Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jeff Withey says ‘funk’ history

Center ready to ‘bring it’ tonight in season opener

Kansas center Jeff Withey dunks as Washburn forward Bobby Chipman watches during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey dunks as Washburn forward Bobby Chipman watches during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.



Kansas center Jeff Withey dunks as Washburn forward Bobby Chipman watches during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Seven-footer Jeff Withey’s head has been up in the clouds, so to speak, this exhibition season.

“I was kind of in a funk the last month and a half. Probably just in practice I haven’t been doing that well,” said Withey, Kansas University’s senior basketball center, who believes his 9-point, 7-rebound, 6-block second half against Washburn on Monday has snapped him back to reality heading into tonight’s regular-season opener against SE Missouri State (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse).

“That second half I kind of got it going. That’s how I need to play every half. I felt I was kind of back to myself. It definitely gave me some confidence. Hopefully I can build off that and bring it (tonight).”

Withey, who was named first-team preseason All-Big 12 and honorable mention All-America, said he doesn’t know why he’s been spaced out.

“Starting practice up again, early jitters maybe,” he said.

He hopes he and his teammates heed the words of coach Bill Self, who held a long film session Wednesday after Monday’s uninspired 12-point victory over the Ichabods.

“I talked to them, and the talk lasted longer than what I had hoped,” Self said. “It’s the same thing that we’ve been talking about. It’s leadership, enjoy winning whatever way you need to win that night. We used to make a big deal out of it like when we play teams that guard a certain way or slow it down: ‘Hey, enjoy this. Enjoy playing this way. That it’s OK to win ugly. But you’ve got to enjoy it or you can’t do it consistently over time.’”

Fifth-year senior Travis Releford said the film session, “was teaching. Coach wasn’t too mad. It was an exhibition game. We’re just forced to learn. He pointed out little things we can correct. It was learning for the whole team.”

One “little thing” is penetrating more on offense.

“That would be affirmative,” Self said, asked specifically about point guard Elijah Johnson taking it to the hoop more. “We’ve got a team full of guys that should be decent at it. The only one maybe would be Jeff that obviously wouldn’t be great at it, but the other guys are all quick, explosive and can handle pretty well. So that’s something we all need to do. But nobody’s more important in doing that than Elijah.”

The players say the message has sunk in.

“That’s a big focus coming into this game,” Releford said. “We’ve been practicing on that a lot this week. You should see a lot of that, a lot of penetrating.”

Of course, Self wants the team to remain ultra-alert on defense.

“I can never be too aggressive. It’s something I can definitely work on,” Withey said. “The start of the season is officially tomorrow (today). I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming. I think everybody is really excited.”

Tonight’s foe, SE Missouri State, returns three starters off last year’s 15-16 team which finished fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference (9-7). Junior forward Tyler Stone, a preseason All-OVC pick, averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a year ago. Senior guards Marland Smith and Nick Niemczyk averaged 12.3 and 9.2 ppg. Junior guard Lucas Nutt averaged 5.1 points while starting 16 games. Junior transfer forward A.J. Jones led the Redhawks with 18 points in an exhibition-opening win against Ouachita Baptist.

SE Missouri State was tapped to finish second in the West Division in the Ohio Valley Conference coaches and sports information directors 2012-13 preseason poll behind Murray State. Former KU guard Jeremy Case, who worked at SEMO the past three years, is now an assistant coach at Houston Baptist. Self and coach Dickie Nutt were on the same staff at Oklahoma State.

“Really athletic,” Self said of the Redhawks. “Our big guys will have to guard movement. They run our stuff, for the most part, so we should be familiar with what they run. They run it better than us sometimes. Dickie’s got a good team. They’ll be one of the favorites in their league.”


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 5 months ago

Well, Withey definitely broke out of his funk. EJ, however, is still totally funded up. And the shooting! 2 for 21 from 3! Aye aye aye!


hOakes 1 year, 5 months ago

Pay heed to the tongue! RCJ GO KU!

Pay heed to the tongue! RCJ GO KU! by hOakes


KGphoto 1 year, 5 months ago

I can't imagine trying to get ramped up for an exhibition game after the last 6 games the Hawks have played. I mean they had to do absolutely NOTHING to reach maximum ampage for at least the last 3 of those, then you take the summer, have a few hard practices and welcome Div. II schools that everybody is expecting you to destroy.

I have no doubt why Withey, and the rest of the returning starters, would be in a funk.


Jackster 1 year, 5 months ago

Kind of like the family with the last name of "Hawg" that named their twin girls "Ima" and "Shesa". Gotta love that!


Priest Fontaine 1 year, 5 months ago

It looks like my usual watch sites in NYC cannot get the game tonight due to the coverage on the Jayhawk Network :(

Our season opener should be a national holiday! Who do I blame for this?!!!


Jackster 1 year, 5 months ago

Is Dickie Nutt related to Houston Nutt?


Jackster 1 year, 5 months ago

Awesome. Thank you FarSideHawk!


dynamitehawk 1 year, 5 months ago

DIckie Nutt is a funny name. Funk DickIe Nutt.


Jackster 1 year, 5 months ago

Can someone please post a link to watch the game tonight? I appreciate it.


tashe2 1 year, 5 months ago

Does anyone know what happened to Danny Manning's son? He is not on the roster anymore, but Tyler Self is? Did they reshirt manning, did he not make the team, or did he transfer to Tulsa?


Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

In honor of the start of the season, I will make a list of things we can all be grateful for.

1] I am grateful that Dr.James Naismith got bored one winter long ago.

2] I am grateful for the fact that Allen Fieldhouse will still be standing during my lifetime.

3] I am grateful for the fact that my 90 year old Dad worked three jobs to insure that none of his five sons would have to go to Missouri whom he has hated since he was in college.

4] I am grateful for every great coach who has lead the Jayhawks onto the floor.

5] I am grateful that "The Rules" ae coming home and that David Booth would have gone to 10 mil to do it.

6] I am grateful I can say I am a Jayhawk,...not a Tiger, Wildcat, Blue Devil, Tarheel, Hoosier or Bruin.

7] I am grateful for all you fellow posters whom I consider comrades in arms. [Even the ones who are so darn irritating ;) ]

8] And, for all it's faults, shortcomings and hassles, I am most grateful that I am an AMERICAN!!


HawkKlaw 1 year, 5 months ago

Withey just has more peaks and valleys in his performances than most basketball players. Last year, he was huge in some games and seemingly non-existent in others. It took Self lighting a fire under him to get those breakout performances.

Jeff needs to learn how to motivate himself every single game without needing to be scorned by the coach or his teammates. He has to be ready to go every night, otherwise NBA scouts will portray him as a guy who doesn't put forth effort all the time. He's got the size, he just needs to be aggressive. I think it's just Jeff Withey's nature to be passive but he really needs to get himself ready mentally before he steps on the court. Every night, JW!


Steve Gantz 1 year, 5 months ago

Seeing the word missouri on a teams uniform ought to get anyone fired up, even if it has a southeast in front of it.


Ron Prichard 1 year, 5 months ago

Like akg and Krazyjhawk, I wonder how Withey could be in yet another funk. Last year the blueprint for success was laid out in front of him. Be agressive with every move, every shot, every moment you are in the game. Throw on top of that he is a senior and this is his last chance for a ring. Finally, he has to know that if he has another dominating year he will have just played himself into millions of dollars. If he's just average, he may end up in Europe for the next 10 years.

It's frustrating because we have seen what Withey is capable of doing, even without relying on TRob. It's frustrating because--at least from our perspective--he still doesn't seem to realize how good he can be and what it will take to get there.

C'mon, Jeff!! All of Jayhawk Nation is behind you! Now go kick some funk!!


Christopher Hauser 1 year, 5 months ago

Withey needs to do a better job of keeping the ball above his head when he catches. I am sure he is critiqued about this everyday by the coaching staff. I think this is the main reason that Withey does not play as well on the offensive end against smaller opponents. Slap happy is easy when a 7 footer nullifies their height by not keeping the ball high.


RockChalkGuy 1 year, 5 months ago

Game On ! ! !

The wait is finally over. Good riddance to the 2012 off season.


justinryman 1 year, 5 months ago

I will let all the talk to the press go. I will take what I see on the court night in and night out as what degree his "funk" is.

Hey the first step is to admit you're in a funk.

So he's already on his way to recovery.


GlobalJayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

"Hopefully I can build off that and bring it (tonight).”

Hopefully is not a very optimistic word. C'mon Jeff!

What does everybody think Jeff's line will be tonight?

My prediction -

11 points 7 boards *3 blocks


akgjenkintown 1 year, 5 months ago

Whitey needs to stop making excuses and step up as the team's leader. Last year the other players had to rile him up to play aggressive. At this point in his career it is time to lead by example. Withey needs to step up and play like the pre-season All American the so called "experts" have anointed him. Being a lottery pick is as much motivation as any player needs.


Robert Brock 1 year, 5 months ago

The big Q: will Ellis be capable of defending and can he rebound against the bigs as a freshman? The Michigan State game may shed some light on the answer.


FarSideHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

BigManU: How do you make paragraphs and lists? My lists always end up on the same line!


FarSideHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

So looks like Tonight's Rotation 1. EJ 2. BMac 3. Trel 4. Ellis 5. Withey

Off the bench: Thaarpe and AWIII (could be Rio, but I doubt it - Rio & AWIII will fight for the 9th spot: 5-7minutes max) Traylor and Wesley (KY instead of Wesley when he gets back: 10-15minutes)

This will be the 9 man rotation for this year, which is one more than Self favorite number of 8. If neither AWIII and Rio improve, then they will be relegated to the last few minutes of blowouts only.


joeloveshawks 1 year, 5 months ago

Pretty much every ESPN College Basketball preview article talks about Withey...and his dominating performance in the NCAA tournament and his holding Anthony Davis to 1-10 from the field, etc. Then I saw last night Sports Illustrated picked KU to be the #3 team in the country and the entire bit on KU is about Withey. I think Withey is just feeling a bit of the pressure. Last year he had literally zero expectations from even KU fans, let alone the national media. Hopefully he will let all of this hype set in and get back to last seasons form.


WindmillGIANT 1 year, 5 months ago

Getting Kevin Young back, whenever that is, will help this team. He's not super-talented, but they could really use the energy he brings. Even last year at times, it seemed like his energy and aggression charged the team and contributed to offensive and defensive runs.


Chris Shaw 1 year, 5 months ago

"Why is it that every time I start a season somebody seems to doubt me? Come on Man... Funk Dat!"

Jeff Withey


Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

Jeremy Case is now another Hawk in Houston. Welcome!

While that probably won't be enough to convince me to go to any HBU games, I am looking forward to getting some tickets to see Cole and Marcus with the Rockets this year.


Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

SEMO should be a good test for us. We play a similar game, which means that we should be more comfortable against SEMO than against Washburn. I expect a 30+ point blowout victory, but it we come out flat as against Washburn then it will be another close game.

Do we have any other Show-Me staters on the schedule? Are we going to see mo' than just SEMO? If not then we better show 'em what Kansas Basketball and Allen Fieldhouse are all about.


William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

I hope Jeff has a good male role in his life to be there for an example:

Being a man isn't about beating your chest here and there.

Being a man is about bringing steady intensity to your life, whether it be bringing a strong work ethic to work in your lunch pale every day, or bringing the essence of who you are to others every day.

The transition for Jeff this year is about preparing him to go from college to the NBA (No Boys Allowed). Perhaps the biggest turn off to NBA scouts is the knowledge that a player has issues with game motivation.

I'm optimistic we will see Jeff take that big step into manhood this year by bringing game intensity every night, whether we play Kentucky or Kent State.


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Whence comes leadership? I am tuned to mode: leadership alert.


Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 5 months ago

Jeff needs to call TRob and get some inspiration. He can call him during the next two Kings games, I hear.


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago


Definitive list of cliff hangers. Got me juiced. Roll'em out. Let's play!


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

Before the ex games, I warned about SEMSU. Warning stands. Okie Ball vs. Okie Ball. They are big enough to muddy it up and likely will; this is why Self put EJ on notice about touching paint. SEMSU will have trouble with EJ's height. Foul up their bigs quick, then separate. Defend strength: AJ. Attack weakness: point guard. Prepare for some smash mouth lite in prep for smash mouth bok in Atlanta.


Chris Shaw 1 year, 5 months ago

10) How do Rio2 and AW3 pick up their "Freshman Funk" over the course of a college season? Does AW3 become a DSR 50 Sniper rifle and pick up crucial minutes and big shots off the bench or does he fade off into the distance and become a Liberator Pistol waiting for his turn in the coming years? Does Rio2's defensive mindset garner him minutes?

Should be fun nonetheless and I am excited to see these storylines unfold.


Chris Shaw 1 year, 5 months ago

Game Day!!!!!!!!! And the first chapter of this story begins. I love stories, the drama that unfolds over the season and there are so many storylines with this Jayhawk squad.

1) Jeff Withey-How will he produce without T-Rob? Ellis and T-Rob are two completely different players, but Ellis, like T-Rob has the opportunity to take some pressure off of Withey. The only difference is that Ellis can't do it by himself and will need help from EJ, McLemore, Relly, and KY to take that pressure off.

Withey is going to have his ups and downs this season, but Withey goes where those other players go/improve over the course of the season.

2) Will Ellis develop a jump shot? How does he compliment Withey? How does his calm, collected, and composed competitive natuture translate to this squad when you need to get dirty, need a big bucket, or just simply need to buckle down and get a big defensive stop?

3) How will EJ be as a leader? What kind of PG will he be? Will he be a spot up 3 point shooter falsely masking as a jump shooter, or will he actually get his elbows and knees dirty penetrating, gettting to the basket, kicking out to others around the arc, and or setting up other in the post with better postioning or oops.

4) Will Relly become the nations best defender and ultimate "Glue Guy"? Will Relly become a double digit scorer for this squad? Will Relly emerge as the "Team Leader" for this squad?

5) Will B-Mac emerge as the "Lottery Pick" that the national media analysts seem to be labeling him? No pressure, huh? Or, will B-Mac be back for his red-shirt sophomore campaign? Good thing is that we should know that answer by January or February.

6) What happens with Zach Peters injury and does Landon Lucas sit out more games for a possible red-shirt? Peters redshirt, Lucas redshirt, or both redshirt? The good thing is that Self doesn't take his red-shirts lightly and whomever does end up red-shirting, a place for you is definitely in the making for your future. It's not always about "Now", but Championship runs in the future.

7) Does KY get back just in time for Michigan State? How long will his time away and his injury put him behind trying to get back his rhythm while on the court? Will he or will he not still have the fro for his debut?

8) How will J-Train flourish with his role off the bench? Can he guard 3's and 4's that can shoot from the perimeter?

9) Will Tharpe have best assist/TO ratio on the squad and be able to be the most efficent player on the team coming off the bench spelling EJ, Relly, and B-Mac? Will he be able to change the perception of the "Brady Haters" and "Rio2 Lovers" and give those posters a taste of their own medicine?



swunruhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

It's a long basketball season. Jeff knows that. He's pacing himself. He'll be just fine when he needs to be. Excited to get game #1 in the books today!


hotrodm 1 year, 5 months ago

To the entire team. How hard can it be to give 100% playing a game that you apparently love. Most players are only on the court for 20 to 30 minutes of the game. Give it your all or go flip hamburgers. This is your chance in life to play a game and impress the scouts, so you can play for the big money overseas or in the NBA. Don't blow your draft staus by playing less than 100% effort. Play hard or go home. There are plenty of good athletes on this team that can replace any one of you.


Jeremy Bolinger 1 year, 5 months ago

Withey clearly benefitted from having Thomas last year, as well as a penetrating Tyshawn to dish it off. We're going to need a few guys to step up in a T-Rob role in alot of games if we expect to Jeff be the same kind of player we saw last year. My two cents.


KansasComet 1 year, 5 months ago

Excited for another season. Exhibition games are over, now the big lights are on, and the real games begin. Time to find out who Coach Self trust, and who will earn Coach Self's trust. Hopefully this game will bring out some intensity from the team as a whole.


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago


Good to see you airing it out.

Twitter has its place. Its good for outing anything quick and reacting-- good for saying yes, no, or OMG.

But for thoughtful public discourse, Twit's a bad fit--a straight jacket.

America was founded on pamphlets, newspapers, commentaries, declarations, articles and constitutions written at length with strong points of view, and read and reflected on in the privacy of homes. Not just on interactive, analog town hall meetings.

It has to be preserved and continued by all the same--adapted to digital interactivity.

Not endless, unnecessary, tedious, naval contemplation length, but vital, hard fought, scaling a mountain, crossing a continent, fighting to make some sense of it length. Length from new angles. Length from common sense and length from intellect. Length pursuing essence and importance and insight, no matter how circuitously. Length with reason and patience and determination.

Going long is only wrong when nothing worthy is being strived for, nothing illuminating is being quested after, no empowering understanding is being struggled toward, when propaganda and talking points are all that are being foisted.

In the chaff is wheat.

Ad astra per aspera.

Rock Chalk


nostradavid 1 year, 5 months ago

Listen to "Funk 49" by the James Gang before the game, Jeff. Let Joe Walsh blow your cobwebs away.


Michael Auchard 1 year, 5 months ago

I'd be highly surprised if either Johnson or Withey are lethargic down the stretch. The point is: getting there. Take no little thing for granted. Put your hardhats on and go to work early and often. People say early wins/losses don't matter, but those people are apologists for the lazy and the weak.

Thing is, you wear KANSAS on your jersey now.

I think to start on a 1 seed, you need to beat up Michigan State. Beat them down. Make it messy. Don't wait until three games into conference to show up. From what I've seen in earlier games, I'll say this: get your heads on straight. Figure out who the **** you're passing to. It should be a pretty simple game you guys are playing, at least against a D2 team. You're not alpha dogs anymore, you Freshmen gotta know that.

Remember, the higher you climb that ladder the tougher it gets; remember you've got millions of people behind you. That's not supposed to be pressure -- it's support.


I_am_History 1 year, 5 months ago

"Funk" me? I say "Funk" you Jeff Withey!


duanep5ku 1 year, 5 months ago

Jeff not to worried about yet, just need to get the others going on offense. To Allow Jeff to do what he does best. I'm not going to say anything that he probably has not heard from Bill a lot, okay I will Jeff just make up your mind quicker, either make a scoring move or pass it to someone.

Jeff the shorter players are quick,pesky and slap happy, so if you don't go for the score just keep the ball moving,quicker decision making needed. Oh, Jeff keep up the intensity you need to bring back the beast mode for every minute on the court. Jeff a great motivator think of every player you play against, is in your path to the next level.

This post was fun to write, I understand why jaybate likes to post on here,no 140 word limits like twitter. jaybate that would probably drive you nuts,140 words or less. Is their any LJW posters on here,with twitter?


chriz 1 year, 5 months ago

He BETTER bring it. So far, so Perry Ellis looks like the seasoned senior. And Elijah has looked like a less-talented Tyahawn Taylor. Tyshawn and Withey are both better than this.


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