Advertisement

Advertisement

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wildcats: Jeff Withey ‘changed the game on defense’

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot from Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez during the second half of the Big 12 tournament championship on Saturday, March 16 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot from Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez during the second half of the Big 12 tournament championship on Saturday, March 16 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Advertisement

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Kansas State

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 70-54 win over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament championship on March 16, 2013.

Download podcast

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Kevin Young

Kansas seniors Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Kevin Young talk to reporters after the Jayhawks' 70-54 victory over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament championship game on March 16, 2013.

Download podcast

Box score

KU-KSU

— The final stat sheet showed that Kansas University center Jeff Withey recorded just one blocked shot during Saturday's 70-54 victory against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship title game at Sprint Center.

It marked just the seventh time in 34 tries this season that Withey finished a game with fewer than two blocks and just the 16th time in the past two seasons combined. But don't go calling on the Wildcats (27-7) for sympathy. Despite not letting the KU senior get his mitts on very many of their 60 shots on Saturday, the Wildcats said they felt Withey's presence just about every time they tried to drive to the rim.

“He did his job,” said K-State center Jordan Henriquez, who finished with six points and five rebounds on 2-of-6 shooting. “He altered a lot of shots and he also gave other guys opportunities to get blocks. He changed the game on defense.”

The Wildcats, who shot 35 percent for the game (21-60) and just 22 percent in the first half (6-27), were a woeful 8-of-18 shooting on tries at the rim. That included missing their first six layup attempts and nine of the 15 layups they attempted all night.

“Looking at the percentages right now, the best thing we did was shoot free throws, and we shot 50 percent,” said KSU point guard Angel Rodriguez. “So that says a lot.”

Perhaps no K-State player felt Withey's presence more than Rodriguez, who finished the game 3-of-12 from the floor, with all of his makes coming from beyond the three-point line.

Asked about Withey's presence in the paint, Rodriguez fully admitted that driving the lane and seeing Withey waiting for him forced him to change his release. He was not interested in elaborating.

“I don't pay attention to him,” Rodriguez said of Withey, who earned the event's Most Outstanding Player honor. “I don't know what to say about him. I pay attention to my team. We lost. What am I gonna say about Jeff?”

With the Wildcats reeling from their third loss to the team they shared the Big 12 regular season title with, the focus shifted to the victor's locker room, where several Jayhawks were more than happy to talk about how thrilled they are to not have to compete against the 7-foot Withey.

“It's crazy, man,” KU guard Ben McLemore said. “He's unstoppable in there. Even if he doesn't block the shot, he can challenge the shot. I definitely think he changed a lot of their guards' shot selection, and he changed the pace of how they were playing. He meant a lot today.”

McLemore said there are times when he thinks to himself, "Are they crazy?" when he see opposing teams continue to attack Withey inside.

“Sometimes I'll be thinking, 'The first time didn't work, the second time didn't work,' and they try to go again and it still doesn't work,” McLemore chuckled. “That's what teams are gonna do, they're gonna try to go at Jeff, and he knows how to hold his ground.”

Sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe echoed McLemore's thoughts and said Withey's defense can do more than keep points off the board.

“Teams definitely get frustrated,” Tharpe said. “And that's only gonna help us in the tournament. In basketball, you're supposed to be aggressive, so hopefully they don't stop (going at Withey), because he's gonna get blocked shots.”

Comments

Gary McCullough 1 year, 1 month ago

Would Mack Brown still have his job if Kansas had won the last 9 conference championships on football?

1

Kevin Jenkins 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks Jeff, Perry, Releford, Tharpe, Ben, Traylor and rest of the team for proving that KU is still Champs. And only we deserved to be outright champions. Who was the better coach last night? Where is Webber and his comments now? Yes Jeff in the middle, helped out with guys not penetrating.. But the guards did a good job also. Young too. People were commenting on Perry's faults so strongly a few weeks ago. Hmm! Maybe all our players next year will be mostly sophomores. But next stop this year, Ncaa champs

0

ajhk 1 year, 1 month ago

I'd like to see all those posters who used the term "ChenoWithey" (two years ago) to come out and make a pledge to see a KU player's development through before being so cruel.

Jeff has altered much more than field goals around here. Jeff is a bada$$. Jeff stuck it out and prevailed against all the criticism to become this team's rock and KU's top shot blocker.

I recall an article where Aldrich was being praised for his great defensive presence when he stated that Jeff was a better shot blocker than he in practice. Not many took that statement seriously then. Any doubts now?

Thank you Withey for all you've given KU

Now I'd like to see the Tourney serve him some fresh meat. Our conference foes have definitely become weary and keep their distance. I'd love to watch some nonbelievers come meet their maker in the paint!

5

s6u6r6f 1 year, 1 month ago

If I had a gun for every shot Withey has changed, I could arm a town the size of Abilene. Rock chalk.

2

Annette Lee 1 year, 1 month ago

Traylor improved, Lucas should be a pleasant addition and Jo Jo could begin to blossom in March.. Plus HCBS said that he hoped recruiting is not over, so the talking heads can speculate while HCBS begins convincing a young team that they could be good!

0

Oscar_Unit 1 year, 1 month ago

Was glad to see Traylor get the nice block inside. I think Withey is going to be hardest to replace next year, but Traylor looks like he's going to be a beast.

1

Born_And_Raised_A_KU_Fan 1 year, 1 month ago

Don't forget about Naadir Tharpe! 4/5 on three-pointers! Without him, we might just lose this game.

1

MinnesotaJay 1 year, 1 month ago

“Looking at the percentages right now, the best thing we did was shoot free throws, and we shot 50 percent,” said KSU point guard Angel Rodriguez. “So that says a lot.”

That seems pretty funny to me. Maybe it wouldn't to a K-State fan (he he).

1

April13 1 year, 1 month ago

Has anyone seen Rick Barnes tonight? He's got some 'splainin to do.

1

Scut Farkus 1 year, 1 month ago

Ellis played well and was a big reason KU jumped all over ISU but make no mistake, without Withey, KU does not win this tournament. That said, If Ellis continues to perform like he has, I definitely see a Final Four in KU's future.

3

Boouk 1 year, 1 month ago

Withey played well, but he shouldn't have been the tournament MVP over Perry Ellis. Ellis was our best player this week.

2

justinryman 1 year, 1 month ago

Aint no party like a Withey block party cause a Withey block party don't stop!

8

Commenting has been disabled for this item.