Monday, July 16, 2012

Jeff Withey might decline invite

Trip to Europe could keep center from Adidas camp

Kansas center Jeff Withey pumps his fist after a Jayhawk bucket to end the half against Ohio State during the first half on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Superdome.

Kansas center Jeff Withey pumps his fist after a Jayhawk bucket to end the half against Ohio State during the first half on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Superdome.


Kansas University senior center Jeff Withey, who worked the invitation-only Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James camps in Chicago and Las Vegas earlier this summer, may respectfully decline an offer to attend the season-ending Adidas Nations camp, Aug. 3-6 in Orange County, Calif.

“I know I’ve been invited, but I do not know if I’m going to go yet because of the European trip,” Withey said of the Jayhawks’ Aug. 6-14 excursion to Switzerland and Paris. “Obviously, I can’t go if we are going to be in Europe.”

Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego, said he benefited not only from individual drills but playing in pick-up games at the James (July 6-8) and Stoudemire camps (June 21-24).

“I went against Tony Mitchell from North Texas and Mason Plumlee from Duke a lot,” Withey said of the centers. “Both (camps) were beneficial for my development. Amar’e was more drills. LeBron was more going up and down playing. Both of them together I feel was a complete camp.”

Withey, as reported recently in the Journal-World, has been working on his outside shot.

“One thing I got out of it,” he said of the James camp, “was my 15-foot jumper. I’ve been practicing that. I was able to apply that to the scrimmages, and I felt pretty comfortable with it.”

Since returning to Lawrence, Withey has returned to playing regular pick-up games with members of the 2012-13 KU team. Also, the Jayhawks have held their first two (of 10) practices for the upcoming European tour.

He has been impressed with the play of KU’s frontcourt newcomers.

“Definitely they are strong. They are a lot more physical than I was when I was a freshman, which is great,” Withey said of Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas and Zach Peters. “They are going to have to learn coach Self’s system. Right now, they are starting to get it. That’s the most important thing. They will all be helping us out a lot.”

He continued ... “I think Landen is ahead right now. He is kind of getting it faster than everybody else with the way we play our offense,” Withey said of Lucas, 6-10, 240 from Portland, Ore. “Perry (6-8, 220, Wichita) is doing great right now. Zach can shoot. Perry can shoot. Landen can shoot. Landen has been knocking down 15-foot jump shots. I like them a lot. It’s going to be a fun year. I can’t wait to play with them.”

As far as 6-8, 220-pound Chicagoan Jamari Traylor, Withey said, “I don’t consider him a freshman. He’s been here a year. He goes after the balls with a lot of aggression. He’s a miniature T-Rob.”

Kevin Young (6-8, 185 senior) can play both small forward and power forward, while 6-9, 220 junior Justin Wesley is primarily an inside presence.

“Justin is an athlete, a freak athlete. I think Justin right now is one of the favorites to take on that starting role, I think personally,” Withey said. “I don’t know what coach (Bill Self) is thinking. He is an athlete. He goes after the ball. If he keeps progressing like this, I think Justin will be a great asset.”

Praise for McLemore: Jeff Goodman of lists Ben McLemore, a 6-5 red-shirt freshman from St. Louis, as the No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

“I hate to say that about Ben. He’s not there yet,” Self said. “Talent-wise and athletic ability, yes, I do think he’ll be a lottery pick before all is said and done. He doesn’t know how to play yet. I saw something where they had Jeff Withey going really high (No. 18 by Goodman; No. 19; No. 30 If Ben and Jeff both go in the lottery next year, I predict we win a lot of games.”

Self added of McLemore: “Ben should be as good as anybody we’ve ever had at stealing us extra possessions. I think he’ll be the best defender we’ve ever had. I also think he’s as athletic as anybody we’ve ever had, and he can shoot. Fitting in the pieces and getting him to understand how to play, he’s not quite there, obviously. If he keeps improving at the same rate, he’ll make a lot of money.”

Recruit sidelined: Jabari Parker, a 6-8 senior from Chicago’s Simeon High and the No. 1 prospect in the recruiting class of 2013, will not play AAU ball the rest of the summer, the Chicago Tribune reports. He has a right heel injury. Parker has KU on his list of 10 schools.

Summer league: Former KU forward Thomas Robinson scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Darnell Jackson had five rebounds and no points in Sacramento’s 113-91 NBA summer league loss to Houston on Monday in Las Vegas. Former KU forward Marcus Morris had 11 points and eight rebounds for Houston. ... Aaron Miles had two points, six turnovers and three assists for Milwaukee in a 76-68 victory over New Orleans. Xavier Henry had five points for the Hornets.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 9 months ago

Justin Wesley: Here's something folks may overlook. Is he a basketball player? Does he have high level, D-1 basketball skills? In a season where we desperately needed depth at the post, were crying for quality backup minutes, his playing time was sporadic. I just don't see it. An athlete? Yes. A guy that can make a highlight reel play? Yes. Basketball skills? No. And I've mentioned this before .. that's not a slam on Wesley. Everyone has varying skill levels. He does play hard.

Some guys look good in practice, in scrimmages, in non-game situations. Then reality hits in game situations. For Wesley, anytime there is a man with a whistle and striped shirt, he suffers. It would also make sense that an athletic guy, sure of his movements would look better early on in practice against freshmen who are just getting their feet wet. But talent eventually overcomes.

But could .. could .. this guy, after Venus aligns with Neptune, and lightning hits Allen Fieldhouse twice in the same evening, play major minutes? Sure.

But don't count on it. Don't expect it. Don't even think it to be possible.

I think Ralster read my mind here.

Regardless, it is not good for KU basketball. It will not speak well of the players we have recruited. I said the same thing before last season. Wesley was way down the depth chart as an emergency body. That is all he is. An emergency body. And man did we need him for a time last season. You have to have emergency depth. Ideally, it would be more talented.

We have Traylor, Peters, Ellis, and Lucas. And Wesley plays ahead of two of them? Ellis will play. So he beats out Traylor and Peters and Lucas? Not something I'd hope for.

And why would anyone think that Wesley plays ahead of Young? Young was significantly better than Wesley all season, and took literally all of the back-up post time.

Once the rotatios are set, here's the best guess at the post rotation: Withey, Young, Ellis, and either Traylor/Lucas/Peters. No Wesley. That leaves five spots for EJ/BMac/Tharpe/White/Releford.

And that doesn't even include the "Sleeper" or Dwayne Wade.


REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Okay, HEM, I am not so optimistic as Withey about Justin's game; but I am hanging on to the feeling that he will play a significant role in some wins. Whatdoya think?


REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Although the dates overlap one day, I could picture Jeff attending both events, what with some careful flight planning...perhaps departing the camp a day or half day early. It is a significant step upward, his receiving invites to these prestigious summer camps where he can benefit from working with the best players in the land. I am very optimistic about his upcoming season, esp. if his limbs hold up, and he survives the banging he will likely absorb. Nothing very "avg" about his senior prospectus, as I forsee it. I envision his 8-10 points from the line, a bundle of blocks, and a variety of extraneous positives, including another league ring.


soapisurfriend 1 year, 9 months ago

In other recruiting news, it looks like the staff has extended an offer to Demetrius Jackson. I'm not sure where he would fit into the mix of the 2013 class unless ACB elects to play elsewhere. Jackson is a relative unknown outside of his South Bend-area high school/AAU teams, but he is a punishing penetrator, getting into the lane and scoring at will. The senior-to-be's outside shot is solid and he has the ability to hit big shots, but the jumper will need to improve, as well as his distributing. This being said, his greatest strength may be his leadership ability. He is constantly directing traffic for his teammates. All in all Jackson reminds me so much of Sherron it's unbelievable. Go check out the clip of him throwing down one of the more monstrous dunks I've seen from a high school junior. In fact, it looks a lot like the one Sherron put down in the McDonalds game years ago.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 9 months ago

Jeff needs to go to Europe for these reasons:

1] Bond and develope his teammates as well as himself.

2] Experience a magical part of the world.

3] Resolve himself to graduate an NBA quality big man thus always being a tourist and never a European Pro.

4] And, finally, eat as much fresh-baked French bread as humanly possible!!!


Jonathan Allison 1 year, 9 months ago

Withey needs to go on the Europe trip.

2 weeks of practice with his coaching staff and a few live action games with his teammates are endlessly more valuable than 3 days of scrimmages and pick-up games with the pros.

And I really think that Bill Self is going to intentionally play the frosh a lot and sit the upperclassmen some. I'm sure that Coach Self is aware that he needs to give his newcomers ample time to learn the defensive positions and motions, run the sets and get plenty of live action coaching.


jgkojak 1 year, 9 months ago

1) Not concerned at all how good we'll be. We have Withey, Releford and Johnson coming back from a National Title contender - that's 3 solid seniors, Ben McLemore, who is not really a freshman and sounds like a freak, and plenty of extra help either experienced (KY, Wesley) or talented (Ellis, Lucas) - sounds to me like we are a top 5 team.

2) This team is freakishly long - like Kentucky last year. If you have Johnson, McLemore, Young, Ellis and Withey playing that is one long team - very few teams are going to have a set like that to play.

3) We'll have experience w/the preseason trip and these guys won't be true "freshmen" by the time they hit the late November games. Even if we lose a few, how can you doubt that Self's teams ALWAYS get better and better as the season goes on.

4) If we play in a tight game or a game where the other team has our number (i.e. an all senior mid major) we can send Johnson, Tharpe, Young, Releford and Withey out there and have a team with all sorts of experience to calm us down.

5) Back to back Final Fours. Book it.


Jeff Suther 1 year, 9 months ago

Is anyone else terrified at the possibility of how bad ku might be next year. I mean everyone is hopeful that been and perry will be what everyone says they will but as far as we know we have 3 avg players in elijah jeff and travis. There is more uncertanty this year than ever before and im worried out luck may just run out.


jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

Self is setting the bar high for BenMac on defense. Translation: Self wants a ton of D out of Ben. Self must think this team's trademark is going to be gambling, wreak havoc defense on the perimeter, because there are going to be a bunch of big swatters inside that will not have to worry about fouls. This great. This team will take the disruption statistic to the next level. Imagine a long an athletic perimeter challenging every shot everywhere, because it has Withey and Justin inside swatting everything within 15. If all these long players can guard, this could turn into Self's greatest defense! But it has to apply overwhelming pressure on the perimeter to keep opponents with meaty bigs from getting at our weakness--slightness on the low blocks.


clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 9 months ago

I hope vitale picks us 5th for the league again....i like when people say we cant win the big 12


omng392 1 year, 9 months ago

Anyone notice that this upcoming team seems to be a lot taller than past teams, or is it just me?


Jeremy Bolinger 1 year, 9 months ago

Lord help us if Justin Wesley is starting for us next season.


Jason Keller 1 year, 9 months ago

Mclemore played with Beal in high school and many people thought Mclemore was as good or better than Beal. So, I'm really not surprised that some people have him as high as 5.

I hope Jeff decides to go to Europe but I would understand if he went to the camp instead.


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Self added of McLemore: “Ben should be as good as anybody we’ve ever had at stealing us extra possessions. I think he’ll be the best defender we’ve ever had. I also think he’s as athletic as anybody we’ve ever had, and he can shoot.

If this is true, coming from the master of under-statement, I am ready for basketball RIGHT NOW.

I was looking forward to football - but, forget it - it's time to tip it off.

This dude must be the second coming of Wilt !!


jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

The best news here...

• Justin maturing into a force--if he were to play like a matured big, like a DBlock his last season, at 6-9 and 225, this team would be overwhelming. He would be a perfect complement for Jeff popping from 15.

• Still no more bad pot bass.


J.T. Even 1 year, 9 months ago

I think Withey is really going to show us some things this year. After a couple years with Hudy, I really believe his weight issues are behind him and he is only going to get stronger. He's not going to be huge, but he'll still put on some more weight. He's athletic, a fantastic defender, has great hands, and seems to be making progress with his outside shot as well. Best of all, my fellow posters have me believing that Self will whittle away his soft side and create a beast.

I thought Lucas had a lot of potential but I didn't think he would make an impact this year. I love Withey's endorsement of him; we may just be loaded at all positions. And supposedly we still can't count out Wesley.


Benjamin Piehler 1 year, 9 months ago

If Bill says that he thinks Ben will be the "best defender we've ever had", it makes me all the more eager to see him play. Bill always prides himself on good defense, and a statement like that has some real weight. Can't wait for next year.


ukanjhox 1 year, 9 months ago

Get Withey his own flight and meet the guys in Europe a day late. No big deal.


Jay Dogger 1 year, 9 months ago

Oh, almost forgot... I loved what I heard about Lucas. I'm already a huge fan!


Jay Dogger 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't think it would be a big deal if Withey didn't make the Europe trip. I believe that trip is more for the younger guys. And the practices are, according to HCBS, more important anyway.


lancepaul 1 year, 9 months ago

where in the heck is my profile picture? I submittrd it


lancepaul 1 year, 9 months ago

I just hope Withey is right on the money on these guys!


Doug Cramer 1 year, 9 months ago

Aaron Miles...havnt heard that name in a while. I didn't even realize the NBA was still considering him.


Mike Hart 1 year, 9 months ago

Miles won't last long in NBA camp with woeful numbers like that.


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