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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Keegan

KU big man gets votes of confidence

Kansas forward Jeff Withey pulls in a pass before Oklahoma State defenders Le'Bryan Nash (2) and Brian Williams (4) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jeff Withey pulls in a pass before Oklahoma State defenders Le'Bryan Nash (2) and Brian Williams (4) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 81-66 victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 11, 2012.

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KU vs. Oklahoma State

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Kansas defeated Oklahoma State, 81-66, on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

KU vs. Oklahoma State

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It’s inaccurate to say that nothing can boost the confidence of a college basketball player coming off a scoreless game in a tough loss more than a 25-point road outburst against the nation’s sixth-ranked team.

One more powerful confidence booster does exist, and its fingerprints were so easy to spot Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse. Nothing can make a player believe in himself more than teammates showing they believe in him by going out of their way to feed him the ball.

In the signature play of a first half as dominant as any the Kansas University basketball team has played this season, Thomas Robinson had an open 10-foot lane jumper, but he bypassed it to feed Jeff Withey for a dunk.

The Jayhawks left their edge in the locker room at halftime and held on for an 81-66 victory against Oklahoma State after taking a 51-24 lead at the break.

Despite the lousy second-half play, more good than bad came from this one, most notably the loud statement that Withey has emerged as a serious scoring threat, and teammates welcome it. His confidence clearly fueled by that, Withey turned into a rebounding monster for at least one afternoon. He finished with 18 points, a career-high 20 boards and seven blocked shots.

Even looking for Withey as often as he did, Robinson still managed 24 points and 14 rebounds.

“It makes it a lot easier for me,” Robinson said of Withey’s back-to-back blockbuster efforts. “I feel like I’m not even working to score anymore the way Jeff’s playing. My play deserves nothing. This is on Jeff. He’s playing his butt off right now. He’s definitely the reason we’re playing good right now.”

Originally credited with the basket that bounced off an Oklahoma State player’s head, Robinson had that taken away when the rule book showed it should be credited to the KU team. Robinson took other potential baskets away from himself by looking for Withey.

“Definitely,” Robinson said of looking for the 7-footer. “I know that he’s capable of scoring. He proved that the past two games, and right now he’s on a roll. I felt like it’s my job to keep him on the roll, especially when people are focusing their attention on me a lot. That just leaves Jeff right there.”

Nobody gave Withey the kid-glove treatment after his Missouri no-show.

“At Missouri, I didn’t score at all,” Withey said. “I wasn’t a factor. Coach was really angry about that. He feels like I just let them punk me. The last couple of practices have been tough. He’s been getting on me, getting me to be more physical in practice. He’s a good motivator, and these guys (points to teammates) are, too. I’ve been trying to be more positive and more aggressive.”

Withey never will be a consistently swift finisher because of the way he sometimes gathers himself after offensive rebounds, but earning two free throws is nearly as productive because he’s shooting .851 from the line.

Withey has reached double figures in scoring in eight of the past nine games after doing so in just five of the season’s first 15. His 20 rebounds were the most by a KU player in a Big 12 game since Cole Aldrich had that many Feb. 23, 2009, against Oklahoma.

Withey leads the Big 12 in blocked shots, a function of long arms and impeccable timing.

“I’ve watched a lot of tape, and you just see the progression of him,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “I think he fully understands he’s playing with the best player in America. I think he’s slowly figured out, ‘Hey, this is a positive for me. This is good. I’m going to feed off this.’ That’s good for Kansas, but bad for us.”

Withey missed a few easy shots, but that didn’t stop him from consistently battling inside to put up shots. His ability to take a physical licking and keep on ticking will face a tougher test Monday night when the Jayhawks travel to Manhattan into as tough an environment as they’ll invade all year.

“K-State’s different than Oklahoma State and Baylor,” Self said. “Baylor plays a certain way, and Oklahoma State plays a certain way, and K-State doesn’t play that way at all. Jeff had a good game against K-State the first time, so he’s capable of going in there and playing well, no question. But there’s going to be a body on him every time he moves. That kind of goes with the territory when you play the Wildcats.”

In the state rivalry game in Allen Fieldhouse, Withey totaled eight points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots. That came one game after he was limited to eight minutes of playing time in a rout of North Dakota State. He responded well to that benching and to the scoreless humiliation against Missouri. He showed Saturday that nothing gets him going quite like a vote of confidence from teammates.

Comments

treed14ku 2 years, 7 months ago

All KU fans need to sign this petition to not play Mizzou again. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/b... Pass this link on to all your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Our voices matter.

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Jason Keller 2 years, 7 months ago

Hahahaha broken record. That's funny. It's tough to argue with the people that no longer want to play MU because at this point in the rivalry, the experience is no longer positive for KU. Personally, I would like to see them in our nonconference schedule.

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CoastieJhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Agreed Kellerman411. I'd like to see the rivalry continue. No better satisfaction as a Jayhawk than beating MU. No other regular season victory over a Big12 team or non conference team can match it.

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ejlumus 2 years, 7 months ago

F mizzery!!!

Admin has spoken. You don't need to sign a petition.

mizzery is gone!!!! out of sight out of mind after this season.

End of story..........

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hawk316 2 years, 7 months ago

Exactly, Juris. We have all seen what this guy is capable of physically. Jeff's success rests upstairs. If he can find a way on a consistent basis to be mentally aggressive and confident, this kid is going to continue to improve and make a significant impact in his remaining time in Lawrence.

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jhawk613 2 years, 7 months ago

except his last name is Withey...

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

Earlier in the year, it seemed there were too many times that the guards would feed Withey in the post only to have him kick the ball back out without ever making an offensive move. It is so good to see him being aggressive, and even better that he's getting boards now as well. Most teams don't have 1 player with a double-double. How crazy would it be for us to have 2.

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Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

This is misleading though. Withey's teammates are giving him the ball now in spots where he is able to produce. He's not a very good back to the basket type of player as you indicate and he still kicks it out in the half court set when he's on the block. However, His teammates weren't always getting Withey the ball in the best position before, but I think T-Rob and the rest of his teammates are starting to trust him more and more which is fantastic. It's all about "Chemistry"!

The difference is that T-Rob has realized how to get Withey the ball when the defense is collapsing or running at him. Against Baylor, I think it's kind of "Fools Gold" game because of the "Soft" zone, but nonetheless it was definitely a confident booster for Withey.

Against Okie State, that's what I'm hoping to see going forward because of their man. KSU will be a good indicator to see if the streak continues. As long as T-Rob realizes he doesn't have to force anything anymore, but still pick his spots to be aggressive...............Withey will continue to benefit from T-Rob's attraction for defenses to key on him.

Good post!

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KULA 2 years, 7 months ago

+1--seems like most people expect a big lanky 7 footer to be as spry and nimble as a point guard. Most of these big guys have limited agility and a limited number of moves and have to get the ball in just the right position to get their move on. If they don't get the ball in the right position right position they kick it out and start the rotation over again.

The only thing holding Jeff back is his lack of touches. Most times when he gets touches, good things happen.

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jhawkr 2 years, 7 months ago

I wish a couple of other Jayhawks would drink what WITHEY has been drinking lately .........

I wasn't as impressed with him earlier in the season as some were, but I have to admit there isn't much not to like the past several games. He's stepped up immensely.

His only real fault now is in not being stronger around the bucket to put back some of the easy shots he misses or too easily allows others to alter and make him miss.

Keep eating the RED MEAT Withey and hit Taco Bell late at night, etc. And if the other Hawks have to punch him in the nads in the locker room during pre-game to get him fired up, then by no means stop now !

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Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

I say hire Clyde Lovellette as a consultant to travel with the team for the rest of the season.

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jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

He could certainly teach the hook to Jeff.

Imagine if Jeff were to work at becoming proficient at three kinds of hooks:

1) Danny's jump hook;

2) Kareem's sky hook; and

3) Clyde's round house.

A hook for all occasions.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Looking forward, the forthcoming games should tell a lot of what to expect from KU during the post season tournaments. If Withey can continue to produce against a rugged, good rebounding K State team, and especially against Mizzery's speed and shooters, then the Jayhawks should have teams thinking twice about double and triple teaming TRob. That is the biggest thing which has limited this team's performance levels (and TRob's stats). Then, any 3 pointers made by any Jayhawk will be icing on the cake.

The final games of this season's conference schedule should be very interesting and exciting.

It also should give a good forecast on what Jayhawk fans can expect for next season. Because KU should have scorers and rebounders in abundance during the 2012 - 2013 season.

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jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Agreed, and as with every year, the conference tourney is going to pose a difficult choice. When you are already guarantied an invite to the Madness with a first or second place finish and a high RPI, etc., how much can you afford to go all out for three games that may get you a better seed, but may also burn out your legs for the first round of the Big Dance?

Self has always gone all out, but he has always had a lot of depth to go all out with. Not so this season. He may have to sand bag in one of these games. Which one? I would play the first to win. Sand bag the second game. If you lose, so what? If you don't, you are a little rested to win the third game.

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

Aloha----

You took my advise--------nice!!!!!!!!!!!!

Looking forward to coming to your State and getting greeted by your avatar!!!!!!!!!

rcjh!

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

I meant to say, "coming to your State someday"------

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Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Mahalo. I mentioned (see post below) about another poster recommending I post an " airport lei greeter" avatar. Just didn't remember who it was. But mahalo for the suggestion.

BTW, I may switch back and forth between this one and a Jayhawk surfing a wave. Just thought this one might please the men and boys out there.

I asked a friend to pose for the pic, but she doesn't greet people at the airport. So, unfortunately, she won't be there to greet you. Eat your heart out. :-? Rock Chalk!

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Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Mahalo. I mentioned a while back that I was considering an avatar, and another poster suggested a lei greeter from the airport. This is a friend who agreed to pose with a lei. I then added the Jayhawk. It came out pretty good. I thought the guys on here might like it.

I was debating between a surfing Jayhawk, which I may switch back and forth with in the future, and this one.

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yates33333 2 years, 7 months ago

TRob's too humble. He is still The Man!!! Withey is the Phenom!! With they, the man and the phenom, KU rocks. (OK. there's one too many h's).

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Gene Jackson 2 years, 7 months ago

I watched the game with DVR and as I usually do, when I see a really good play I will replay it and watch it again and sometimes several times. But usually it is only one or possibly two a game. In the first half alone there were a bunch of plays I watched over and over again. What a pleasure. And it wasn't just Robinson. A great effort by the whole team - I just wish it had extended through the entire game.

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jhox 2 years, 7 months ago

What's wrong with Elijah? He hit a few first half shots, but the second half he looked like a totally lost Freshman. There have been times this year when I've thought he's been the second best on ball defender on our team, but yesterday he played a lot of matador defense. There was one second half fast break OSU had where his defensive effort would have been embarrassing in an AAU game, let alone an NCAA game. I thought Coach Self was going to have a stroke after that one. At times he looked tired. He had no bounce in his step. He seems to be struggling with confidence handling the ball. At one point the lane opened up for him, he took a jab step and drove to about he free throw line, then aborted. If he's our first option at point next year, we're going to be in trouble.

I expected he would be a guy would would get better and better as the year went on, finally getting his chance to play, but it looks to me like he's regressing. I hope he can get it fixed by March.

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JHawk06 2 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. It's wonderful to see Jeff doing so well!! but EJ has almost become a liability when on the court. I used to think that he at least brought good defense and is another player that can handle the ball.. The last few games have made me rethink that.

to repeat a quote from yesterday "What, did EJ get high before the game?"

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

Pretty much the whole team was a liability in the 2nd half, and the whole team was great in the first - including EJ.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

Pretty much the whole team was a liability in the 2nd half, and the whole team was great in the first - including EJ.

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Robert Brock 2 years, 7 months ago

If Jeff needs to "gather himself" he doesn't also need to dribble (when he isn't advancing position) also. He gets the ball stripped. Sometimes Robinson resorts to the same mistake. This stuff must drive Manning insane.

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George Powell 2 years, 7 months ago

I guess I will state the obvious, but the no look pass over his head and the defender to the open KU player (forgot who ), was beautiful.

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bad_dog 2 years, 7 months ago

Kevin Young. I completely agree.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Made the top ten ESPN highlight reel last night (# 8, I think). Unfortunately, the full court lob by the OSU player also made it (#6).

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Jason Keller 2 years, 7 months ago

This K-State game is a trap. They aren't playing well this season but, rest assured, they will play their best game of the year tomorrow. It's tough being Kansas, you get everyone's best shot.

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

411---

No doubt--completely agree. Seeing that image of Michael Beasely dancing on the scorer's table after he drilled us for, god how many points, makes me want to puke. I have come to terms that when teams rush their court after we lose, is the ultimate complement. It seems to happen, too, after we move up in the rankings, which will happen Monday night. Hope it doesn't happen on this Monday, the 13th.

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John Randall 2 years, 7 months ago

That game (the first KSU victory over KU in Bramlage) wasn't a Beasley show. We handled Beasley and Walker pretty well, but what we weren't ready for that night was the freshman guard who put up about 20 or so. Oh, yeah, just remembered his name – Pullman, or something like that.

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dtdjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

It will be a tough game but we will grind it out for a victory

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Steve Brown 2 years, 7 months ago

FrankMartin will have team fired up, AFH West will be purple land. We thrive in hostile environments, recall we played great in central Mo. 98% of the game.

We take care of business one play at a time.

We will be called for a couple questionable calls, deal with it, they will get some Denman like shots to fall, deal with it, the ball will clank off the unlevel rims a couple times, deal with it.

State will get their runs, expect it, fight for 50.50 balls, get your stops, run our stuff, enjoy the competition, you will not be denied. Tight huddles, you got this.

You are the team where we were 'supposed' to be weak and rebuilding, not any depth not enough experience. Surprise, we have watched you this year and you have enough depth for me and enough experience for me as your record and scoreboard tells the story. Get this the twins are gone the 4.5 star recruits aren't here yet, and so we just win and win, this year reminding me more and more of Danny's senior year, except these guys won't lose half that many games....can we stop the clock and enjoy this season another couple months?

Enjoy the atmosphere and play every possession like it is your last. Hear us from our homes giving your the RH Chant with 2 minutes left, take what it yours, then get out of town.

RCJHGKU.

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Steve Brown 2 years, 7 months ago

My KState pals are happy MU left so they might move up to our #1 rival in KC market as they are in the west.

Beat them so bad they can't be called a rival. 20 points should do it.

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yates33333 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's hope they play as they did against Texas in the second half. They looked lost, befuddled, sub-ordinary, incompetent. Their big men seem to have a very quick frustration point.

Let's hope they don't play like they did in the first half of the Texas game.

Coach Martin seemed subdued considering coach Martin. I suspect that ended when he crossed north of the Red River. I almost didn't enjoy watching him in the Texas game. He's got to be the most interesting coach to watch since Tark the Shark at UNLV. Not yesterday, however.

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REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

All summer and early fall, these posts were filled with the word IF regarding Jeff Withey's 2011-2012 performance. IF Withey can produce. IF Withey can take the next step up. IF Withey doesn't spend the season injured. Etc. ad infinitum. What a joy for this squad, coaching staff and fans to see those IFs resolved. After the Missouri game, many posters were back to the IF postulations. IF Thomas and Jeff could just begin working more smoothly in twin tower ball distribution; IF Jeff could just step up as a less passive big man, etc. Now we are seeing our seven footer in a much more active agressive role, with team members working to play to his strengths. Fire has begun to rage in those 84 inches of big man pride and potential. Yeeee-Haw! Rock Chalk!

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sundancewierdo 2 years, 7 months ago

Every time I try to text his name, auto correct changes it to Whitey. That makes me laugh...

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sundancewierdo 2 years, 7 months ago

Someone tell me how his no look pass to Kevin Young did not get SC top 10 love?

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Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Actually, I think it got #8. And the OSU half court lob got #6. Two top tens in the same game isn't bad, even though the OSU got the better score.

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jayhawker_97 2 years, 7 months ago

i'm confidence we can beat Cuse. final four, here we go!

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CherryCreekHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I must say that someday KU fans really need to grow up and get over this silly obsession with Mizzou. Who cares if KU and Mizzou ever play again. Taking the time to sign a petition is a joke.

In fact, this entire crying fit over MU going to the SEC hardly merits any discussion. Insofar as I can tell, the fit is basically the work of some KU people who don't get out much.

And for the record, I am a KU graduate. But the on-going KU jealousy over MU's decision is a sad reflection on how little KU fans seem to think of their own institution.

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Kye Clark 2 years, 7 months ago

Cherry, your comment is very out-of-touch with the fan base. First of all, as REHawk pointed out, jealousy is completely off-base. No one is jealous of Misery. Hatred is the word I would use. We hate them. For some fans it means wanting to continue playing them in hopes that our dominance continues. Fair enough. For others (myself included) it means hoping they discontinue the rivalry and never having to have our guys set foot in that trash dump arena, endure the late night hotel phone calls from the antlers, have classless individuals hurl insults about their dead relatives, etc. As much as anything, NOT playing them is a gift to the fine men who choose to rock the crimson & blue.

Secondly, of course it keeps getting brought up. When you consider the context, it's not hard to fathom. KU's string of consecutive conference titles is currently under siege, Misery is the team in the best position to end our run, we are currently tied with them and have one more regular season game with them that may very well decide the regular season conference champion as well as the NCAA tournament seeding implications. So they are on the radar, and this is all set against the backdrop of them leaving the conference, so it is going to come up. It is not a case of people "crying" or being "jealous".

As to your claim that them leaving hardly merits any discussion, Bill Self is talking about it. The chancellor is talking about it. Big XII officials are talking about it. Members of the national media are talking about it. Really you seem very distanced from reality regarding this matter. Again, I don't want to play them anymore, but it has nothing to do with being jealous of their move. I am thrilled that they are leaving! And while I disagree with others who feel differently, I respect their opinion. What I don't get is you pretending to stand on the outside basically saying "you're all babies for being 'obsessed' with MU and this situation," all the while oblivious to the irony that you thought about it enough to take time out of your life to comment on said situation.

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AcesWild 2 years, 7 months ago

great point mu needs to stop beggin for the rivel to go on kansas does not want to be ripped off .we would rather play duke syrauce . mu back woods with the hillbilly they are new conf call sec . pig sue. go mu

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AcesWild 2 years, 7 months ago

great point mu needs to stop beggin for the rivel to go on kansas does not want to be ripped off .we would rather play duke syrauce . mu back woods with the hillbilly they are new conf call sec . pig sue. go mu

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AcesWild 2 years, 7 months ago

great point mu needs to stop beggin for the rivel to go on kansas does not want to be ripped off .we would rather play duke syrauce . mu back woods with the hillbilly they are new conf call sec . pig sue. go mu

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REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Cherry, where do you come up with the word Jealousy? You think Jayhawk posters are actually jealous that Misery dumped affiliation with our league for bigger bucks in the SEC?

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REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Wow! PlasticJHawk and jaybate have guided me in my bumbling attempts to upload this dandy avatar which jb so kindly designed for my lasting LJW posting use. My sincere thanks.

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Kye Clark 2 years, 7 months ago

YES! You are using the avatar! Thanks a bunch, and thanks to Jaybate for the time & effort, and for PlasticJHawk in his assistance to get you rocking it.

Rock Chalk!

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