Friday, January 27, 2012


ISU will challenge Jeff Withey


In sports, when something is as important to its fan base as the Kansas University basketball team is to its followers, conclusions tend to be reached quickly.

The memory of Jeff Withey missing a few wide-open 15-footers in the first half of the Jan. 14 game against Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse has rooted so deeply and replayed so many times in some brains that the 7-foot center is struggling with his jump shot.

“I don’t know that I buy that he’s struggling,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He’s probably taken six and made two.”

Anywhere else in the research university on the hill, that wouldn’t qualify as sufficient data. Shooting that shot more often is a more meaningful issue than the accuracy rate on those rare occasions he has pulled the trigger.

“Cole (Aldrich) got really good at that shot, and he will, too, because he’s a terrific free-throw shooter,” Self said of Withey. “We’ve got to get him to where he’s looking to score from there. Our offense will flow better if they have to guard us at all five spots.”

This season is all about improvement for Withey, a junior from San Diego who leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with 3.3 per game. He’s shooting .523 overall and .847 from the line.

With his new haircut, Withey looks like an altar boy. He’s always played like an Alter Boy, more now than ever.

“I think he keys our success as much as anybody,” Self said. “He makes it awful hard to score on us in tight when he’s blocking and altering like he is right now.”

When Kansas visits Ames on Saturday to play Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum for a 1 p.m. tipoff, Withey will face challenges at both ends. During the first game, Withey spent a portion of the game guarding point power forward Royce White, who had 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Because Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg surrounded Thomas Robinson with multiple defenders even more than most coaches do, Withey found himself standing alone with the ball in his hands and shot jumpers by default instead of with confidence.

“I think they are going to do the same thing, focus on T-Rob, and I’ve been working on that jump shot,” Withey said. “I missed three or four of them the last game, but I think they’re going to play the same way they did, and we’re going to have to hit shots. No matter what, teams usually focus on Thomas. So I’ve been lucky this year to get a lot of opportunities on the offensive end.”

It’s easy to see Withey having a big day Saturday offensively, not as easy to see it happening at the other end if he’s on White as often as he was in the first match-up.

“He’s a great player,” Withey said. “It’s going to be tough guarding him. He’s quick. He can handle the ball. I think I know what to expect this time. It’s hard to believe that somebody that tall and that strong can be kind of like a point guard, and the first time it kind of shocked me. Now I know what’s going to happen. ... I’ve been guarding more on the perimeter (in practice).”

Maybe the way to go is to put Elijah Johnson or Travis Releford on White for stretches and leave Withey and Robinson inside to win the battle of the boards. Or Justin Wesley. White only shoots .512 from the line.


Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 2 months ago

Alright Jayhawks, we all know from previous experience that Ames is a tough place to win, and it looks like ISU has more talent than usual. I look for a real battle to win, bringing the A game or losing.
NOBODY is looking at KU like a weak team anymore, and we're back to the same old leading the league stuff that some were saying wouldn't happen this year. Yeah, so we're down to only one steenkin' lottery pick this year, we can still play some ball.

actorman 9 years, 2 months ago

If Tyshawn keeps playing like he has been, is it conceivable that we could end up with two lottery picks, or is it impossible that he could go that high?

jhox 9 years, 2 months ago

I think the lottery might be a bit lofty for Tyshawn, but he's certainly worked himself into a possible first rounder. Who knows, if he can keep playing like the last 4 games, he could work his way into the lottery. Not bad for a guy who was a questionable low second rounder just 3 or 4 weeks ago.

Ben Kane 9 years, 2 months ago

if he keeps this up he could easily play his way into the first round.... lottery? not likely.

jhox 9 years, 2 months ago

I think the lottery might be a bit lofty for Tyshawn, but he's certainly worked himself into a possible first rounder. Who knows, if he can keep playing like the last 4 games, he could work his way into the lottery. Not bad for a guy who was a questionable low second rounder just 3 or 4 weeks ago.

FSUJHAWK 9 years, 2 months ago

He wont be a lottery pick regardless of how he ends the year. However, he will always be a hero at KU!


refugee 9 years, 2 months ago

No recent mock drafts that I have seen include Tyshawn in either round. He will have to crank it up a bunch to make the first round.

Ben Kane 9 years, 2 months ago

checked forde's big board and he has him listed at 84. not sure how up to date that is though.

Andrew Bary 9 years, 2 months ago

Assuming he continues to play so well, he will be a first rounder. If he has a strong tournament performance, even having good stats in a loss, I think being a lottery pick is totally possible.

livinginlawrence 9 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately for Tyshawn, this is said to be one of the stronger draft classes in recent memory. That doesn't exactly bode well for a player who only turns it on midway through his senior season. I'm a fan of the guy, but that's just how it goes. I do think he'll find himself playing in the league at some point, though.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 2 months ago

Didn't Withey have an out-of-body experience game at Ames his first year? I remember a game where he was a big factor and then fell apart the rest of that year. Please, somebody either correct me or confirm this with facts.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

You're right .. I looked it up .. 8 points in 12 minutes.

9 years, 2 months ago

He played well his first year in the game at ISU:

Eight points on four of six shooting, five rebounds, and one blocked shot, all in 12 minutes of play. Not too shabby.

Ryan Shelton 9 years, 2 months ago

If I recall, he also did well at Nebraska that year.

Ben Kane 9 years, 2 months ago

guess i should have gone another year back :P

yates33333 9 years, 2 months ago

White may be challenged at the free throw line, but he is a pretty good outside shooter. As noted he handles the ball somewhat like a guard. That's what makes him hard to defend if you are Jeff Withey. I thought Robinson guarded him most of the time in Lawrence.

Withey might have played better last year, but the coach decided not to play him much. He did have a few good minutes memhawk. As I recall he didn't play the next game.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 2 months ago

When he's in the groove, the little hook shot that Danny has worked with him on should remind us all of another hook-shot artist from by-gone days at KU. If he only had those skills!

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Go at 'em with that jumper, Jeff. I look to see you and Elijah step up bigtime to take the heat off Thomas in Ames. With expected defensive focus on thwarting Tyshawn and Thomas, opportunity to pan some serious gold awaits you, Travis and Elijah. You three need to shock and punish the Cyclones tomorrow.

rick cowley 9 years, 2 months ago

I like the idea of Releford or another guard on him as he brings the ball up and then switching when he goes down low. I think putting a quick player on him in the backcourt might expose him to some turnovers where usually big guys just back off. A little press might be good for a few possessions also.

Great job this year Jeff.

refugee 9 years, 2 months ago

After the ISU game at Lawrence, I was led to believe the season was doomed. Didn't Jaybate predict that all teams would employ Hoibergs secret and revolutionary tactic. As Jaybate explained, Coach Fred had come up with the radical idea of trying to deny Robinson the ball. Because no coach had considered this and the Cyclones had given a good effort, all teams would now employ the revolutionary strategy to create easy wins...where is jaybate?

imzcount 9 years, 2 months ago

I've got a fever, and the only cure is a post from Jaybate.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 2 months ago

Just like a flu shot, sometimes when you take the cure, you end up with the disease symptoms anyway. If you need Jaybate to cure your fever, be careful what you ask for....!

More Cowbell, please.

jakejayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I wish Tom had asked Withey how guarding White in the game is different from guarding Thomas in practice. It seems to me that, while the two are different players, their body styles and games are very similar, especially the quickness and ability to penetrate from 12-15 feet.

Now, I'm sure Withey has his challenges in practice staying in front of Thomas. And putting Thomas, Travis, and others on White at different times mitigates the chance of any one player getting into deep foul trouble just trying to keep up with White. I believe the best news about just about any opposing player is that Self really expects any of guys to stay in front of their assignment. Rather than focus on a single threat, he trusts the team concept of toughness and positioning with great help all over the court.

9 years, 2 months ago

Would Withey guard TRob in practice? My guess is, and I could be wrong, one of the bench players such as Wesley or Traylor would have that duty. They would probably have to use one of the bench forwards to guard Withey as well. Coach Manning might also be implemented to guard them. I would think Withey and TRob practice on the same team to simulate game situations. Who knows, they might mix it up and use multiple scenarios.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree with your premise, but TRob and Withey are on the same team in practice. They play against the Scout team (subs/ineligibles), not each other.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

"Alter Boy" as in consistantly making our opponents alter their shots. I love it!!!!

What a great nickname for Jeff - LOL!!!

To all who enter the Holy Lane, pray to the Heavens that Alter Boy is nowhere near!!

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

"The Office of Roadland Security"


Subject: Operation Anti Cyclone

Clearance: TAAGTG (Tell Anyone and Go to Gitmo)

From: Case Officer jaybate

To: Bill Self, staff and players

The attack plan will as usual be varied for Saturday's JSOC (Jayhawk Special Operations Command) op in Hilton. Some preparation for what the diabolical choir boy Fred Hoiberg aka The Mayor schemed last time will be described here with the understanding that Hoiberg almost certainly will employ an alternate defensive scheme at least part of the time as well, in his continuing war of wits, nerves and tactics with his opposite--JSOC director Bill Self.

In the early going, it is strongly recommended that JSOC director Self order all perimeter players to drive the ball at Royce White, whenever he is found guarding Jeff Withey one on one. Driving on White will induce early fouling by White, and/or dishing to Jeff Withey for slams. It will also have the cascade effect of forcing The Mayor out of his triangle defense on Thomas Robinson, which will then free up Robinson to cut off the head of the Cyclone defense and leave the body dead.

Driving on White can be accomplished from a number of standard JSOC sets. But the preferred approach early will be to position Robinson on one block, where the The Mayor will be employing his loose triangle sag on TRob, while at the same time assigning White to guard Withey one-on-one. Withey will then post up on the opposite low block. Starting with the ball on the wing nearest TRob, the wing will pass cross court to Special Agent Elijah Johnson, who will put the ball on the deck and blow by his defender. Special Agent Johnson will then drive straight at Royce White. Special Agent Johnson will then go airborne, thus forcing White to commit to foul said Special Agent Johnson, or Special Agent Johnson will dish to an unguarded Jeff Withey for an uncontested rim ram.

Again, this play from a variety of sets is to be run until White is sufficiently fouled up that the diabolical choir boy Fred Hoiberg has to come out of his loose triangle sag on Thomas Robinson, at which point Robinson will annihilate the outmanned Cyclones.

refugee 9 years, 2 months ago

Bad day in Denver? Please show us your witty thoughts. "to a 7 year old" isn't your best effort is it?

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Don't worry about dvrhawk.

He reputedly suffers CAST aka Chronic Acute Sphincter Tone. :-)

justinryman 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey if they come out and guard him it makes that high/low post pass that much easier, I mean who is going to get higher than a 7 footer?

Plus if they want to try and challenge Jeff in the paint, perhaps they should ask Baylor and A&M what can happen.
<------- Posterization!

wildjayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

This will tell what the season will hold for KU.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

"Some Things Elijah Might Try to End the Father of All Trey Slumps"

~Imagine Beyonce sitting on the basket in a short skirt singing "Get Me Bodied."

~Constantly repeat Optimus Prime's greatest wisdom: "Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing."

~Stand in combat fatigues and shout: "Sergeant jaybatek, there is a positive correlation between dunking in my opponent's grille and my three-point accuracy!"

~While burning incense at his locker before the game, he could chant: "I am Trishna, the third avatar or the reincarnation of Vishnu, and I will go 3 for 3 from 3 threenight."

~While paying all due respect to Archimedes, Cavalieri Bonaventura, as well as Diaphontus and Fermat, for developing the idea of calculating the sums of areas up to infinitesimally small sizes to approximate the area or volume of curvilinear forms, and while acknowledging Leibniz and Newton apparently simultaneously, but independently, developed the concepts of derivatives and integrals used to calculate same, and admitting that it was Leibniz (not Newton) that gave the name of "calculus" to this mathematics of integrals and derivatives, EJ could practice positive visualization of the motion of the basketball through an arc to a basket as a series of infinitesimal quantities under a curve expressed as calculations enabling him to become as accurate as naval artillery without the collateral damage.

~Eat vast amounts of chilli that render the colon a Super Fund site emitting vapors preventing defenders from guarding him near the trey stripe.

~Take pride in his brilliant defense and increasingly sound floor game, and know that all slumps end regardless of what gimmicks one tries.

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 2 months ago

First...I love the bullets; however, I felt this would have fit better under the article talking about 3-point slumps.

(Note: All Factual. No malice intended).

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Glad I got you some tildas you could enjoy.

actorman 9 years, 2 months ago

I like your ideas, jaybate, but you forgot one: sacrificing a live chicken.

lifetimeJay 9 years, 2 months ago

I took calc and it's obvious you did too. Cracks my $hit up that you went from calc to farts. Love it

Ben Kane 9 years, 2 months ago

is anyone else as upset as i am that espn now has a blog dedicated to only north carolina on their basketball page. I guess this just makes their love affair official.

justinryman 9 years, 2 months ago

I laugh about how high the were on Mizzery then they went to OkieSt lost and they barely even mentioned it.

Love a team when they are hot, but don't give credit to a team of consistency in the mid-west.

Bradley Vogel 9 years, 2 months ago

The last two sentences of the article are golden -- hope all catch the humor . . .

actorman 9 years, 2 months ago

You know, I never thought about it that way until I saw your post, bluejayhawk, but you're right: that actually is quite funny.

hailtoku 9 years, 2 months ago

This game has upset written all over it.

A mysterious Iowa State squad on the road after two lack luster performances by KU and Missouri right around the corner.

They're going to have revenge on their minds while we'll be hoping not to lose. Bad combination (see UNI, Bucknell, Bradley, VCU)

Scott Smetana 9 years, 2 months ago

ISU REALLY needs a win. I don't feel good about this one. You gotta think the short bench will eventually bite us. I hope/thought Kevin Young was going to give us some great minutes.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 2 months ago

I always think when HCBS has the Monday to Saturday to prepare a team for a win...we almost always do. It would be interesting to see how many losses in the BS era that the Jayhawks have actually lost after a Big Monday game. In his 9th season I would guess the number is still less than five.

Last week was a prime example of being prepared. KU came out and smoked UT, there were adjustments that made the game way to close, finally KU relied on its talent to finish the game, but the early game plan was clear.

If KU follows the game plan it probably won't be as close as it was at AFH. Additionally, ISU talked about how they ran a new offense that week that they hadn't used and KU had no game film on them. They will be ready for that kind of manuevering this time and it won't be the surprise it was last time. It also included an ingame adjustment by HCBS to win.

rwhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I hope you are right. This game makes me nervous. Sometimes it feels like this team rides the waves of emotion, so playing away at ISU and having a "comfortable" two game lead makes me wonder. But hey, I'm wrong a lot, so here's to it happening again!

If we win this one, I feel a lot better about the three toughest road games left and this team making it back-to-back x 4.

741hawk 9 years, 2 months ago

HCBS has has plenty of time to prepare his troops.

justinryman 9 years, 2 months ago

Of course they are, everybody is in love with Iowa St right now and how Fred has rebuilt them. They are the "darling Cinderella" sheek story this year or at least right now.

It's funny how he says the past two games were close and uninspired. Great what do you think Coach will do now? Let them sleep walk again? I don't think so.

And The Jayhawks have more to play for right now than just a 1, 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA turny, they are playing for their 8th Big12 Title in a row.

I have a feeling this might be a game like Baylor when they game and visited us a couple of weeks ago.

packywacky88 9 years, 2 months ago

Hilton has been sold out for a while, but I got my ticket today. This will be 8 strait for me in Ames. Although nothing close to AFH, they always seem to get the crowd into the game at somepoint and it is powerful. At that point, we will see what the Hawks are made of. I anticipate we will do just fine.

Allan Jackson 9 years, 2 months ago

"Or Justin Wesley. White only shoots .512 from the line."

Can't believe no one's talking about this -- hilarious! ...but true.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

A number of posts about Withey, and no one made the typo "Witey." It is a rare day.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Slayr breaking out the "must wins," chumming the body politic, John Browning us to a raid on Hilton's Ferry, saying win away mid pack games, or no man come back alive!

I like it.

Nathan Scholl 9 years, 2 months ago

I really, really, like this years team, but they have a tendency to come out a little flat on the road. This game in Ames is HUGE. I like KU to win big if they can come out on fire to start the game and really bury the Cyclones early. The boys have to take the home crowd out of it, the Hilton Magic can be crazy. If KU can win this one on the road, then take care of business against Oklahoma at home Wed, they will still have at least a 2 game lead going into road games at Mizzery and Baylor. The Big 12 is crazy, who knows what will happen this weekend and coming week, but I like KU to win the league if they can get this win tomorrow in Ames. Go strong at Hilton fellas! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 2 months ago

"Hilton Magic" has not helped ISU that much lately, as KU currently has a 13 game winning streak against the Cyclones. I am not sure how many of those wins were at the post-season tournament, but I will guess that the streak at Hilton is at least 5 games?

FSJHAWK 9 years, 2 months ago

memhawk mentioned another hook-shot artist from by-gone days at KU--Clyde had the best left-handed hook-shot of any college or pro basketball player I can ever remember. If Jeff could add some bulk like Clyde had and perfect the sky-hook like a former pro player of by-gone days- he would be the # 1 lottery pick after his senior year and make Danny a proud big man Coach. GO KU JAYHAWKS

actorman 9 years, 2 months ago

When you think about it, it's amazing that you don't see every 7-footer work endlessly on the sky hook. It's a shot that's impossible to stop.

Maybe they don't spend as much time on it because it's not as exciting as the power slam -- the same way that no matter how bad someone is at the line, you'll never see anyone try the Rick Barry approach. Pride goeth before the free throws fall.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 2 months ago

With the new "Zone" under the basket, you'd think there would be emphasis on those short shots from bigs, ala hook/skyhooks. What better way to avoid charging/blocking with the new rules than to make a 4-6 ft. shot over the other teams by a footer. Didn't Wilt have a pretty hook shot too?

Rick Barry free throws should have been banned from men's basketball! What a way to emasculate the game! I'd rather watch a player try to bounce the ball off the court in attempts to make a free throw than to ever see an underhanded FT shot!

bradb 9 years, 2 months ago


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