaps hands with fans as he exits the court following the Jayhawks' 113-75 win over Longwood, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University basketball players Jeff Withey and Jordan Juenemann will play for Athletes in Action during a two-week trip to Europe from May 19 through June 3.

During that time, Athletes in Action will face local European teams, including clubs from Greece, Hungary, Poland and also the Kosovo national team.

Athletes in Action is a global ministry that uses sports to help people deal with questions of faith.

“This will be my first time overseas,” said Juenemann, a 6-foot-3 senior-to-be from Hays. “It will be great to experience that and get to know guys from other teams. I think it will be really enjoyable.”

Juenemann wanted to travel with Athletes in Action the last few summers, but plans had never worked out. He called the director of Athletes in Action to tell him he was interested this year, and a week later, Juenemann was informed that he made the team.

Because the team needed post players, Juenemann then started to recruit his roommate, Withey, a 7-foot junior to be from San Diego.

At first, Withey declined.

“I haven’t been home for a year, so I wanted to go back home,” Withey said. “Coach (Kurtis) Townsend and coach (Bill) Self heard about it, and they told me it would be a good opportunity for me because I haven’t played a real basketball game in such a long time and it would also help me with my Christian faith.”

It won’t be Withey’s first time in Europe, as he played in basketball tournaments in France and Germany during high school.

“I’m looking forward to going to that part of the world because there is so much history there. Playing the national team and being able to share my faith will be awesome,” Withey said.

Juenemann is also appreciative of all of the individuals who donated to Athletes in Action to help the team travel to Europe.

“We’ll be doing Bible studies, lots of prayers and growing in our faith together. I really believe God has something for Jeff and me over there to bring back to the states and KU,” Juenemann said. “We want to come back and be leaders on the team from what we learn in Europe. We want to thank all of the people who support Athletes in Action to make this trip possible. We’ll be growing in our basketball skills and growing in our faith, so to be involved with Athletes in Action will be an experience I take with me for the rest of my life.”

Juenemann and junior-to-be Withey will fly out of Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday before meeting with their teammates in Chicago. They then will fly to Frankfurt, Germany, before taking a bus to Macedonia to start training.

The KU roommates will return to Kansas on June 3, a few days before summer classes begin.

Juenemann and Withey will be joined on the team by three other Big 12 players: Cory Jefferson (Baylor); A.J. Walton (Baylor); and Will Spradling (Kansas State). Other team members are: Austin Dufault (Colorado); Scottie Wilbekin (Florida); Jake Kitchell (Indiana State); Langston Hall (Mercer); and William Mosley (Northwestern State).

Lacey update

Trevor Lacey, a 6-3 senior guard from Butler High in Huntsville, Ala., is scheduled to sign with either KU, Kentucky, Alabama or Auburn on Wednesday afternoon at his high school.

His dad, William Pride, tells kentucky.rivals.com it’s possible no announcement will be made at that time.

“It could be later,” Pride told the website. “Pretty much right now he’s just discombobulated ... a lot of pressure on the kid. I pretty much feel sorry for the kid just to know that he really doesn’t know.”

Players who do not sign letters-of-intent can still sign grants in aid upon reporting to campus.

Next year’s rankings

Rivals.com has issued its new rankings for the class of 2012. Some players being recruited by KU and their new rankings: Perry Ellis, 6-8, Wichita Heights, No. 20; Shabazz Muhammad, 6-5, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, No. 2; Mitch McGary, 6-10, Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, N.H., No. 5; Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, St. Mark’s, Southborough, Mass., No. 11; Gabe York, 6-2, Lutheran High, Orange, Calif., No. 31; Winston Shepard, 6-8, Findlay Prep High, Henderson, Nev., No. 38; Nino Jackson, 6-2, Ardmore (Okla.) High, No. 39; J-Mychal Reese, 6-1, Bryan (Texas) High, No. 40; Robert Upshaw, 6-11, San Joaquin Memorial High, Fresno, Calif., No. 45. Future KU player Zach Peters, 6-9, Prestonwood Christian, Plano, Texas, is No. 126.

Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Seriously doubt 'theend' is a ku grad or student--no way a ku diploma on his wall. All his posts very easily=troll. Just here to incite. But he's so stupid, I cant resist thumping the dumbshizz--too easy. Would be hella fun in person, too...what a great outlet.

Well, theend, looks like the apocalypse is near for your purplepussy 'cats. Dalonte is gone to Maryland to be in the ACC. Turgeon has proved little, but Dalonte ready to leave Frank and hellhole Manlesshattan nonetheless. Preseason #3 last year, but almost an NITscare, and now Pullen gone, too. From hero-to-zero...people jump off sinking ships if they can, dont they???? Theend.

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Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

theend/purplebutt, Agree about Withey. Do you honestly think losing to Ariz, Duke, Self's Illini, Syracuse, Bucknell, Bradley, UCLA, MichSt, UNI, VCU dampens any of our enthusiasm?? Seriously? You are dumber than a pile of steaming compost. You need to direct your comments to Bill Self. We arent his mind-readers or answering service. Go root for your own loser 'cats! Write Bill Self a letter and send it to University of Kansas, c/o KU Athletics. Put your theory to the test and ask the man himself?

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theend 2 years, 11 months ago

Withey seems like a nice guy......but he needs all the help he can get. This will be good for him. Even so......I wouldn't expect too much from him.

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jayhawkinATL 2 years, 11 months ago

Man, has Zach Peters fallen like a rock since he committed or what???

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William Blake 2 years, 11 months ago

This should be a good experience for both players. Euro-ball refs let them play (few calls) so it will be a body-banging good experience, especially for Jeff. Pretty much all big men interior dirty play is allowed; elbows and extreme body contact is the norm... and you can foul penetrating guards and get away with it as long as you don't totally mug them. He'll realize how important strength is to his game. Just so he doesn't return to become a "hack master" next season.

My fingers are crossed that neither player gets too banged up over there. Fortunately, they will have months to recover. Euro-ball is like a hybrid of basketball and American football.

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theend 2 years, 11 months ago

Question for all you in denial KU fans......Not only does KU choke in March.....but they choke badly. So.....why? Why is that Northern Iowa and VCU not only won.....they completely destroyed KU......can you say blow-out??

This doesn't ever get mentioned.......everybody only talks about KU losing. They forget that KU was absolutely dismantled by two inferior teams.

So.....lets hear it you rah-rah KU fans......why? I know your perfect Jayhawks can do no wrong......so how is this possible?

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Dan Spurgin 2 years, 11 months ago

Jeff, just play for Christ's sake.

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KU 2 years, 11 months ago

Withey needs to put his faith in Cheeseburgers and Milk Shakes............and Hudy.

I'm just not sure he has the drive to be a dominant Big. I can't tell if it's a lack of work ethic or a fear of getting hurt or something else. In the little time we have actually seen him on the court he rarely looks like he's into the game. You can make excuses all you want about how he hasn't played in an actual game situation, but give me a break.......he has gone up against the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson everyday in practice. If that doesn't prepare you to play in games, I'm not sure what will.

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nicka 2 years, 11 months ago

Perses...

"upside" usually refers to someone with unrefined athletic ability with loads of potential. Withey just has lots of room for improvement because he isn't very good. I believe that is called "sucky".

Nba aspirations are laughable. He's a stick figure that trips all over himself. Remember, he wasn't a freshman last year, plus he had a redshirt year to develop. Play the injury card here if you like, but he should already be showing signs of improvement, and hasn't.

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bennybob 2 years, 11 months ago

shouldn't withey be spending the summer in the weight room instead of playing pall in a part of the world notorious for producing slender big men?

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Make_Ur_Free_Throws 2 years, 11 months ago

Nice to see Jeff and Jordan getting this opportunity, and using their God given talents to share in a positive way with others. Growth can be measured in many ways, even on the inside where you can't always see it, and I'm sure what they will take away from this summer will be a big benefit in their lives both on and off the court! Good luck men!

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cheeseburger 2 years, 11 months ago

Congrats and best wishes to Jordan and Jeff. Glad to see these good Christian kids putting their faith into action.

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lee3022 2 years, 11 months ago

Experience is good for both players and life experiences in Europe is positive as well.

However, my first thought it no training table and no supervision pumping iron might slow down Withey's strength development. But two weeks will not likely make or break it and Coach knows best.

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Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Withey is preparing for a life of ministry or missionary work after he graduates...what a noble calling. Will this experience turn him into a "ptp'er" under the big lights of March?

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tophawk87 2 years, 11 months ago

This is all part of our re-hab effort, our bball image has suffered the last couple of years...

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jro72887 2 years, 11 months ago

sounds like a great experience and cause lets just hope withey doesnt hurt himself by stepping on the court... we need his size next year!

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hawk316 2 years, 11 months ago

This is a great deal for these guys and should be a very positive experience for them. AIA is a solid ministry and provides student athletes a terrific opportunity to grow in a variety of ways: spiritually, socially, culturally, as well as on the court. Plus, the quality of competition can be fairly significant. A very good decision, Jeff and Jordan!

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 11 months ago

Jeff, remember, the Lord loves us all..but he really loves those that block shots and dunk the ball!!! :)

Play hard and enjoy your trip.

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