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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jeff Withey nation’s leading swatter

Kansas center Jeff Withey gets a long arm over a shot by San Jose State guard Xavier Jones during the first half on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey gets a long arm over a shot by San Jose State guard Xavier Jones during the first half on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University senior Jeff Withey, who set an NCAA Tournament record by blocking 31 shots in the 2012 postseason, continues to protect the basket at an astonishing rate.

The 7-footer from San Diego leads the country with 40 blocks in seven games — five more blocks than both Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski (seven games) and St. John’s Chris Obekpa (eight games).

Does Withey hope to lead the country in rejections?

“Definitely. I feel I should have done it last year. Anthony Davis did, right?” he said of former Kentucky center Davis, who indeed had a nation’s-best 186 blocks last season to Withey’s school-record 140 rejections.

“I feel I should be up there for sure,” Withey added.

Withey, who doesn’t mind being known as a shot blocker — “It’s what I do,” he said — was asked if he was shooting for David Robinson’s single-season blocks record of 207 set in 1985-86 at Navy.

“Two hundred and seven in one year?” Withey said. “I definitely am. I’ll try for it. Every day I go out there I want to go block shots and help my team win. It leads to easy points for us. As long as I can keep doing what I have to do to help us win. Hopefully I can get a lot more blocks in my career.”

He has 205 career blocks, which ranks sixth on KU’s all-time list. He’s 54 blocks from passing Greg Ostertag, who had 258 from 1992-95. Cole Aldrich had 253 blocks, Nick Collison 243, Eric Chenowith 242 and Scot Pollard 218.

“It would be awesome, especially at KU. It’s a historic program,” Withey said of the career blocks mark. “To have my name in the record books would be a huge honor, something I’d cherish forever.”

In perhaps his most remarkable stat of all, Withey has committed just six fouls all season. A year ago, he had 14 blocks and 25 fouls through seven games.

“That’s unbelievable. Of course, Wilt never fouled out of a game, did he?” KU coach Bill Self said of former KU/NBA great Wilt Chamberlain, who never fouled out of a college or NBA contest.

“If you have five fouls and we played six games (now six in seven games) and you’re a big guy, maybe you are not as aggressive as you need to be. But on the flip side, it does show that Jeff’s timing is off the charts, and his ability to stay away from body contact when he’s blocking balls well above the head is tremendous. We’ve played poor defense many possessions, and he just absolutely has bailed us out.”

Withey leads the country in blocks per foul (6.67). Bachynski, who has committed 14 fouls, is second at 2.50. Obekpa has been whistled for 24 fouls on the season.

Self said that though the game of basketball in college and the NBA “has gotten smaller,” there’s “still a place” for a true 7-footer like Withey.

“The hardest thing to guard in our game is a skilled 4-man (power forward),” Self said. “That’s the position that screws everybody up ... having a 4-man that can stretch it or put it down. There’s no question there’s a place for a 5, and there’s not as many it seems like now, because the majority of ones aren’t in school (instead in NBA).

“Jeff ... I don’t even know if the next level he’s a center. He may be somewhat of a 41⁄2 offensively and a 5 defensively. He has evolved as a pretty good basketball player, there is no question about that.”

Withey is second on the team in scoring (14.6 ppg to Ben McLemore’s 14.9) and first in rebounding (8.1 rpg per game to Kevin Young’s 6.2 and McLemore’s 5.7). Withey has hit a team-leading 59.1 percent of his shots, though his free-throw shooting percentage has dipped to 63.2 compared to his sizzling 79.5 mark of a year ago.

“I feel I am on a roll for sure. I definitely want to keep it up,” Withey said of his overall offensive play. “I’m getting extra shots up with coach Roberts (Norm, assistant). I’m trying to get more aggressive. Coach Self is trying to instill that in my head. My teammates are finding me open. It’s them finding easy buckets for me. As long as I keep that up, it’d be great. As long as we keep winning, that’s fine.”

KU will meet Colorado at 1 p.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

Frankamp hits for 46: KU signee Conner Frankamp scored 46 points in Wichita North’s 76-43 season-opening victory over Wichita Northwest on Friday.

The 6-foot combo guard hit 14 of 25 shots, including seven of 12 three-pointers. He was 11-of-11 from the free-throw line and had 10 rebounds with three assists and two steals against one turnover. Frankamp passed Ricky Ross (South) for fourth place on the Wichita City League’s career scoring list. According to the Wichita Eagle, he has 1,687 points, 52 behind Heights’ Aubrey Sherrod for third.

Comments

stm62 1 year, 4 months ago

It's not only about the number of shots that Withey blocks. It's the intimidation factor near the basket and the number of shots he alters.

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Emery 1 year, 4 months ago

The "Sultan of Swat" is who Jeff is.

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William Blake 1 year, 4 months ago

Kudos to Mr. W for being the swat champ!

I just wish he would take some dance lessons. It might help him loosen up on offense, develop some rhythm and drop all the off-balance hesitation moves in the post.

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Sam Constance 1 year, 4 months ago

Wouldn't it be cool to see Withey set the single-season blocks record? How might he go about doing that...

Well, he has 40 blocks now after playing 7 games for a 5.7 bpg average. KU has 24 regular season games left, and at that rate, he would finish those 24 games with an additional 137 blocks, for a grand total of 177 blocks without any consideration for the extra games we presume he will play in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.

A total of 177 blocks would mean that he needed a mere 30 additional blocks to match Robinson's record. At his current rate, a mere six additional games would get him to 211 total blocks on the season, which means KU could do one of the following...

1) Play in the finals of the Big 12 tournament and get to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tourney 2) Play in the semis of the Big 12 tourney and get to the Elite 8 of the NCAA tourney 3) Lose in the first game of the Big 12 tourney and get to the Final Four 4) If for some shocking reason, KU didn't earn a bye (B12 teams 1-6), they would potentially get an extra game in the Big 12 tourney if they got to the final

Of course, the ultimate key to all of this, more than any other individual factor, is Withey staying on a 5.7 bpg pace, which might be a bit of stretch, given that competition will only get more stout moving forward...

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cool_beans 1 year, 4 months ago

remember that scene in space jam where that aliens steal the players talent, if Jeff was in the nba i bet his would get stolen

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 4 months ago

HOO HOO!!!!

Kansas at #9 and Kentucky OUT OF the Top 25!! No UK trolls for awhile, anyway. :)

3

Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 4 months ago

I was impressed the other day (before the OSU game) that if Jeff Withey were a team unto himself (or if KU had no other players with a block on the season) he'd rank 13th in most blocks this season. The guy's become a machine.

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notjustbread 1 year, 4 months ago

I love Jeff getting blocks during the games, but can someone shut up the commentators that always bring up his volleyball linage as the foundation for his block skill.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 4 months ago

Random thoughts issued on a Monday morning.

1] Can anyone at LJW explain to me why an article about Jefff features a photo of Travis who is only mentioned in a sidebar column?? Just kind of a curious presentation.

2] Saw evidence Friday of Jeff's pursuit as the nation's "Top Swatter" that he could become susceptable to the pump fake and jump-in lean as we play higher quality foes.... needs to keep his feet till the last second.

3] That scratching sound you all heard Friday night after BenMac's monster dunk was every NBA GM writing down his name as a lottery pick. I am afraid we better enjoy him while we have him.

4] Liam Neeson would take Daniel Craig apart like an erector set.

5] Next season will be a true read on the progress of the Charlie Weis era...at least there were a few patches of blue sky this year

6] My prediction..Conner Frankamp will make a bigger impact his freshman year than Perry Ellis will make in his...but watch out for Perry's soph year!!!

7] St.Louis mourns the passage of a really good guy..Rick Majerus. I had the pleasure of spending a few minutes with him and he just loved to talk "ball". He once bought a dinner for a homeless guy in a bus station..and talked basketball with him for 45 minutes!!

1

Kent Richardson 1 year, 4 months ago

Ben,s dunk had more Connie Hawkins than Jordan in it.

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jhawx2008 1 year, 4 months ago

Conner's stats are impressive but we have to show love to the other recruits. I read that we had another future Jayhawk post a triple double last week. Wayne Selden had 19 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. Wow! He is going to be a beast for KU next year.

1

mdalesh 1 year, 4 months ago

I was at Sprint Center Friday and saw the Mac Dunk, great things to come. Does anyone know the time of the Temple game? All I can find is TBA.

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REHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Wish there were stat emphasis for scores off blocks, just as there are for scores off turnovers. I would imagine that Jeff leads the nation in that uncharted category.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 4 months ago

what are the odds on Frankamp breaking the Wichita City League scoring record? Isn't that Perry's record currently? That could set up some friendly competition for next season!

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 4 months ago

Congrats Conner! Def good to see him back for that injury.

Every team out there knows there is only one player you have to guard, hes the only one that can beat you, double team him....and he gets 46. Rock Chalk

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chriz 1 year, 4 months ago

Looks like Frankamp is back from that injury. Can't wait to see him in a Jayhawks uni. Threes will be raining from the heavens. Hopefully he gets Hudy-ized like the rest of them!

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Sam Burns 1 year, 4 months ago

I meant to say "if you could".

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Sam Burns 1 year, 4 months ago

jaybate, it would be nice if you include shots altered in your disruption theory.

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jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

Not sure I agree with a good 4 causing the most problems, but it doesn't matter.

Self seems to be needling Jeff with Thomas.

Or is he needling Perry?

Or both?

Regardless, Self has clearly reached that time of year when the needle is in use.

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jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

Frankamp on fire!

Trey alarm blaze.

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jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

Jeff, get the FT stroke back, or the fouling will get merciless.

2

5yardfuller 1 year, 4 months ago

Wilt fouled out of two games in college, February 18, 1957 vs Oklahoma and January 18, 1958 vs Missouri.

6

jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

"Aridzona Alert"

Stumpy Miller seems only a so-so coach, but give anyone enough guns and he is dangerous (e.g., John Calipari).

Stumpy's got Kaleb and some other good bigs. Kaleb and Angelo Chol, both of whom Self recruited hard, are only averaging about 20-25 mpg they have so many bigs.

But the Aridzona alert is not being issued for bigs KU couldn't sign. It is being issued for trey shooting. The Cactus Cats average 44% from trey and have four rotation guys over 40% from trey!!!!

So many bigs and so much 40%+ trifectation looms big at Madness time, once Stumpy gets the TOs under control.

Since Stumpy's coaching talent is just adequate (I.e., he never appears to get teams to play above their talent), and his charisma seems modest, it would seem his stack of talent might have anomalous origin.

Hypothesis: I wonder if the ShoeCo-Summer Game-Agency Complex were picking, oh, say, 1-2 teams each year to stack with talent to maximize the likelihood its brand and talent wins the ring and goes highest in the draft?

Just a hypothesis.

Not a conspiracy theory.

Wouldn't it be legal for The Complex to do this?

I can't recall any rules against it.

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MinnesotaJay 1 year, 4 months ago

I think Wilt's most impressive record was his average minutes-per-game in the '61-'62 season - 48.5, considering that a regulation game is only 48 minutes long! But, when you figure he played eight full overtime periods in addition, you get a record that will never, ever be challenged!

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jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

I didn't realize how important blocks were, until I formulized my disruption statistic as:

(steals + blocks)/TOs

Blocks don't always lead to a change of possession the way steals and TOs do, though often they do, but they always indicate disruption of an opponent, or one's self, the way steals and TOs do.

To win the disruption stat decisively nearly guaranties you win, because you get so many mores scoring opps than your opponent, and take them out of their comfort zone more often in trying to score.

Team A tends to steal it much less than turn it over. Pressure defense with skilled defenders can edge steals upwards, but even then Team A still tends to steal it less often than than turn it over.

Further, the better the opponent the more likely steals and turnovers are to converge, since both tend to pressure and protect well.

But blocks seem more dependent on a skill asymmetrically distributed even among the best teams.

So a great shot blocker tends to give Team A a big edge in disruption that gets more decisive as teams get better and their stealing and protecting get more similar in capability.

Further, a great shot blocker counter acts the edge of an opponent occasionally having its own great shot blocker.

Jeff blocking really does give KU a big edge in any game where the opponent lacks this skill.

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KULA 1 year, 4 months ago

The most impressive thing about Jeff's blocks is that he keeps the ball in play (never blocks the ball out of bounds) and it usually ends up in our hands. It's a much more impressive stat because it's more like a steal. Never seen a shot blocker do that like Jeff.

Still a place for a true 7-footer? Lol--ya think?

Jeff's offense has really come around the last 3 games. The first two against mid-major bigs (with all that implies) but in the OSU game, against legitimate competition. Great to see Jeff growing in confidence and assertiveness, and becoming, dare I say it, a leader on this team.

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Lonnie Ross Dillon 1 year, 4 months ago

I believe that Wilt was better than Russell, but Russell played on the Celtics so he got more rings and fame. Wilt later proved what he could do with players around him when the Lakers went all the way.

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Brendan Connolly 1 year, 4 months ago

I'll take the 55 bounds in a game as most impressive, especially since it was against Bill Russell. Heck he averaged somethink like 29 points 29 boards against Russell.

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MrMario15 1 year, 4 months ago

Wilt going 28-32 from the FT line when he scored 100 points -- was the most surprising stat of all

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 4 months ago

Wilt never fouled out in College or pros? Forget the 100 point game, that is far more impressive.

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