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Jeff Withey paces KU against Spiders

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot from Richmond guard Cedrick Lindsay during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey defends against a shot from Richmond guard Cedrick Lindsay during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

1. Jeff Withey: Best player for KU in a landslide. The big man not only scored and blocked, he also showed his quickness, picking up his sixth and seventh steals of the year early in the second half near midcourt when anticipating passes. Withey posted 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting with 13 rebounds, four blocks and two assists to go with three turnovers.

2. Naadir Tharpe: The sophomore scored a career-high 11 points while taking just five shots, which included a 3-for-4 performance from three. KU coach Bill Self was more happy with his aggressiveness defensively, as he fought harder through ball screens and gave Elijah Johnson some much needed rest in the first half. Tharpe added three assists, three rebounds and two steals with no turnovers in 17 minutes.

3. Ben McLemore: Foul trouble halted what could have been a huge offensive night for the freshman, who once again was in double digits halfway through the first half. He finished with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting (2-for-3 from three) with two assists, two steals and a turnover.

4. Travis Releford: Another steady effort for the senior, who once again was at his best in transition. Releford had 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting while making his only three and his only two free throws. He had two assists and two steals to go with one turnover.

5. Kevin Young: Self was steaming a few times because of Young's laziness on getting out to three-point shooters, yet in the end, the box score showed the senior with eight points on perfect 4-for-4 shooting with nine rebounds. Self also said afterwards Young needs to do a better job of getting position early in defensive possessions to make up for his lack of size.

6. Elijah Johnson: Self wasn't happy with Johnson after the game, saying he was still too timid offensively. The coach pointed out a pair of examples in the first half when, after a ball screen, Johnson was matched up with Richmond post player Derrick Williams and didn't even try to drive by him. Johnson was better in the second half and finished with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting (0-for-3 from three) with seven assists and three turnovers.

7. Perry Ellis: Against a smaller lineup, the freshman made scoring in the paint look simple. He posted eight points on 4-for-5 shooting but did little else in his 16 minutes, grabbing no rebounds with no assists, blocks or steals.

8. Jamari Traylor: He tries hard, as evidenced by his hustle to leap into the stands to try to save a deflection from going out of bounds. Traylor's highlight play came on a weakside block, and he added two points, four rebounds and an assist to go with two turnovers and three fouls in 13 minutes.

9. Rio Adams: Still looks like a guy that needs to settle down a bit when he gets in. Adams had a highlight-reel pass and also an aggressive drive for a one-handed dunk, but it looks like he's trying to make something happen every single time he touches it, which might be a bit ambitious. He had four points on 2-for-4 shooting with one assist in six minutes.

10. Andrew White III: Missed all five of his shots — including four threes — in 11 minutes. The freshman still contributed some other ways, notching his third and fourth blocks of the season to go with three rebounds and a turnover in 11 minutes.

KUsports.com Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (66 points)
2. Ben McLemore (65 points)
3. Travis Releford (61 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (56 points)
T5. Kevin Young (42 points)
T5. Naadir Tharpe (42 points)
7. Perry Ellis (37 points)
8. Jamari Traylor (32 points)
9. Andrew White III (20 points)
10. Rio Adams (11 points)
11. Justin Wesley (7 points)

Comments

Josh Galler 2 years ago

I missed most of the game and I ask for updates on my FB page and for some reason my cousin told me Withey got injured, and when I research it and found nothing, so I asked my cousin if he was hurt, he told me they was not able to let people know. I think he is full of it. Is he?

Joel Thomas 2 years ago

I've heard nothing of Withey getting injured. Nor did he look hurt at any point in the game (including on the bench; trainers never attended to him). Fingers crossed.

milehighhawk 2 years ago

I was at the game...Withey dominated.

If he was injured it would make headlines--pretty sure any injury is minor & he'll be good to go.

RCJH

Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

I think he was yanking your chain. It's highly unlikely that he would know about any injury that no one else knew about, especially if it happened during a game on live TV.

Kye Clark 2 years ago

Naadir at number 2? That's a reach. It was a great performance for him personally, but let's not blow it out of proportion just because it was him. If you switched his night with BMac's, would he still have been #2? Not a chance.

jayhawkjunior 2 years ago

Agree 100%. I was shocked when I read this. Naadir was way more under control, but two of those threes were off balance fade-aways that happened to go. Let's not go crazy.

mjlindsm 2 years ago

Are these rankings how players perform versus expectations or how they perform period? Naadir was better than we would expect from him, but he's always a good shooter in garbage time. Withey was a clear #1, but BMac was every bit as much of a clear #2 as far as making sure we win the game. You guys over-value garbage time with these rankings.

Steve Kubler 2 years ago

I believe Tharpe got the 2 spot for his solid play, other then the one hair brained 3 early on. No turnovers, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals is a great stat line for a backup point guard. That no look pass to Withey for the jam was a work of art and he appeared to be in control at all times.

KU has to have that kind of performance out of Nadiir or EJ is going to be worn out before March. Scoring is great but what he has to do is protect and move the ball and play solid D. Last night he did well on both ends of the floor. In comparison Ben scored well early, got into foul trouble, and was out of rhythm the rest of the game. I would have stuck him one spot lower behind Travis as Relly owned his man on D all night long.

David Leathers 2 years ago

I think these rankings reflect a lot of what Bill Selff has to say after the games. For the last three weeks, the number 1 player has been whoever coach says played the best. In this one, though, its pretty clear-cut that Withey dominated all facets of the game, so I can't be too sure.

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