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Transfer could bring spark to KU basketball

I've got good news for Kansas fans. I know of a college basketball transfer* who wants to play at KU.

He played major Division I basketball last year and is looking for more minutes this upcoming season.

He's also a big man. And after KU losing Cole Aldrich to the NBA, the Jayhawks could use a talented big guy in the middle.

This player only received limited minutes last year at his school, but in the time he was in, he put up some impressive numbers.

Here are some of his statistics compared to Aldrich last year.

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As you can see, many of Player X's statistics were eerily similar to Aldrich's last year.

Ready for more good news? He'll be eligible next year for the Jayhawks. That's because he's already on the team.

That's right, "Player X" is Jeff Withey.

* — Sorry, I had to be tricky or you weren't going to be surprised.

Now I know I'm basing these numbers off an unfair sample size that is way too small to come to definite conclusions (45 minutes for Withey last year). And, yes, Withey did make it into the game for mop-up duty quite a few times.

Withey still performed best during the games he received extended minutes. In 12 minutes against Iowa State, he scored eight points (4-for-6 shooting) to go with five rebounds, a block and turnover. In nine minutes against Nebraska, he posted four points (1-for-3 shooting) to go with six rebounds, two blocks, one steal and no turnovers.

Also, because he was only eligible at semester, 13 of the 15 games he played in were during the Big 12 season or later.

One of KU's major needs next year will be a defensive presence in the middle. The Jayhawks were the top team in the nation in two-point field-goal percentage last season, and Aldrich was the main reason for that by blocking and altering shots as a defensive presence inside.

Judging from his block and rebounding numbers above, Withey has the potential to be that kind of defensive player for KU next season.

Should KU expect the same statistical production out of Withey with more minutes next season? Probably not.

Still, the seven-footer deserves a chance to see if he can keep his Aldrichian pace with extended playing time in 2010-11.

Comments

CrimsonPhoenix 4 years, 5 months ago

Withey will be the biggest key in determining how will we do next year. All the other positions are filled, but Cole's departure leaves the biggest hole. Let's go, seven-footer!

billhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

I jumped on the Withey bandwagon last season after the ISU game. Apparently HCBS didn't. I'm not sure if him getting more PT would have changed how last year ended, but I wish he'd gotten more minutes. It will be interesting to see how coach uses him this year.

Seems like most posters here (maybe Self too) were higher on T. Rob, but I haven't been impressed with his play thus far, even though he has good "potential".

Annette Lee 4 years, 5 months ago

The fall of 2008 our expectations were lower. HCBS was excited about his team and for me it wasn't until Bobby Knight began to rave about Cole! So we will see...

stravinsky 4 years, 5 months ago

"Seems like most posters here (maybe Self too) were higher on T. Rob, but I haven't been impressed with his play thus far, even though he has good "potential"."

The Morris Twins also underwhelmed their freshman year, and look how their sophomore campaigns went. Not disagreeing with you -- he was foul prone, turnover prone, and certainly underwhelmed on many occasions. For whatever reason, that seems to be the norm with freshmen big men, especially here at KU.

I really don't think we're going to be weak in the post. That's a bit of a statement to make, I know, when losing an All-American center who was a lottery pick and we'll be filling the hole with players who saw limited time previously. However I'm pretty confident.

Markieff looked pretty dang good last year when we saw him. In fact, I even thought he was outplaying Cole in at least several games (I'd like to see whether statistics back me up or shoot me down on this). And if Robinson improves as much as the Super Morris Bros did between their freshman and sophomore seasons, he's going to be pretty, pretty good. Probably not All-American good, but pretty good. And then there's Withey. He'll have had quite a bit of time in the Bill Self system (with lots of remaining eligibility!) and has the height (and, thanks to Hudy, hopefully the weight) to be a real presence.

Annette Lee 4 years, 5 months ago

I like the fact we will have 20 fouls to give with four bigs!

longhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

"One of KU's major needs next year will be a defensive presence in the middle"

--Not really. The conference is nearly completely devoid of big man talent. Marcus Morris is the ONLY returning player from all three levels of the All Conference team over 6'6". Having a big man who can block a lot of shots is a luxury. It is NOT a necessity.

With the Morris twins starting and with Withey and Robinson coming off the bench, KU will have a more competitive matchup in PRACTICE than they will against all but maybe a few of their opponents.

Kevin Studer 4 years, 5 months ago

Well I, for one, hope we are competing for more than just conference wins next year.

mandomax 4 years, 5 months ago

its easy to say that now, but it will be very tough to swallow seeing All-Conference-quality 2s and 3s driving and scoring uncontested layups after watching Cole intimidate and dominate the lane last season

dmb40fan 4 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry but I don't agree with the statement about the conference will be weak in size, true that alot of big men went in the draft, Dexter Pitman, James, and Tiny Gallon, but Kansas State didn't loose any big men, they actually still have McDonald's All American Wally Judge, and Conneticut transfer Curtis Kelley, who gave KU fits inside because of their rebounding ability. along with Baylor having a 7 footer who got a significant amount of playing time.

live4h2o 4 years, 5 months ago

Your statistics are scewed. If he averages 6 fouls per game, then there is no way he will come close to reaching the other numbers before fouling out.

kufootball19 4 years, 5 months ago

Um, you only get 5 fouls in college basketball.

live4h2o 4 years, 5 months ago

Never took it. Just know that you can't put up 19 rebounds and 17 points in a 40 minute game if you are also going to get called for 6 fouls in that period.

TaCityHawkFan 4 years, 5 months ago

I understand what you are trying to say here but your logic is flawed. This is an average over 40 minutes of play (could be 1 game, could be 3 games) in an attempt to put the players numbers on an even playing field for comparison. Cole did not play 40 minutes a game last year either so those numbers are not indicative of one game of play for him.

Scott Smetana 4 years, 5 months ago

Optimistic thinking, which I like... but don't see how he has the muscle to go up tough against the KSU big men. I hope he's been working his *** off in the weight room. Seems like a Christian Moody type of personality.

JayhawkRock 4 years, 5 months ago

Oh and Aldrich had the muscle? Come on man! Withey goes up way stronger than Cole and Withey actually looks to DUNK THE BALL

David Lara 4 years, 5 months ago

Uh, yeah, I'd say cole had more muscle than withey, are you kidding? And who did cole really get pushed around by last season? No one. And I don't think offensive production is really what we are needing out of Withey, it's the defensive side where he will be able to do things the other bigs can't. If he's getting double figs next year I'll be pleased as punch, but it will be far more important to have a defensive paint-monger than an offensive presence from Jeff IMO.

hailtoku 4 years, 5 months ago

Let's not get carried away.

Withey's numbers are based off of few minutes against sub-par teams.

I haven't been impressed with this guy since Late Night.

He won't even start. He'll come off the bench as the token 7' footer who everyone is always frustrated with.

VegasJhawk09 4 years, 5 months ago

Jesse! When are we gonna get another Flashback? Im dying to see another!

jchief40 4 years, 5 months ago

I would be welling to bet someone $100 that Withey becomes a regular player for our team this year. Not mop-up or anything. Regular! Guys with his athleticism at that size are going to be solid college players. He has a knack for blocking shots and can finish around the bucket. He is going to see a lot of minutes this year. But Self won't just give him the spot - he's got to go out and prove he's the player Arizona thought they were getting originally. This guy has potential to be yet another stud to follow in the footsteps of all our other great big men we've had over the years.

stravinsky 4 years, 5 months ago

jchief, I think you're spot on.

If I remember right, there were comments from players last year about Withey being the best shot blocker on the team some days. Can't verify / unwilling to google this morning (I have been up five hours and STILL no coffee. This needs to be changed), but I feel that I heard really good buzz on his blocking skills. That's while practicing with KU's all time season block leader.

I have a feeling that Withey is going to be a very good player for KU. Just because he didn't produce much last year shouldn't be viewed as an indication that he's not going to be pretty, pretty good.

KGphoto 4 years, 5 months ago

I know Aldrich was a menacing presence in the paint, but I didn't see a single block that Withey couldn't have matched. He's is so much more athletic, they don't really even play the same position. Withey leaps and double-pumps fade-away jump shots. He can drive the baseline and finish with a pretty reverse layup. He really should be listed as a power forward not a center. Plus his mid-range game and activity could unlock the paint, and if he can be a creative passer, he'll generate easy buckets for others.

If Kansas plays like they look, they'll be up and down the court rapidly, capitalizing on speed. This also plays into Withey's hands. Not only will he run the court, he'll finish strong.

From what I remember seeing last year, and in open practices, he not only blocks shots, but pokes and swipes and gets his hands in passing lanes.

3 keys for Withey's success.

  1. Stay out of foul trouble
  2. Hit your free throws
  3. Be a creative passer

The rest is natural. He's lauded as a coachable player. Danny and HCBS will have him ready.

15-20 productive minutes a game.

Dee Shaw 4 years, 5 months ago

Good article. I will be shocked if Jeff Withey is not in the starting lineup. If I had to guess, this would be the starting five.

  1. Tyshawn Taylor 6'3 PG Jr.
  2. Josh Selby 6'4 SG Fr.
  3. Jeff Withey 7'0 C So.
  4. Marcus Morris 6'8 F Jr.
  5. Mario Little 6'5 F Sr.

Key Reserves:

  1. Thomas Robinson 6'9 F So.
  2. Brady Morningstar 6'3 G. Sr.
  3. Tyrel Reed 6'3 G. Sr.
  4. Markieff Morris 6'9 F. Jr.
  5. Elijah Johnson 6'2 PG. So.
  6. Travis Releford 6'5 F. So.
  7. C.J. Henry 6'4 SG. So.

Not a bad looking team. A young team. After this year though you will be loosing some major leadership in Morningstar and Reed. Hard to replace those players. Not the most talented but would run through a brick wall if you asked them to. Love those type of kids. Those kids are "Nails".

Scott Smetana 4 years, 5 months ago

Here's my 5, much different than yours dlshaw

1-2. TT 1-2. Selby 3. Reed 4. Marcus 5. Markeiff

Either Withey or Robinson will sub in first, whoever has improved the most. Either Releford or Little to come in at the 3, whoever has improved the most.
Our guard situation is crazy loaded. Brady, EJ, CJ in that order for now.

Our MVP will be Marcus with a team effort all around! Another Big 12 regular season championship, 2 great games with KSU, 2 spankings of Mizzery, another #1 seed, ? in tourney. Not bad?!

Tony Bandle 4 years, 5 months ago

Morningstar would drive through a brick wall if you asked him...sorry, I couldn't resist...my bad!!

No offense to Brady and Tyrel, but I think Mario Little and possibly CJ are going to be the team leaders.

KGphoto 4 years, 5 months ago

Oh! Burn! Hell, he deserved it.

Totally agree on Little and CJ. In fact Little has been my sleeper for a long, long time. There's just too much going on at Brady's position (and too much going on with him) to justify significant minutes anymore. Sit the little bastard and let some all-around talent shine.

Releford, Little, CJ, Reed, TT, and Selby? With the twins increasing they're efficiency and confidence from the elbow and the arc? If Brady gets significant minutes, I'll be staring straight at HCBS.

The additions of Releford and Little alone are going to surprise a lot of journalists and prognosticators. I can't say enough how impressive Little's game is. I can't say enough how underrated Releford's game is. I can't say enough how different KU is gonna look. As young as they are, they'll be more consistent, and will have fewer close games.

stravinsky 4 years, 5 months ago

I don't see Reed playing at the 3. He is an outside shooter and little else when it comes to offense (then again, that's what Xavier was for most of last year) and when we have players who can be more active in a SF role.

Scott Smetana 4 years, 5 months ago

3 and 5 to this armchair expert are our biggest concerns. We are absolutely loaded at 1,2, and 4. (as long as TT stays consistent in big games). Reed is very consistent, great on D, and a great shooter. Little and Releford are such unknowns.

Matthew Pyle 4 years, 5 months ago

I was shocked everytime self continued to run out Robinson for his usual quick fouls and multiple turnovers. I thought Withey had earned a shot at the rotation instead of Robinson. We'll see this year, unless Robison has really really improved, Withey should get the nod.

JBurtin 4 years, 5 months ago

I think Withey was the odd man out with Aldrich underneath.

Aldrich played nearly the entire game, so it was slim pickins for another guy that's been training to be a center.

Here's my starting lineup.

  1. Selby
  2. Morningstar
  3. Little
  4. Marcus Morris
  5. Markieff Morris

As much of a Center as Withey is I think the temptation to keep the twins on the floor working together will be too much. I see Withey and T Rob having roughly equal minutes in a back up role.

I give Little the edge over Releford due to age, experience, physical maturity, and simply that senior switch that always seems to turn on. I see Little playing as many minutes as fouls will allow with Releford and possibly Reed coming in to spell him.

Selby has been handed the keys to the kingdom and will play the lion's share of the minutes at the point. Brady should start at the two and will likely fill in at point when Selby hits the pine. Taylor will fill out the bulk of the 3 man rotation that Self likes to run at guard.

CJ, Elijah Johnson and Reed will get their opportunities when Tyshawn inevitably goes crazy on Facebook again.

Randy Bombardier 4 years, 5 months ago

I noticed him just as I noticed Aldrich was a force his sophomore season. Withey can even exceed what Aldrich does. I think he will ultimately be more dominating and forceful.

willyrock 4 years, 5 months ago

Ralster I like your preferred lineup, but Self will only use an 8 or 9 man rotation, so would Brady, EJ, or CJ ever play? What about possible red-shirts? I think EJ is an obvious choice. Maybe Woolridge?

My lineup:

1 - Selby/Reed 2 - Tyshawn/Reed 3 - Little/Releford 4 - McMorris/TRob 5 - Withey/Kieff

I favor Reed over Brady because he's a better shooter, esp. in clutch situations and is a guy who plays all out and doesn't have any possible character issues. Also, I like Withey as the starting C because he brings that lenght and defensive presence that Keiff doesn't quite have.

jchief40 4 years, 5 months ago

TMZ has learned the NCAA is taking an aggressive look at University of Kentucky basketball players -- past and current -- and their possible involvement with professional agents.

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2010/07/02/university-of-kentucky-basketball-sec-ncaa-probe/#ixzz0sXIHe256

bnet0000 4 years, 5 months ago

I'll be very surprised if Withey isn't in the line up.

  1. TT
  2. Selby
  3. Morningstar
  4. McMorris
  5. Withey

Thats right, a 3 guard line up!

sdku 4 years, 5 months ago

Withey is the X Factor this upcoming year. I hope Withey becomes a starter.

Withey will be a better overall player than Cole, it's a bold statement but I think we we'll all see that by the end of the Big 12 season he'll have a huge impact

Withey is more athletic and offensive than Cole. He'll be a double double guy guaranteed if he gets the playing time. Marcus will thrive if Withey is in the game since they will have to double Withey. He's a true 7 footer and can JUMP (unlike Cole).

Anyone remember the article that all his sister's play volleyball and he use to practice with them. Or the article that Withey is blocking everyone's shots in practice. Everyone get ready for Selby to throw the ball above the rim for Withey, it's going to happen a lot.

If I can put money on Withey to be a 1st rounder by his senior year, I'll all in.

Annette Lee 4 years, 5 months ago

I don't care who starts just defend till you drop then bring in a back up ! Rebound rebound both ends and get those easy baskets. Then on a night the threes are falling and the 12 to 15 footers are falling like rain well the opposition gets blasted. The 2008 NC game was night when 3s were scarce but you can still rebound and Collins gets that steal plus a 3.

KU_Alumn_2000 4 years, 5 months ago

Here's my Preferred Lineup

PG Selby SG Reed SF Releford PF Marcus Morris PF #2 Kief Morris

That would be some serious chemistry.

minipman 4 years, 5 months ago

the lineup we all want to see.. 1. e johnson 2. selby 3. releford/ little 4. t rob 5. marcus.

the second starting five

  1. taylor
  2. cj/reed
  3. little/morningstar
  4. markeif
  5. whitey

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