Thursday, March 15, 2012


KU better off Withey than without-ey


— The road to the Final Four starts in the same building for Kansas as it did four years ago, when the Jayhawks won the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history.

A potential marquee matchup with North Carolina, just as four years ago, lurks in the distance, San Antonio in the national semifinals last time, St. Louis this time for the right to advance to New Orleans.

But the similarities between this team and the school’s most recent national-championship squad are few.

That team’s most valuable player? Compelling cases could be made for Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins.

This year’s bunch? Only Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are in the discussion. For KU to build as shocking a postseason as a regular season that ended with a 16-2 record and an eighth consecutive Big 12 title, a third player needs to force his way into the conversation.

And it’s not as if 7-foot junior center Jeff Withey didn’t perform well enough to generate whispers to that effect in spurts. Twice during the regular season, Withey fell one blocked shot shy of a triple-double.

After totaling 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots in an 88-80 victory against Long Beach State on Dec. 6 at home, Withey said, “I didn’t realize I was that close until toward the end of the game. I guess I’ll just have to try for another one. I definitely wanted it, but it’s not something that’s always on my mind.”

Coming that close was a big deal then.

His next near miss came Feb. 13, when in the hostile territory of Bramlage Coliseum, the slender Withey bullied Kansas State with 18 points, 11 boards and nine blocked shots in a 59-53 victory.

“I’m gonna get it,” Withey said, “sooner or later.”

Just 10 weeks after the big deal of a near miss, it was no big deal. His confidence had soared. He played with the angry eyes of a wounded animal.

Withey posted six double-doubles, including an 18-point, 20-rebound domination of Oklahoma State. He scored 25 points in the victory against Baylor in Waco.

Kansas coach Bill Self likened Detroit Mercy’s athleticism to that of Baylor’s. For a 7-footer, Withey’s a terrific athlete. It’s a game that should suit his style, inflate his confidence to where it was between the two Missouri games in which he combined for two points.

With Withey at his best, throwing down dunks, making short banks instead of missing them, tossing in hook shots with either hand, staying out of foul trouble so that he can patrol the paint and stir panic, the picture of Kansas doing something special comes into focus.

Without that Withey on the court for a KU team short on quality reserves and outside shooters, it gets too blurry to see New Orleans.


kusportsdotcom 8 years, 5 months ago

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Alohahawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Want to take bets on which gets more comments - the article's subject matter, or the headline?

How about, "Triple Doubles Always Withey'in Reach"

Who takes credit for these corny headlines? The writer - TK? Or someone else?

Chuck Stones 8 years, 5 months ago

Or, how about:

Officiating will play big role in KU's success!!

KGphoto 8 years, 5 months ago

Isn't that headline stolen from a fan's sign?


okiedave 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure the headline made Withey's day. Nice to know better having him on the team than not on the team.

mandomax 8 years, 5 months ago

umm Sherron was not MVP worthy as a freshman in the 2008 season, except maybe MVP of the comeback in the Memphis game (arguably a bigger part of the comeback than Chalmers, although "The Shot" made Chalmers the legend of the comeback). I would say Kaun and Jackson would join the discussion with BRush, Shady, and Mario for MVP of that team ahead of Collins.

8 years, 5 months ago

Sherron was actually a sophomore during the ’07-’08 season. Agreed on your point, though. While he was arguably not worthy of a team MVP award, he did win the Big 12 Sixth Man Award that year.

mandomax 8 years, 5 months ago

yeah my bad I his class grouped in my mind with Cole's...

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

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nuleafjhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

lol - i guess someone at ljw didn't think so. i honestly didn't think i'd ever have a comment removed - and certainly not THAT one ! wow.

jaybate 8 years, 5 months ago

If anyone really knows Motown, they will know this cutesy headline just got Jeff two more punches in the face from UDM guys. I still cherish my black t-shirt with the white happy face with a bullet hole in the forehead that reads on the back: Detroit, where the weak are killed and eaten.

Headline should have read: "Withey Once Killed Three with One Half!

This is going to get serious soon.

This is a game that will seem jump-and-dunk at first, but shortly there will be some pissing off of territory, probably some sucker punching, and lots of trash talk away from the refs.

Bring a gun to a knife fight.

Bring a bomb to a gun fight.

Prisoners are for suckers.

Protect your teamates.

Massive retaliation.

Kent Richardson 8 years, 5 months ago

I've noticed T-Rob getting closer and closer to blousing someone. A couple more cheap shots and undercuts and he may lose it.

jaybate 8 years, 5 months ago

Lest I be misunderstood, I don't advocate violence in basketball.

I don't believe refs should let the game be played as roughly as it is.

And I am certainly not advocating physically harming anyone.

I'm just having some fun with a metaphor of aggression to call attention to how ridiculously violent it has gotten.

One military veteran thoughtfully criticized me for using metaphors of war about this team, because he felt it disrespected the soldiers living and dead that have fought in wars, recalled in them unpleasant memories, and cheapened the game by likening it to the barbarism of war.

He has a point.

But after thinking long and hard about it, I have persisted in using military metaphors for a couple of reasons.

I don't think fans widely recognize the level of violence they are watching. I don't think fans appreciate just how violent the game has gotten, because television, movies, and feeds have desensitized us to violence, and most of us have forgotten how much less contact was once allowed.

So: I choose to call attention to the violence with war metaphors, with lingo like XTReme Muscle, XTReme Cheap Shotting, and so on. I don't want board rats thinking that what is going on out their doesn't hurt, and isn't dangerous, because it does hurt and it is dangerous.

Still, because it is violent and dangerous now, I cannot help but view these kids as being braver than we used to be. They are playing the game as a gladiatorial contest, whereas we used to play it almost entirely for sport. Yes, their was cheap shotting and retaliation in my youth, but there was never the constant level of violence during normal play that these kids today have to live with.

Regardless, the team that keeps its cool under fire and does its job the best wins.

That is what we need to do.

But I do think there is a bit of a culture gap between Lawrence and Detroit that the headline betrays. :-)

I just don't think that headline would have made it into print in Detroit. :-)

And I do think this UDM team is going to get physical sooner or later.

Regarding Thomas losing it, he better not. He will get bounced and it will be very tough for us to win. One of the things Wilt, or one of his coaches said, was that Wilt took an incredible level of abuse from other players to make sure he stayed on the floor. He fouled out of very, very few games. And he rarely lost his temper. Why did such a forceful, fearsome figure of a man rein himself in so, when he could easily have clobbered most of his opponents?

Because he wanted to win intensely and he knew that his team's chances of winning depended largely on him being on the floor, not in the locker room.

Rock Chalk.

UmbertoConforti 8 years, 5 months ago

WWW.KU.Com = Win With Withey.KU.Com-on'-Man

eastcoasthawk 8 years, 5 months ago

I just hope that Self made him touch every step in Allen before they left for Omaha.

bbeckum 8 years, 5 months ago

Alternative headline suggestions:

Whither the Third Scorer?

Withey Weathers Withering Whiteout

Jeff Withey's Favorite Band is Captain and Tenneal.

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Next year's starting lineup:


jaybate 8 years, 5 months ago

Beautiful line-up, but basketball is no longer about beauty. Its about force application to set up the beautiful.

Perry and Jeff in front court full time would lead to being constantly outmuscled and out thugged.

Perry is a starting 30 mpg 3, or a first backup 20mpg 4. He won't be strong and heavy enough to enforce for Jeff,as a frosh. Jeff will need Jamari.

And we won't land Shabazz unless BenMac is ineligible again.

86finalfour 8 years, 5 months ago

I can't believe i'm going to say this, but i think this year's lineup is stronger than the one above. And this was supposed to be the rebuild year???

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 5 months ago

The NCAA investigation is a huge red flag. How often does it advises schools that a prospect is under investigation? There is a good chance that Shabazz will not be playing for any one next season.

KGphoto 8 years, 5 months ago


I would welcome him if he chooses Kansas but I'm good with Mac, and his experience practicing with the team this last semester. The OAD thing just doesn't fit Self's system. If it was a LeBron James or Kobe Bryant sure, but not just the 'next' top recruit.

ccarp 8 years, 5 months ago

I still want withey to go to the hole and get to the line!

Tony Bandle 8 years, 5 months ago

Withey/without-ey? Taylor made?
What is this...National Pun Day???

Why not go out and use everyone:

1] Playing hard is Releford easy if you have the heart.!! 2] Teahan's Three hand!! 3] He came into the game Justin time!! 4] His block was highway TRobbery!!

I've got to stop....this is making me ill!!

chadjayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

worst headline in the history of journalism. i refuse to read anything ever again by the keegs, not that i ever did.

thank you based god!

mandomax 8 years, 5 months ago

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Bob Forer 8 years, 5 months ago

I have no problem with his "borrowing" a phrase. However, I do have a problem with his choice. Its not very witty, er..... withey, and in fact, it's downright sophomoric.

Jonathan Andrews 8 years, 5 months ago

Third? THIRD??? Go find another job, Newman.

Orangedog87 8 years, 5 months ago

This is known but adds data to the analysis.

The first player off the bench our "off the bench sharpshooter" has made 47 3pt baskets this season. 60% were in AFH. 40% on the road. He averages 2 3pt baskets per road game with one 3pt baskets made in the last 5 road games. Other than CT there is not much offense off the bench.

So our bench is good for lets say 0-6 points off the bench in a road game.

So to win 6 games in a row with only one day between some games, the 3 starting occasional offense players need to step up consistently in the tourney on offense...or lets hope CT gets incredibly hot

I did not look at the field goals or free throws that TC had made in all games....dont have the time

Orangedog87 8 years, 5 months ago

love the pic but one picture from one game.... does that make a player? Now if you have a series of similar pics from multiple games then thats more of nuff said

Orangedog87 8 years, 5 months ago


after seeing Syracuse/UNC Asheville - dont let the refs determine the game in that last 3-4 minutes....

Go KSU beat surely can

texashawk10 8 years, 5 months ago

Refs were protecting the higher seed in that one, I'd be okay with the same treatment the first two games for KU.

Orangedog87 8 years, 5 months ago

Exactly, you can win a game by playing so ref calls cant change the outcome in the last few minutes or you can skate and expect the refs to call it for you....

I hope KUBB plays well enough that ref calls in the last few minutes do not matter..

.seriously does any KU fan or team want to win a close game due to ref calls?

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 5 months ago

Did you watch the Wichita-VCU game? I am not sure if it is my obvious dislike of VCU, but it seems like there was an inordinate number of charges called against Wichita

Mike Kendall 8 years, 5 months ago

I would hate to be in between T-Rob and Jeff Withey in the paint. They could make me into a sand--withey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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