Jeff Withey edges out Travis Releford for top spot


1. Jeff Withey: The senior played his best offensively when KU needed points down the stretch. He tied a career-high with 25 points on 7-for-12 shooting while also hitting 11 of 14 free throws. Defensively, he helped shut down his own man and also others who ventured into the lane with seven blocks in 33 minutes. SLU ended with a worse two-point percentage than three-point percentage mostly because of the seven-footer.

2. Travis Releford: He made Withey's second-half effort possible by forcing SLU to guard him in the first half. He scored 21 of his 23 points before halftime, which included 4-for-6 first-half three-point shooting. He also played great defense on SLU's leading scorer Dwayne Evans, allowing the bulky forward only five field-goal attempts.

3. Ben McLemore: He battled foul trouble in the first half but still ended with an efficient line, posting 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting with six rebounds in 25 minutes.

4. Elijah Johnson: He didn't shoot it well (2-for-7 field goals) but made up for it by delivering accurate passes to teammates. The senior posted nine assists, four rebounds and a steal to go with two turnovers in 34 minutes.

5. Kevin Young: Didn't attempt a field goal, but he still finished with eight rebounds and three assists to go with a turnover in 27 minutes.

6. Naadir Tharpe: He continues to avoid mistakes offensively, posting no turnovers for the third straight game. He made his only three-point attempt to beat the shot clock, finishing 1-for-5 from the floor for three points with four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 22 minutes.

7. Perry Ellis: The freshman once again frustrated KU coach Bill Self at times with his lack of aggressiveness. His line still wasn't bad for nine minutes: four points, 2-for-5 shooting, three rebounds, an assist and steal to go with a turnover.

8. Jamari Traylor: Had no points but two blocks, two steals and two rebounds in 12 minutes.

9. Rio Adams: Didn't return to the game after SLU's Mike McCall Jr. hit a three over him. Immediately after, Self called timeout, went on the court to yell at the freshman, then yanked his thumb back toward the bench. Adams missed his only shot and had a foul in two minutes. Season Standings
1. Jeff Withey (44 points)
2. Ben McLemore (42 points)
3. Travis Releford (37 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (33 points)
5. Perry Ellis (27 points)
6. Naadir Tharpe (26 points)
7. Jamari Traylor (24 points)
8. Kevin Young (20 points)
9. Rio Adams (9 points)
10. Justin Wesley (6 points)
11. Andrew White III (5 points)

— Compiled by Jesse Newell and Tom Keegan. Written by Jesse Newell.


Phil Leister 8 years, 5 months ago

Anyone else baffled by Ellis' lack of production? I know he's a freshman, and the season's young, but still. I never thought he'd be a one-and-done, but it's looking like that won't even be a question.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 5 months ago

He just needs to become more confident. It's clear in watching his facial expressions that he isn't playing with confidence right now. He is fading away on shots or trying to avoid contact. I think in HS he was always so much bigger than everyone else that he was the intimidator and not the intimidated. Once he adjusts to having bigger players around he should be okay. You can see the progress, but it is slow. There were a couple of plays last night that showed the progress. On one, I think he even missed the shot, but was agresssive and went right at the contact. I think by the time league play starts he should be doing much better. At least that is my hope.

REHawk 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm fully confident that Perry will emerge as a substantial force by February. The game will slow down for him soon, and he will adjust to Div. 1 ball. I think he might have been a bit under the weather this week. At the moment, Bill Self is very fortunate to have 3 players of very different current skillsets to pitch at the opposition from that 4 position. Their combined stats are becoming impressive. I see Perry as possessing the patience to progress incrementally. Gotta hope that Jamari bears that same outlook. Kevin's experience and customary energy "to make things happen" has latched onto the need for more stable minutes right now. Those two nebies represent powerful change-ups from the bullpen. Perry and Jamari look to be rock solid permanent features of the future of Jayhawk Basketball.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 5 months ago

Perry Ellis is playing 16.6 minutes per game, and scoring 7.4 pts (46.2% FG 86.7% FT) with 4.2 rebound. That slotting him in the 5th place on the team as far as production, but also at the 4 spot where there is good competition from 2 other players that have a year of experience in the program.

His per minute production isn't terribly different than any of the 4 (BMac, Withey, EJ, Travis) ahead of him. That would lead to the conclusion that he will see more PT as his D improves and he can somehow come close to matching the freakish energy of Young & Traylor. He is use to playing against HS kids and old guys at the Y. Fortunately, he does seem to have a quiet determination; maybe not terribly different than Withey - the low life, injury prone, waste of a scholarship - oh wait, that was last year at this time.

Phil Leister 8 years, 5 months ago

Interesting comment about playing HS kids and guys at the Y. People make comments like that a lot, but it's fairly inaccurate. Top level recruits play AAU ball for a reason.

Clarence Haynes 8 years, 5 months ago

Perry seems to be an effective with short perimeter shots and driving to the basket. He has to get accustomed to playing on the inside against a number of players many of whom at this stage, can readily out-muscle him. Andrea will put some bulk and strength on him for next year and that will help!

John Randall 8 years, 5 months ago

Perry has never needed to be hard nosed before. As long as beefier guys keep taking his lunch, he's getting the idea that he can take it right back, and needs to do so more regularly. Never fear that he'll fail to stand up for himself before long.

Scott Smetana 8 years, 5 months ago

Ya. Funny now when a freshman isn't quite as good as we tought he'd be, it's a good thing! BMac has a good game.... great! BMac has a bad game... great! As long as we win, right? It will fun watching KU basketball turn Ellis into an all-american and NBA lottery pick in the next 2-4 years.

jgkojak 8 years, 5 months ago

Perry is a freshman- and he's playing like one -

He just needs a little confidence and a break-out game and he'll start looking real good - he also needs his year of Hudy to muscle him up.

AsadZ 8 years, 5 months ago

UK roster is full of freshmen and they won the NC last year.

DaNeille Dani Davis 8 years, 4 months ago

I am so tired of everyone blaming our woes on being young or being freshmen because i mentioned this before that Kentucky and Michigan State won championships with freshmen. So i dont buy that excuse.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 5 months ago

Love the potential this team has. We should easily win the Big 12...and I think we'll make a final four run. We're long, fast, and athletic...everything it takes to dominate come March and April.

As far as P-Doggie Ellis is concern...he'll be fine. Always takes these freshman a little time to understand how Self wants them to play.

Robert Brock 8 years, 4 months ago

Being aggressive and physically tough is just not in Ellis' nature. I'm not sure that he can change. Maybe in a couple of years he will gain weight and strength and learn to do the things Coach wants him to do. He is a good kid.

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