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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jeff Withey finally makes his pro debut

Kansas center Jeff Withey pulls a rebound from North Carolina forward James Michael McAdoo during the first half, Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. In back is Kansas forward Kevin Young.

Kansas center Jeff Withey pulls a rebound from North Carolina forward James Michael McAdoo during the first half, Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. In back is Kansas forward Kevin Young.

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Former Kansas University center Jeff Withey of the New Orleans Pelicans scored four points and grabbed five rebounds in his NBA debut — a 69-61 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego who didn’t play in the summer-league opener on Friday because of administrative delay involving physical exams of the players involved in a recent three-team trade, hit two of six shots in 17 minutes. He had one blocked shot.

In other summer-league games involving former Jayhawks:

• Combo guard Elijah Johnson had zero points and zero assists against two turnovers while playing 12 minutes in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 81-77 loss to the NBA D-League Select Team. He missed his only shot attempt. Former KU forward Darnell Jackson scored 11 points off 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed two rebounds in 19 minutes for the D-League.

• Forward Thomas Robinson scored seven points off 3-of-12 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds while playing 28 minutes in Portland’s 81-63 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Former KU combo guard Josh Selby had four points off 1-of-7 shooting with one assist against three turnovers in 17 minutes for the Lakers.

Recently, ESPN’s Chad Ford and Bill Simmons discussed Robinson in a podcast transcribed at blogs.trailblazers.com.

“I still think he can play. The talk around the league is, well Thomas Robinson, what they found out about Thomas Robinson, was that he couldn’t remember a play,” Ford said of Robinson, who was taken fifth overall by Sacramento in the 2012 NBA Draft, then was traded to Houston in February. He was recently shipped to Portland for his third team in just over a year.

“And No. 2, that he wanted to do more on the offensive end than he’s really capable of doing. We saw a little bit of this at Kansas and Bill Self did a really nice job of reining him in, where he wants to handle the ball and shoot it a little bit, thought he had more abilities than perhaps maybe that he really had. But you’re talking about a young player. You’re talking about a player that the stat guys love coming in. And a guy who can for sure rebound in the NBA. For sure he has that ability to rebound at the NBA level.”

“I think, again, there’s a herd mentality in the league,” Ford added. “They love you one minute then they’re off you the next and the same scouts that loved Thomas Robinson a year ago are now rolling their eyes like he can’t play. I think this goes again, we try to understand the draft and which players are a great fit.”

Chalmers events coming soon: Online registration for Mario Chalmers’ fifth-annual National Championship Golf Classic (July 29, Alvamar) and VIP mixer (July 28, Cider Gallery) is available at http://bit.ly/1aGcQLD. Also, Chalmers, who has a basketball camp July 22-25 at Olathe East (register at http://bit.ly/15er93o), is hosting a celebrity all-star game at 7 p.m., July 25, at O-East. General admission is $20, with free admission for campers.

Comments

chriz 1 year, 4 months ago

Ugh. I wish we had a better track record in the league. The cupboard has certainly been bare over the past years, at least since the championship team. Those guys, save Chalmers, are hardly even panning out.

Here's to Wiggins!

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 4 months ago

I still trust that Arthur's going to explode given the chance. He was showing promise with the Grizzlies - both before he got hurt and then again toward the end of last season. Sadly, who knows how much of the court he'll see behind Faried. He needs to have a less talented PF to steal mins. from - 1st, Z. Randolph, now Faried! :(

Brett McCabe 1 year, 4 months ago

Here's a guy who did okay in the league. The most impressive thing to me? Watch him run down the court on a fast break about a minute in:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/video-wilt-chamberlain-1957-ncaa-tournament-reaffirms-dominance-130151216.html

s6u6r6f 1 year, 4 months ago

The Dipper hitting free throws. Rock chalk.

jhox 1 year, 4 months ago

He's on his 4th different offense in a couple of years. It has to be pretty tough remembering plays with all of those offenses going through your head. Hopefully, he can stick with this team a little longer. Self has no shortage of plays, and he turned out pretty good at running those.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 4 months ago

Definitely agree that switching teams is tough, but my guess is that Thomas got the label in his first stop, not the 3rd.

My understanding is that an NBA team has about 10x's as many plays as college teams. We also know from the recent article on film study that Robinson didn't - just got by on natural ability. That's not going to happen in the NBA. If he can learn the plays designed for the BMac's, and his role in getting their misses, he can be as successful as Rodman and Wallace. If not, well he made a few $M.

FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

At this point it doesn't look like any KU player is going to set the world on fire with their play. Apparently, none of them have star quality. I though sure at least McLemore would be something special. Maybe things will be different in time. However, I wouldn't bet the farm on any of them.

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

I know I'm wasting my breath, but it's the same with almost every player that goes into the league early. So few of them are ready to play with the "big boys". I'm not just talking KU players either. It's across the board.

It's like going from High School to D-1 ball. GOOD D-1 ball. Ask Perry Ellis. It's a different game.

These kids need to stay in college and develop. No matter how good they are, or everyone else thinks they are, they are almost never ready to play in the NBA right away.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 4 months ago

I think Brandon has a good chance to do some special things for Utah.....guess, we'll see. I think he's veteran enough, I don't even think he was on their Summer League team.

jhox 1 year, 4 months ago

No question more years in college better prepares a player for the NBA, and I wouldn't attempt to argue otherwise. Sticking it out in college can make the difference between a guy making it and a guy not making it.

However, look at the big time stars in the NBA. Most played little or no college basketball (LeBron, Kobi,, Durant (1 year), Chris Paul (2 years)...the list goes on.) This tells me it is more about the talent, and less about the college experience. You probably have to go back to Pierce to find a KU player who was going to be a sure thing NBA star. We've had other moderately successful guys, but it has been a long time since we had someone who you could look at and say "future NBA all star". I knew Hinrich would be a solid NBA player, and thought others would (Collison, Marcus Morris, T Rob come to mind, as well as others.) But we've not had the level of very top tier talent some of the other programs have had. What we have had is solid depth, and veteran players, as well as very good athletes.

Pierce is the one guy I can recall who would watch his KU team struggle to score on a few posessions, then decide he'd seen enough, and he'd run off several baskets in a row almost at will. It was pretty obvious he was destined to be an NBA star. We've had quality college stars since then, but no sure thing NBA stars.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 4 months ago

It's natural to want these guys to do well, and I think that many of them will over time. I want them all to have long, productive and profitable careers.

But the bottom line for me always will be: what did they do while wearing Crimson and Blue? Nothing that happens in the "league" will ever impact my opinion of what they did for 'ole KU.

webprince 1 year, 4 months ago

Seems to me that a better track record in the NBA could persuade some recruits to come play for KU. Thus, it's true their NBA performance doesn't change what THAT recruit did while at KU, I think it's possible it still affects KU's future.

Mark Lindrud 1 year, 4 months ago

Self helps them get drafted. The rest is up to them. He has proven he can make a player better, and for some, can make them a pro a la Withey. Self can't make them all stars. The fact we have players drafted and in the league is cool and with the guys we have this year that could get alot better.

REHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

What it all might boil down to, Bill Self has been the mastermind who can fit pieces into winning puzzles. If Portland is patient in blending TRob's physicality into their mix, good things will evolve. No doubt, Thomas lives in that sped-up mode wherein he seeks immediate impact, regardless of changing playbooks. Patience and time....

REHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Withey has sat for a couple of weeks. Double his 17 minutes and statline, and he is at 8 pts., 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Not a bad first appearance considering the helter-skelter action on the summer league court.

Chuck Stones 1 year, 4 months ago

Also I think Coach Self designed some offense around the abilities, or limitations of guys like TRob and Withey. That isn't happening in the NBA.

hawksince51 1 year, 4 months ago

One of the big differences between College ball and the NBA is college coaches have to make do with who they have successfully recruited along with their returning players. So, they do as you say and design game plans to capitalize on their players' strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Not so in the NBA where they sign, release, and trade players at will to find the players that best fit their system whatever that may be. It would appear that T-Robs particular set of strengths and weaknesses do not fit well with any NBA team's system or needs. In contrast, Mk Morris seems to have the right stuff for the Phoenix Suns where he ended the season with a very strong performance and is looking good in the Summer league.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 4 months ago

Good comment on coaching and players at each level. Virtually any NBA team would love to have a rebound vacuum at PF - as long as they know their own role in the O. Sort of like a F/S at KU vs. J/Sr. Thomas needs to remember when he wasn't the big dog, and return to his roots - set-up your teammates in the O and grab their misses..

Carter Patterson 1 year, 4 months ago

I really hope that Ben and Mario can make up the difference when Pierce decides to retire. We send a lot of players to the league but Pierce is the only star.

hotrodm 1 year, 4 months ago

T-Rob will be fine, probably not a starter, but he will get 12 minutes a game grabbing rebounds and slamming dunks. Ben will get his stroke back and play a lot. Jeff will get 10 mins a game, a block and 3 rebounds with 4 points. They need to accept their roles and make the most of their minutes and stick some of their bankroll away for the future.

Sam Constance 1 year, 4 months ago

12 mins a game it mop-up duty in the NBA. Thomas needs to focus on rebounding and defense and if he does, he should have no problem getting about 20 mins per game as a reserve PF.

But if he's going to try and be the offensive focal point that he was while at KU, then coaches are going to get tired of him ruining their sets and gameplans and he won't play at all.

The good news on Thomas is that he's not struggled because of lack of ability. The bad news is that he needs to figure his situation out if he wants to end his struggles. If the offensive game comes along one day, then fine, but right now he needs to focus on being Kenneth Faried rather than Carmelo Anthony.

clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 4 months ago

Could Wiggins stay?

Money- He doesnt have to be the provider for his family, his dad played in the NBA, money to buy mom a new house prob isnt going to be motivation to leave after one year

Attention- He seems to not be the typical oprea singer #1 recruit we always see ("me, me, me, me, meeeeee") There was no hat ceremony, no third person context, he just seems to be a down to earth kid that isnt bigger than himself.

Improvement- He seems like he has his head on straight, I think he is going to want to be really ready for the NBA before he leaves, including defense. He may or may not be ready right now, but Hudy will make him even stronger and Self will make him a better player. Maybe he will want to come back to a system that will really work with him to achieve his best.

Champions- If we make a deep run and dont win it all will Andrew be motivated and upset to the point that he wants to come back for another year and win it all?

Women- Maybe he will fall in love with a fellow Jayhawk and not want to bolt to the NBA right away. His parents met in college, maybe he will me Mrs. Wiggins there?

Crazy- Maybe I am crazy, but there is a chance he could come back for year 2 in Lawrence.

Greg Ledom 1 year, 4 months ago

Except that his dad already made a statement that his boy would most likely go to the draft after one year at Kansas. That said, I'm all for him staying.

rockchalk_dpu 1 year, 4 months ago

As much as I'd love to have Wiggins for a second year (and I've floated the idea with friends), if he has even close to the first year that he's expected, then Self will do everything short of kicking him out to make sure he goes in the draft.

This isn't to say that Self wouldn't be tickled to have Wiggins for another season, but if the scouts are saying he is a lock at #1, then there is no reason to stay in school and take another year and risk potential injury or a slip in the draft. Most players that have been picked on in this thread for leaving "too early" did so because Self and his staff evaluated the situation and spoke with their contacts to make the informed decision that it was best to strike when your potential and draft stock was highest. With the rules the way they are, it makes no sense for a lot of these kids to take another year of potential earnings off the table to better hone their game while they are student-athletes, when they could be doing this as a full time job. Now I know it doesn't always pan out and there are more busts than success stories, but those same players that leave early likely would cost themselves draft spots and guaranteed money by staying and being drafted behind the next big thing the following year. Each year you stay is another year for draft experts and GMs to pick apart your game and find the warts.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 4 months ago

Well, at least Thomas had 10 boards. And really not too shabby for Jeff in his 1st game debut...2-6 sukks, but maybe he was taking some longer range jumpers to jack that up.

oldsoul 1 year, 4 months ago

I think Jeff took 4 jumpers, making 1. He also missed a dunk and made a basket on an offensive rebound

clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 4 months ago

Nice find! Whatever happen with the movie about him Justin Wesley was staring in?

hawksince51 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks! Wilt grabbing the opponents' shots out of the air reminded me of a game I saw in 1958. Opponent put up an 8 footer from the side which Wilt blocked back to him. He quickly put it up again with same result. So the kid is standing there in shock with the ball. Then Wilt backs up a couple of steps and points up so the guy shoots it again and this time instead of blocking it Wilt grabbed it out of the air. Crowd went totally nuts.

Trey Hohman 1 year, 4 months ago

Nobody mentioned the Morris Twins yet. They looked awesome in their first summer league game. Their physiques are unbelievable, maybe in the best shape in all the NBA.

hawksince51 1 year, 4 months ago

Actually I did mention Mk Morris doing well for the Suns a few posts above. While they look to be in great shape that is pretty typical of all successful NBA players. Both the twins have a more complete game than T-Rob, especially on O. And the NBA showed unusual foresight by drafting Mk slightly ahead of Mc which certainly surprised me at the time.

oldsoul 1 year, 4 months ago

I saw the Pelicans' game yesterday. Considering he wasn't even allowed to practice with the team until the trade became official, he didn't look bad. He affected several shots on defense, he wasn't getting muscled as much as I thought he might, and he was trying to look to score when he got the ball.

As for the Jayhawks' track record in the pros, besides Pierce, Hinrich, Collison and Chalmers have all had solid careers. They aren't stars, but Hinrich has been a starter for most of his 10 seasons, and Chalmers has been a starter for most of his career, while Collison has never been worse than the 6th or 7th man in the rotation.

Of the younger guys, McLemore should be fine. I don't know if he'll become an All-Star, but if he stays healthy, he'll be in the league for a long time. And I bet Withey will stick in the NBA for years, too. Aside from McLemore (and Wiggins), the younger guys wil likelyl all be role players in the NBA, but what's wrong with that?

KJD 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks for your take from actually watching the first Withey game. Because of Jeff's ability to alter shots, which is so valuable, and the question as you mentioned on his ability to hold his position against NBA talent is under the magnifying glass, it will take much more than reporting then looking at his line on a box score to follow how he is developing and impacting the game. Great information and it's the kind of take I was hoping to see!

The Pelican's are in search of front court depth. The fact that the Pelican's are after Greg Oden, and they are reported to be on his list of three teams, tells something about how the Pelican's feel about their need to get a true 7' 0" center on their roster. Trying to sign a guy who has not played in the league since 2010, played only 2 years, and got on the court for only 82 games sounds like a reach to me, a gamble, a risk. Withey has not been injured, he looked really athletic on the court all of last year, and his skills are sharp and improving.

Go get 'em Jeff!

Sparko 1 year, 4 months ago

The reality is that the NBA has the patience of a gnat. Pierce almost got canned before he shined. Opportunity=confidence. I'd like to see these guys given some serious PT and let them work to form. Kansas being the winningest team in the NCAA the last several years is not a fluke--or all Self.

Jack Wilson 1 year, 4 months ago

Self's job is not to make NBA ready players. Self's job is to win games, and win national championships. I understand that selling recruits on KU includes a path to the NBA. And an NBA star or two would help. But that's the "sale." It's a source of pride. It is nothing more than that. It's not the goal.

Self can't coach this team worried about whether his instruction turns a player into a more NBA ready player. We can't worry about that either. His job is to coach the team to win a national championship. The hand wringing about whether Withey will be this, or McLemore that, or TRob if is an NBA bust .. it's all a waste of time.

Build it and they will come. Self has constructed an empire (which was in darn good shape when he moved in -- thanks Roy). He wins with deep teams, he wins with thin teams; he wins with high level talent, and he wins with low level guys. It's about pursuing a national championship.

NBA success for the players is just a cherry on top for us. But the sundae is real good without the cherry, and it is complete without it. For proof of that, how irrelevant will any and all of this NBA talk be when this team gets rolling with practice in October, or when another recruit commits? We won't care. We'll have 200+ comments on a page about an unranked, new commit, and 12 on a story about Tyshawn and his playing time in Brooklyn.

I can tell you that I'm a heck of a lot more interested in whether Jamari Traylor can hit an 12 foot jumper this season, or whether Frankamp can handle the ball well enough to be the back point guard, than I am with whether any of these guys are playing in the NBA. And it's not even close.

But I guess it is July ....

clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 4 months ago

Great post, my only concern is it is a negative for other coaches to point at our track record of lack of NBA all-stars What is crazy is how well CS is at managing teams and getting them to be just that, a team. The lack of NBA "stars" if anything proves we have the best coach in the world. We haven’t always had the best individuals, but have had one of, if not the best team year in and year out. This seems like a testament to how great of a staff we have, how hard the players work 365 days a year and proof you don’t have to always land the McD's All Americans to win.

Mark Lindrud 1 year, 4 months ago

I don't think schools like Kentucky saying KU doesn't produce all stars in the NBA is a valid point. If we compare to Kentucky, besides Rondo, they don't have current all stars in the NBA and T Prince is past his prime. They've got some name players in the league, but it then involves taking your game to the next level to succeed. Self is getting guys to the NBA. Lets face it, the Morris twins, Withey, Tyshawn were projects when they first came here. Even TRob needed work so Now Self has the names, Wiggins, Ellis, Selden, Embiid that are projected lottery picks. The point is Self wins and makes good players better, and for some, he makes them NBA players, while for many he makes, college graduates.

Mick Allen 1 year, 4 months ago

I agree with your statement that HCBS is not and should not be concerned about making one of our players "more NBA ready" It is a credit to him as a coach that he takes "good" talent and is always playing for national prominence without the benefit of a superstar, at least until the arrival of Mr. Wiggens. I will once again disagree with you about what Frank Mason will add to this team. He will start out being the back up point guard to Nadir, but by January or February of 2014 he will be getting as many if not more minutes than Tharpe. Please remember our discussions regarding the point guard position at the end of the 2014 season and your relegating Mason to a red shirt year, this year.

Jack Wilson 1 year, 4 months ago

Uh, where did I relegate Mason to a redshirt year? Could he redshirt? Sure. but my consistent position has been that the best ballhandler between Mason and Frankamp will be Tharpe's backup and be in the perimeter rotation. We have to have a second reliable ballhandler, and that will take precedence over a lot of things. Now, I don't share your belief that he will eventually beat out Tharpe. So we can revisit that whenever you suggest. But Mason could either get major minutes because of ballhandling, or literally not play at all. Neither of those results would surprise me. Heck, I could see Frankamp not playing much at all either. If he isn't the second ballhandler, can he defend enough to warrant time at the 2? Lots of interesting battles.

texashawk10 1 year, 4 months ago

I agree in regards to Bill Self not concerning himself with how the development of his players translates to the NBA game, but I do think how the players perform in the NBA does have quite an impact on recruits. Those recruits ranked in the top 30 or so of each class do have very realistic odds of making the NBA and that is something that factors into a recruits decision and the more players KU has that are better than role players in the NBA does help Bill Self with recruiting better players and Bill Self with better players is more likely to win NC's. The core of the title team were 5 star top 25 players which recently classes have predominantly been 4 star top 40 players not quite good enough to get over the hump. Getting guys like Selden, Embiid, and Greene who are close to the rankings of Rush, Arthur, Chalmers, Collins, and Robinson will help Self win his second title.

Sam Constance 1 year, 4 months ago

I don't worry about how the performances of guys like TRob impacts KU's reputation for getting people to the NBA, because as has been noted, recruits should be looking to KU to get them to the NBA--succeeding is up to them.

What I do worry about is the notion that since Calipari is so connected to NBA circles through William "Worldwide" Wesley, he and WWW are able to influence the talent evaluators to get Kentucky alums more time/opportunity than other prospects might get.

So the pitch is no longer "don't go to KU--they don't produce NBA stars", but rather "don't go to KU--they can't get you as many chances to get noticed in the NBA as I can."

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe they should use this pitch:

"Don't go to KU. It's in Kansas - the middle of nowhere."

"It's not like the dude who INVENTED the game coached there or anything."

"It's not like four of their eight coaches (yes, eight coaches in 115 years) are in the Naismith Hall of Fame. That will be five out of eight shortly."

"It's not like they've won 9 straight conference championships. And 56 total conference championships."

"It's not like they've won 5 National Championships."

"It's not like their home court record the past 6 years is 107-2."

"It's not like WILT CHAMBERLAIN played there."

WAIT...........................................never mind.

Trey Hohman 1 year, 4 months ago

Markieff could turn out to be top 5 best stretch 4's in NBA within 2 yrs.

Trey Hohman 1 year, 4 months ago

Markieff's game is quickly becoming the rich man's Robert Horry, minus the NBA titles & "Big Shot" moniker. Love seeing the vast improvement(s) of Morris twins between seasons 2-3. Maybe Trob & Tyshawn can make similar strides after this season. If so, 6-8 year NBA careers...?

Trey Hohman 1 year, 4 months ago

Withey Summer league update game two / first half: 01:06 [CLE] Felix Layup Shot: Missed Block: Withey (3 BLK)
01:05 [CLE] Team Turnover : Shot Clock Turnover

8 mins. 3 blocks.....WITHEY in your EYE, sucka!

Kevin Woods 1 year, 4 months ago

Withey had 3 blocks in about a 2 minute period. During that time, N.O. Went on a run.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 4 months ago

Thing is with the current ways of the NBA, very few college coaches have developed NBA stars. The college game used to be similar to the NBA game. Then the NBA changed some, partly due to rules. Now the stars in the NBA who stayed in school for 3 years or more is Steph Curry and Tim Duncan. In the 70s/80s every kid was staying more then two years. When combined with the best generation of coaches and desegregation, college ball exploded. Then all those stars went to the NBA and we saw the best basketball ever. Now the athletes are bigger, faster and stronger. But now we have seen the mid range game and low post game almost vanish. Even our team hasn't been a great mid range team. Which is why B Mac has a chance. A great athlete with a great deep range shot. This isn't really on Bill as much is it is on the evolution of the game. Plus all the pampering hasn't helped with those AAU kids.

Kevin Woods 1 year, 4 months ago

I just worry about B.Mac's ball handling vs NBA talent.

jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

Let me get this straight.

Vampire Le Chad reports that "talk around the league" is that Thomas Robinson can't remember a play.

How then did Thomas master a 1000 page play book for Bill Self?

Vampire Le Chad, are you smearing a KU player again, as you appeared to smear Ben Mac after reputed one-time Nike-lean Andrew Wiggins signed with Adidas-contracted KU and during the run up to the last NBA draft--the one where there was an outside chance that Ben would be taken number one...sometime before you appeared to start smearing him?

Tsk, tsk.

What ever you are doing, Mr. Dusk to Dawn, I hope it guaranties you some access at non Adidas programs.

Why?

Because I got a wild hunch you are going to be vampira non grata at KU and a few other Adidas programs this coming season.

oldsoul 1 year, 4 months ago

Nice article from the New Orleans newspaper about Jeff, complete with quotes from Pelicans' coaches:

http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2013/07/post_22.html

Clarence Haynes 1 year, 4 months ago

T-Rob looked good against Chicago. He got 17-18 rebounds in a very competitive game.

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