Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jeff Withey proudly graduates early

Kansas University center Jeff Withey, center, stands among the December KU graduates receiving information about the graduation ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at the Lied Center.

Kansas University center Jeff Withey, center, stands among the December KU graduates receiving information about the graduation ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at the Lied Center.



Kansas University center Jeff Withey, center, stands among the December KU graduates receiving information about the graduation ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at the Lied Center.

Jeff Withey, who blocked five Colorado shots while wearing a Kansas University basketball jersey Saturday, capped his weekend in a cap and gown Sunday.

Withey, KU’s senior center from San Diego, graduated with a degree in American studies and a minor in education Sunday afternoon at the Lied Center.

“It’s been a long time (in the classroom). I’m certainly proud of myself. It feels good to have all your hard work pay off,” said Withey, who spent one semester at the University of Arizona (2008-09) before transferring to KU in time for second-semester classes.

“I knew at the beginning of last year (he could receive diploma in December),” Withey added. “Scooter (Scott Ward, associate AD, academic and career counseling) told me if I did everything I was supposed to, I’d be able to graduate. I’m doing it early. That way I can kind of just focus on basketball next semester.”

Withey will enroll in a class or two for second semester of the 2012-13 school year.

“I’m still going to take classes. That way I can play basketball, obviously,” said Withey, who has to be enrolled in class to be eligible. “Nothing too difficult.”

Withey, who is currently listed as a first-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by both (25th) and (26th), also will take part in graduation ceremonies in May in Memorial Stadium with teammates Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young.

“It will be a lot of fun doing it in May with the big group of people,” Withey said. “I’m doing this one for my parents (Debbie and Mike). My sister, Michelle, graduates in May (from California State University-San Marcos), and my parents are going to see that. They can’t be two places at once so I’m doing this one for them. The one in May is for me and my friends, I guess you could say.”

Tad’s trying day: The Boulder Daily Camera referred to Colorado’s 90-54 loss to KU on Saturday as coach Tad Boyle’s “homecoming hell.”

The 36-point loss was the biggest margin of defeat in former KU guard Boyle’s three seasons at CU. It was CU’s most lopsided loss since an 84-46 defeat to Air Force on Nov. 18, 2006. Ricardo Patton coached that CU team.

“We couldn’t get stops,” Boyle said. “Kansas played extremely well. They were disciplined. They wanted it more than us. Their effort ... the way they guarded the ball, the pressure they dictated,” Boyle added, rattling off reasons KU mashed his team. “They had 24 layups, 46 points in the paint.

“Our Colorado State game (Wednesday’s 70-61 win in Boulder), we dictated to Colorado State. Today, the shoe was on the other foot. We have to handle that pressure better than we handle it now,” he added of fullcourt pressure.

“Eight assists, 18 turnovers isn’t going to cut it. It doesn’t matter who you are playing. If you are playing a team like Kansas in a building like this (Allen Fieldhouse), your mistakes get magnified. They put it to us.”

Next year’s ticket to be tough: KU fans in Western Kansas and Denver who are used to filling half of Coors Events Center for the KU-Colorado game in Boulder might need to find creative ways to land tickets to next year’s game at CU.

Just a handful of Colorado State fans were among a record crowd of 11,708 that attended Wednesday’s game.

“I’ve heard historically that they called it (Coors Center) Allen Fieldhouse West,” CU sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie told the Boulder Daily Camera. “I heard how they would invade our arena and make it a tough place for us to play in our own stadium. So even though I wasn’t a part of that, I take offense to it because this is my school.”

Boyle has challenged CU fans to buy enough season tickets to sell out the arena next season before Jayhawk fans can get their hands on tickets.

It should be interesting to see how many KU fans purchase season tickets just to attend the KU-CU game in Boulder.


Joe Satterwhite 7 years, 5 months ago

The Boulder Daily Camera referred to Colorado’s 90-54 loss to KU on Saturday as coach Tad Boyle’s “homecoming hell.” LOL

Stan Unruh 7 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations Jeff. Also glad you will walk the hill in May.

KansasComet 7 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations Jeff Withey. Well deserved and well earned!

archercc 7 years, 5 months ago

Ha, I bet it was easy for his parents to spot him before being called up to the stage... Congrats.

Gene Jackson 7 years, 5 months ago

Jeff makes those other students look like pygmies. Way to go, Jeff.

KUFan90 7 years, 5 months ago

Couldnt the LJW use some kind of spot shadow or arrow to help us find Jeff in the crowd? ; )

Joe Baker 7 years, 5 months ago

Where's Jeff in the pic? I can't see him, dang the photographer. I thought Jeff was by the tall dude in the middle, with the necklace around his neck. haha

Congrats Jeff

bradynsdad 7 years, 5 months ago

Finally got to see Kaleb Tarzweckishiyvxzu down at Arizona. That kid is a beast. Him and Withey would have made for a very intimidating post duo, but oh well. I am finding a new faith in our jayhawks. The Colorado game was kind of a sigh of relief. I pegged us to lose but I guess they are figuring things out on the court. I am really hoping our underclassmen start logging some minutes otherwise next years line up will be a crapshoot. It's easy to see Rio's role=sherron and whites roll=chalmers but both need to figure out how to slow down and not turn the ball over.

741hawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Remember sitting across from the KU bench at the K-State game two years ago and seeing Zac Peters (and his parents) and Kaleb (and his Dad) sitting together behind the bench and thinking what a duo THAT would be!

bradynsdad 7 years, 5 months ago

Maybe you haven't been watching our recent games and our struggles to put teams away. Or our loss to mich. St. or the exhibitions that should have been 40 pt wins and weren't. Also Colorado has a good team so no it was not far fetched to think they had a shot. The Colorado game is the first game this year where we looked good.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 5 months ago

Very proud so many of our young men (EJ, KJ, TRel and JW again) will graduate in May. Guys like EJ and TRel need the court time to improve their NBA draft position. However, your right about next year's team. I also hope some of the other guys get more court time.

ccarp 7 years, 5 months ago

Head and shoulders above the rest! Nice work, Jeff! Congrats!

REHawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations, Jeff. Here's a sincere word of thanks and appreciation for your decision to change direction and transfer to KU. I have enjoyed watching your development as one of the most exciting centers in the land. Your block/foul ratio is truly extraordinary.

Ron Franklin 7 years, 5 months ago

Great Job, Jeff! You've gotten better everyday. You have definitely far exceeded my expectations--I hope you continue to set your bar higher than those around you.

I can only imagine how your parents must feel....way to go!!

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations Jeff! I don't know what your GPA is, but I know you're smart enough to leave Arizona for Kansas. That's all I need to know.

As far as Tad Boyle goes -

“They had 24 layups, 46 points in the paint."

I've never been a math whiz, but what am I missing here ?? Does that mean 24 layup 'attempts'?

Tom Longhofer 7 years, 5 months ago

If you take off for a dunk from outside the lane, it counts as a layup, but not points in the paint.

John Randall 7 years, 5 months ago

Not to be too obvious about this, but not every shot in the lane is a layup. A twelve foot jump shot is not a layup. A hook from six feet is not a layup.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 5 months ago

That's the pooka shell necklace from the Maui Tourney last year just to remind his fellow graduates that he has been to Hawaii..and they haven't!!

Whatever it is, the hot blonde to his left is eyeing it as well

Actually, it could be a Native American spirit rope.

No, maybe a Buddist chain of prayer beads.

Alohahawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Definitely not a "puka shell" neckless, but could easily be a regular shell neckless from the islands. Sort of adds to his demeanor and gives Jeff a distinguished look, not that he needs to do so due to his height.

BTW, this, from "Harvey", the 1950 movie starring James Stewart. Jesse White, as the character, Mr. Wilson, reads this definition from a book: " P-O-O-K-A. Pooka. ... A fairy spirit in animal form. Always very large...." He continues to read and ends: "A wise but mis-chie-vi-ous character. Very fond of rum-pots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?" Stewart's character, Elwood P. Dowd, much to his friends's and family's chagrin, is always communicating (aloud) with Harvey, a 6' 7" rabbit (a pooka), which no one else can see. The movie ends with Elwood walking away from the camera, through a gate that mysteriously opens by itself.

Jeff, as Harvey, the rabbit? Withey has emerged from his much discussed and debated, but almost invisible role as bench-warmer, and emerged as the star player which the Jayhawk Nation had doubted during his previous seasons.

And to Mr Jeff Withey: Congratulations, for great performances, both off and on the court.

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 5 months ago

I wondered about that, too. It must be attempts, because there were other scores in the paint. Jeff had some, and there were put-backs. Maybe poor Tad was just a little rattled.

Rick Arnoldy 7 years, 5 months ago

"They wanted it more than us. " That cliche has always annoyed me. Do people really think any players don't want it?

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 5 months ago

It's just a turn of phrase describing apparent effort. KU was diving after more loose balls, going after more offensive rebounds (thanks K Young), interrupting passing lanes more...essentially making all of the pure hustle plays that keep intensity high.

Of course no one thinks that the KU players wanted it more. It might be a cliche, but it's how you sum up a host of examples under one banner.

Jonathan Even 7 years, 5 months ago

Am I the only person that thinks how awesome this is for the team and for Jeff as a player?!? Only having a class or two, and something easy at that, essentially cuts his academic workload by 50-75 percent or more. That's time that he can be spending eating, working out, working on his game, and resting. This could pay huge dividends for us and for Jeff come March.

jgkojak 7 years, 5 months ago

It is fantastic Jeff will have his school stuff off his plate -

he really will be able to focus on doing what he needs to do -

its also a case where his future and KU's season are intertwined - he moves up to a lottery pick if KU is in the Nat. Championship game again.

Phil Leister 7 years, 5 months ago

Unless we're considering 5 years normal, Withey is not graduating early. Counting his time at Arizona, he's been in school for 4.5 years now. I'm NOT trying to take anything away from him. Just saying, 4.5 years isn't "early" by most definitions.

texashawk10 7 years, 5 months ago

True, but after he transferred to KU, he was probably put on an academic plan to graduate in 5 years instead of 4 because it's been know for a long time that Withey would be in college for 5 years. He may not be graduating early compared to someone who was in school for 4 years, but he did graduate early for the academic plan that he was on.

jaybate 7 years, 5 months ago

Jeff just keeps getting a little better all the tme. The long, laconic westerner can now play big minutes. He can hedge defend some. He can shoot a hook. He can avoid fouls and hold onto a board. He can help, and let other players shine. And he can get a triple double. :-)

Tony Bandle 7 years, 5 months ago

....unless it's a T-Shirt with a Jayhawk on it. Take it easy..haven't you seen numerous photos of graduates with shorts under their robes?? It would have been much worse if he had nothing under the robe!! :)

Tony Bandle 7 years, 5 months ago

RDWBM...correct me if I'm wrong but both events are exactly the same....the fact that one has a roof over it doesn't dictate a change in formality standards. C'mon...these kids paid enough $$$$$ to get to this point...let them enjoy it!! I guess we'll just agree to disagree.

ParisHawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate, how Xtreme do you think this season is so far? We don't seem to be suffering too much from lack of muscle, at least not direly.

jaybate 7 years, 5 months ago

That's a great question. I've been puzzling over it some without the prompt, but asking forces me to set something down.

Ratso Izzo pulled his punches, apparently because he was starting that green wood PG. We got one little dose of XTReme Ball from San Jose State U. But that's pretty much it. Looking ahead in the conference, we can expect some muscle from Weber at KSU, Huggins at WVU, and Barnes at Texas. But these three teams aren't very good this season, and their coaches are getting older and may no longer be willing to rock the boat quite as much as they used to. So we may catch a break against these three usual bang ballers.

Looking further around the league, I'm not seeing much muscle ball going on, so far. Not a lot of brawny guys starting. Hoiberg seems not to have stocked up on toughies as I expected.

But I have a feeling Okie State is going to play it pretty rough.

So we may be looking at a receding tide in XTRem Ball in the conference, or just an anomalous down period, while the baddies are restocking.

But the litmus test will be in February as always. February is when bang ball really picks up. And that often sets the tone for March. And there is no indication that the refs are going to use their whistles this March any more than last, so that guaranties a very rough Madness in which the Big Ten, because it appears to be carrying on with bang ball at all the programs with experience, is likely to do better than it deserves.

Perhaps the most important bang ball team to watch is going to be Arizona. They have the bodies, depth and talent to really turn any game into a mugging.

I can't imagine Stumpy Miller not resorting to it in March, but maybe the coaches have reached some unwritten agreement on it.

Will be interesting to watch.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 5 months ago

I think Ohio State will be out for blood, especially at home, to avenge not one but two defeats in one season..the last one ending on as embarrasing an end as possible!!!

jaybate 7 years, 5 months ago

Good point, Oak, I forgot about Vlad Matta. I reckon you're right about him looking for blood. He took a powder on the first game last season. Then got his team's head handed to him by KU in the Madness. Yes, it is likely that he will play some rock 'em/sock'em in the paint. I means someone's got to try to muscle us 40 minutes sooner or later to see if we can handle it.

yates33333 7 years, 5 months ago

If Withey keeps playing like he has, scoring some and blocking a lot of shots, he will go higher than 25 or 26. All pro teams need a player who can plug the lane at key points in a game. Withey does a superb job at this level. He diverts more shots than he blocks and pro scouts pay attention big time to that. They look for role players. Scorers and ball handlers abound at that level. 7 foot shot blockers don't.

Alohahawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Ostertag wasn't much at scoring, at least not in the NBA, but he held his own when it came to blocking and plugging up the middle. Even did a job on S*** O'Neill (For which O'Neill later blind-sided him with a sucker punch, off court. One of the numerous reasons I don't respect O'Neill. Give respect where it's due.) After all, Utah kept Ostertag on the court for quite a few seasons. Although, it helped having the Mailman as their chief scorer. Ostertag did weigh in a few pounds heavier than Jeff. Adding that many pounds could benefit, or it could take away from Jeff's overall blocking abilities.

Joseph Kuebel 7 years, 5 months ago

Ya, but then again look at Hasheem Thabeet, he is 7'3", was a block machine, a 2nd overall pick and was cut and D-Leagued for 2 years (he's finally getting 10 minutes of playing time at the pro-level again). Jeff is a big man with more touch, albeit not that stocky. His range will help him have a 1up on where Thabeet was coming into the NBA.

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