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.


Jayhawk470 1 year, 4 months ago

Way to go, Jeff! With your degree, you now have options beyond professional basketball, and you can do pretty much whatever you want with your life.

As for Spencer Dinwiddie taking offense to KU fans taking over the Coors Events Center - don't take it personal. KU fans do this to every place we go to that doesn't take hoops seriously. We are not the problem. Your problem is your school hasn't made hoops a priority for much of its existence. Get over yourself, put a better product on the court, and then maybe your own fans will show up.


yates33333 1 year, 4 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.


ParisHawk 1 year, 4 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.


THE_REAL_DEAL_WITH_BILL_MCNEIL 1 year, 4 months ago

Is the kid on the far left wearing a T-Shirt under his gown? Seriously? Wow. So disrespectful to the other graduates.


jaybate 1 year, 4 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. :-)


Phil Leister 1 year, 4 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.


jgkojak 1 year, 4 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.


J.T. Even 1 year, 4 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.


Rick Arnoldy 1 year, 4 months ago

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


oldalum 1 year, 4 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 1 year, 4 months ago

What's that hanging around his neck?


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 4 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'?


Ron Franklin 1 year, 4 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!!


William Blake 1 year, 4 months ago

Congrats, Jeff!

Always great to be reminded that these guys are student-athletes.


REHawk 1 year, 4 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.


ccarp 1 year, 4 months ago

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


bradynsdad 1 year, 4 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.


archercc 1 year, 4 months ago

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


KansasComet 1 year, 4 months ago

Congratulations Jeff Withey. Well deserved and well earned!


swunruhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

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


Joe Satterwhite 1 year, 4 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


Commenting has been disabled for this item.