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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jeff Withey, KU look to hook Iowa State

Kansas center Jeff Withey knocks a loose ball out to the wing over Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Kansas forward Thomas Robinson.

Kansas center Jeff Withey knocks a loose ball out to the wing over Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Kansas forward Thomas Robinson.

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Kansas University junior basketball center Jeff Withey, who tries to “dunk everything,” does possess a second weapon in his offensive repertoire.

That’d be the hook shot — sure to be on display at some point of today’s KU-Iowa State game, set for a 3 p.m. tip in Allen Fieldhouse.

“That has developed in the last year. Coach (Danny) Manning and I have been working on it a lot. It’s kind of my go-to move,” said Withey, a 7-foot, 235-pounder from San Diego.

“It’s hard because you are moving away from the basket. It’s like an old sky-hook, so it’s hard to master. After you get it down, it’s all muscle memory.”

Withey, who averages 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds while logging 21.3 minutes a game, has hit 43 of 75 shots for a sizzling 57.3 percent.

Fifteen of his 43 baskets (in 75 total attempts) have been slam dunks. Most of the others have been off moves inside the paint.

“Coach Manning is great with footwork, so I just practice a lot. I need to keep working on it so it’s automatic,” Withey said of the hook. “If I have it and feel the guy is playing me the right way, I’ll take that shot.”

Withey, who is known more for his defense than offense, leads the Big 12 in blocked shots (46). That’s eight more than runner-up Quincy Acy of Baylor and 10 more than Kansas State’s Jordan Henriquez.

“Whatever I can get to, I’m going to go for. If the ball is there, I’m going to try to hit it away,” Withey said. “I try not to throw it out of bounds because that’s a waste. I want to say it’s an art (form) because not everybody can do it. I played volleyball so I was able to get the timing down to a ‘T’ over the years, kind of master it.”

Volleyball happens to be the San Diego native’s second-favorite sport.

“It’s very similar to basketball,” he said. "During the offseason I like to go back home and play all the time.”

Withey — he transferred from Arizona midway through his freshman season — said he’s “gotten a lot stronger throughout the years. Defensively I feel I’m helping out the team a lot, blocking shots. I’m trying to guard the best post player sometimes so Thomas (Robinson) can have some rest on defense and be able to play offense great.”

Today, KU’s big men face a tough test in Royce White, a versatile 6-8, 270-pound sophomore big man, who leads the Cyclones in scoring (13.1 ppg), rebounding (9.1 rpg) and assists (4.1 apg).

“White likes to bring the ball up the floor and plays point guard almost,” Withey said. “It’s going to be a tough match-up because they can all shoot.”

The Cyclones (12-4, 2-1) lead the league in three-point field goals made at 9.1 a game. Chris Babb is fourth in the league (2.69 made per game), Chris Allen seventh (2.13) and Scott Christopherson 12th (1.75). White has not yet attempted a three.

“It brings a big out of his comfort zone,” Withey said of having to guard White out on the perimeter. “Usually a big is playing on the block, playing post defense. When he takes you out like that, you have to work on your perimeter defense. It can cause help problems. Thomas and I have to work on our footwork and get right for the game.”

Noted the 6-10 Robinson: “I have not watched him much this year. I’ve heard his name a lot. I definitely respect him as a player (with) him being able to be an all-around player as much as he is at that size.”

KU coach Bill Self said several Jayhawks (13-3, 3-0) will be assigned to White throughout the game.

“They play different than anybody we play all year because Royce White is a point guard that plays the 5-spot for them,” Self said. “He’s really skilled, and he’s powerful. That will be a big challenge for our big guys. There aren’t too many guys that lead their team in points, rebounds and assists. Wilt did that one year,” Self added of Wilt Chamberlain. “Oscar (Robertson) did it several times. I’m not sure Magic (Johnson) did that. We’re going to have to lock in and do a great job on them because they can really shoot.”

About ISU: The Cyclones are 2-1 in the league, winning at home against Texas (77-71) and at Texas A&M; (74-50) while losing at home to Missouri (76-69). ... Second-year coach Fred Hoiberg’s Cyclones average 75.8 ppg while allowing 66.8. ... It’s a balanced attack with White at 13.1 ppg, senior guard Allen 12.7, senior guard Christopherson 11.1 and junior guard Babb 10.4.

This that: Self today will coach his 300th game at KU. He’s 250-49 in nine seasons. ... KU, which has won 12 consecutive games against ISU, leads the all-time series, 170-58. KU is 87-15 versus ISU in Lawrence; 46-9 in Allen, where KU has won six straight. ... Self is 14-2 versus ISU at KU, 15-2 overall. Hoiberg is 0-2 versus KU. ... Hoiberg was 4-5 against KU as a player from 1992-95. He went 0-4 in Allen, 3-1 in Ames and 1-0 in KC. ... KU’s 2002 Final Four team will be recognized today during a timeout. Players expected to attend: Wayne Simien, Jeff Hawkins, Chris Zerbe, Todd Kappelmann, Lewis Harrison.

Comments

Jeeveshawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Wow. It says that Royce White weighs 270. Thats pretty damn heavy, not many people can match thier muscle up to Thomas but he might be able to.

Priest Fontaine 9 years, 10 months ago

Keep up the good work Withey! Have someone smack you in the face a few times just before tip off. We need you going in the mad. Defend your turf like it's sacred ground. Do not back down from Royce Rodman. Scalp off his faux hawk with Rock Chalk!

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

This is an extension from yesterday's nickname debate for the Jayhawk fanbase. I guarantee it would receive at least one mention a game from the TV commentators. Just don't know if the administration would allow it.

All it would take would be a dozen young and willing KU coeds. Each one would have a large letter painted on their okoles (hawaiian for derrieres) and when they stood up, turned around and bowed, side by side and in correct order, they would spell out "Phog Phannys!" (The letters of course would be painted on the seats of their matching pants/outfits.) Have them seated directly behind the opposing team's basket (If at both ends of the court, it would double the number of girls.), and moon them when they shoot free throws. They could even hold tryouts, (like they do for cheerleaders), and the winning coeds would be guaranteed seats in the stands for each game.

Let the "crazies" try to top that.

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Dang it. Hate when these double posts happen. Sorry.

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

This is an extension from yesterday's nickname debate for the Jayhawk fanbase. I guarantee it would receive at least one mention a game from the TV commentators. Just don't know if the administration would allow it.

All it would take would be a dozen young and willing KU coeds. Each one would have a large letter painted on their okoles (hawaiian for derrieres) and when they stood up, turned around and bowed, side by side and in correct order, they would spell out "Phog Phannys!" (The letters of course would be painted on the seats of their matching pants/outfits.) Have them seated directly behind the opposing team's basket (If at both ends of the court, it would double the number of girls.), and moon them when they shoot free throws. They could even hold tryouts, (like they do for cheerleaders), and the winning coeds would be guaranteed seats in the stands for each game.

Let the "crazies" try to top that.

KansasComet 9 years, 10 months ago

I hope our guards are up to the task. Going to take some solid defense and some good shooting from our guards to win this one. Go Jayhawks!

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 10 months ago

Pretty good so far..not great but improving.

Dee Shaw 9 years, 10 months ago

Jeff Withey is doing a great job and knows his role on this team. I really felt at the beginning of the year Jeff was the key for this season. I thought if he could Avg. 8 Pts. per game with 6 Rebs. per game a few blocks that would do wonders for KU. I sometimes feel that the fans are down and don't appreciate what Jeff does. Being 7 ft tall I think our expectations for Jeff are way higher than they should be. If we as KU fans are wanting Jeff to Avg. 16 Pts per game with 10 Rebs. per game and 4 Blocks we are talking All American numbers and not only that but being mentioned for Player of the Year. Be real. Thats one reason why I root for Jeff Withey. The kid knows his role and is a team player. Keep up the hard work Jeff you are doing a great job.

Thad Daugherty 9 years, 10 months ago

I would settle for 10-10 :-). But seriously I like the way Jeff is playing this year. I would like to see him play angry more and extend his minutes.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

I watched some of that Mizzou/Iowa State contest. Tiger guards did a superb job of buzzsawing White and the 3 pt. shooters. Kansas defense will get a special type of workout today.

yates33333 9 years, 10 months ago

Having believed before the season began that Withey would do a good job this year, I must admit I never thought he would be this good. His defensive role in blocking and altering shots has been of immense value to KU. Let's hope he continues as he has and even improves as the season progresses. In fact, I marvel at the performance of the entire team. If they keep playing as they have since Davidson they may well win the Big 12 (or whatever the number). There is not a disappointment on the entire team. Perhaps Johnson could improve a bit by moving up to his ability. Yet he still plays a very good game. And as TT critics are wont to point out, he could take care of the ball a bit better. Hopefully this wouldn't slow down his game and alter his tough, aggressive play. I hate saying anything critical about him. He has that thing called "heart," which all great players have, the heart of a champion.

BTW if TRob is 6' 10", Withey must be 7'3". If you are close enough to see note the disparity in size when they stand by each other.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 10 months ago

It really comes down to ISU's 3 point shooting. If they are making them, it is going to be tight, because JoJo will be able to run a balanced attack. If KU shuts down the 3, the game will be over quickly. Of course we can't have the 7-9 min lulls of our scoring either.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 10 months ago

I would love to see HCBS get his 300th win before his 50th loss.

lv_jhwk 9 years, 10 months ago

So would I...because that means a NC this year and at least undefeated going into the postseason next!!

chriz 9 years, 10 months ago

Message to the fans: No cheering during the Rock Chalk chant. It's scarier without it, and girlier with it.

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

+100 The "Whoaa!" sounds like a cheer from a bunch of grade school kids during a gym class game. I'd guess it was a cheer squad who got together one day and wanted to make their squad unique. As they say on You Tube, "Fail".

hawkcat 9 years, 10 months ago

Real test with Iowa ST. today but, Baylor, lookout.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 10 months ago

Dang, I am glad Danny Manning is in charge of our bigs! He is so valuable to KU's success. Keep improving, Jeff.

Jeeveshawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Im glad Jeff Withey is improving. Now either of our bigs could own White. He is good, be he cannot handle TRob and he would have trouble with the defense of Jeff.

But I disagree with how this article is about the hook-shot. Sure Jeff Withey has a beautiful one, but it doesn't happen very much. Cole Aldrich used the hook much more (although I think Witheys hooks look better and are more accurate).

Mike Kendall 9 years, 10 months ago

BTW, Dickie V just announced that he will be in the Phog on Monday night when we take on Baylor. Stay away from the cheerleaders, Mr. Vitale.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 10 months ago

I'm not so much of a fan usually when Dickie V calls games, he says a lot without actually saying anything relevant; however, having him at Lawrence for that game is good for KU and should be really good for TRob as Dickie V has jumped on the TRobmobile.

I'm glad that Dickie has come to the fact that the conference title will go through Lawrence, unlike the past 3-4 years he has said that they weren't going to (and 5th last year).

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Dickie's pumping up T-Rob as midseason POY and persistently announcing this season that the Big 12 title will go through Lawrence does much to make up for his foolhardy Big 12 prognostication last season. But I still shudder when the guy leaves the game at hand to pontificate on Roy and Coach K and anything and everything not related to what is happening on the court. Long ago, I learned to hit the mute button when he commentates. The guy is tremendously knowledgeable about the history of the game, and has done a world of good with his Jimmy V promotions; but, for me, his digressions are too unbearable to hear, esp. when our beloved Jayhawks are in action.

Ty Mar 9 years, 10 months ago

any streams available? i'm in Colorado and it's only on the big 12 network sighs. thanks

miajhwk 9 years, 10 months ago

Practically every non-CBS game is on watchespn.com

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