Originally published May 16, 2011 at 12:29p.m., updated May 17, 2011 at 01:09a.m.

Jeff Withey, Jordan Juenemann to play in Europe this summer for Athletes in Action

Kansas center Jeff Withey slaps hands with fans as he exits the court following the Jayhawks' 113-75 win over Longwood, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Jeff Withey slaps hands with fans as he exits the court following the Jayhawks' 113-75 win over Longwood, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas University basketball players Jeff Withey and Jordan Juenemann will play for Athletes in Action during a two-week trip to Europe from May 19 through June 3.

During that time, Athletes in Action will face local European teams, including clubs from Greece, Hungary, Poland and also the Kosovo national team.

Athletes in Action is a global ministry that uses sports to help people deal with questions of faith.

“This will be my first time overseas,” said Juenemann, a 6-foot-3 senior-to-be from Hays. “It will be great to experience that and get to know guys from other teams. I think it will be really enjoyable.”

Juenemann wanted to travel with Athletes in Action the last few summers, but plans had never worked out. He called the director of Athletes in Action to tell him he was interested this year, and a week later, Juenemann was informed that he made the team.

Because the team needed post players, Juenemann then started to recruit his roommate, Withey, a 7-foot junior to be from San Diego.

At first, Withey declined.

“I haven’t been home for a year, so I wanted to go back home,” Withey said. “Coach (Kurtis) Townsend and coach (Bill) Self heard about it, and they told me it would be a good opportunity for me because I haven’t played a real basketball game in such a long time and it would also help me with my Christian faith.”

It won’t be Withey’s first time in Europe, as he played in basketball tournaments in France and Germany during high school.

“I’m looking forward to going to that part of the world because there is so much history there. Playing the national team and being able to share my faith will be awesome,” Withey said.

Juenemann is also appreciative of all of the individuals who donated to Athletes in Action to help the team travel to Europe.

“We’ll be doing Bible studies, lots of prayers and growing in our faith together. I really believe God has something for Jeff and me over there to bring back to the states and KU,” Juenemann said. “We want to come back and be leaders on the team from what we learn in Europe. We want to thank all of the people who support Athletes in Action to make this trip possible. We’ll be growing in our basketball skills and growing in our faith, so to be involved with Athletes in Action will be an experience I take with me for the rest of my life.”

Juenemann and junior-to-be Withey will fly out of Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday before meeting with their teammates in Chicago. They then will fly to Frankfurt, Germany, before taking a bus to Macedonia to start training.

The KU roommates will return to Kansas on June 3, a few days before summer classes begin.

Juenemann and Withey will be joined on the team by three other Big 12 players: Cory Jefferson (Baylor); A.J. Walton (Baylor); and Will Spradling (Kansas State). Other team members are: Austin Dufault (Colorado); Scottie Wilbekin (Florida); Jake Kitchell (Indiana State); Langston Hall (Mercer); and William Mosley (Northwestern State).

Lacey update

Trevor Lacey, a 6-3 senior guard from Butler High in Huntsville, Ala., is scheduled to sign with either KU, Kentucky, Alabama or Auburn on Wednesday afternoon at his high school.

His dad, William Pride, tells it’s possible no announcement will be made at that time.

“It could be later,” Pride told the website. “Pretty much right now he’s just discombobulated ... a lot of pressure on the kid. I pretty much feel sorry for the kid just to know that he really doesn’t know.”

Players who do not sign letters-of-intent can still sign grants in aid upon reporting to campus.

Next year’s rankings has issued its new rankings for the class of 2012. Some players being recruited by KU and their new rankings: Perry Ellis, 6-8, Wichita Heights, No. 20; Shabazz Muhammad, 6-5, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, No. 2; Mitch McGary, 6-10, Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, N.H., No. 5; Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, St. Mark’s, Southborough, Mass., No. 11; Gabe York, 6-2, Lutheran High, Orange, Calif., No. 31; Winston Shepard, 6-8, Findlay Prep High, Henderson, Nev., No. 38; Nino Jackson, 6-2, Ardmore (Okla.) High, No. 39; J-Mychal Reese, 6-1, Bryan (Texas) High, No. 40; Robert Upshaw, 6-11, San Joaquin Memorial High, Fresno, Calif., No. 45. Future KU player Zach Peters, 6-9, Prestonwood Christian, Plano, Texas, is No. 126.


Tony Bandle 11 years, 6 months ago

Jeff, remember, the Lord loves us all..but he really loves those that block shots and dunk the ball!!! :)

Play hard and enjoy your trip.

Ashtin Meerpohl 11 years, 6 months ago

Lord loves himself some players who can do a little playing and praying!

hawk316 11 years, 6 months ago

This is a great deal for these guys and should be a very positive experience for them. AIA is a solid ministry and provides student athletes a terrific opportunity to grow in a variety of ways: spiritually, socially, culturally, as well as on the court. Plus, the quality of competition can be fairly significant. A very good decision, Jeff and Jordan!

jro72887 11 years, 6 months ago

sounds like a great experience and cause lets just hope withey doesnt hurt himself by stepping on the court... we need his size next year!

baldwinjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Size doesn't matter if you don't know how to use it.... As the old saying goes. lol

tophawk87 11 years, 6 months ago

This is all part of our re-hab effort, our bball image has suffered the last couple of years...

lee3022 11 years, 6 months ago

Not really. We haven't had a knifing for years! Don't worry about the image. Coach runs a very tight ship and removes those who cannot conform. The stuff in the past few years is no more than typical students getting outside the lines.

Each year is a fresh start. Each situation is an opportunity for a student-athlete to grow and mature. Normal processes.

lee3022 11 years, 6 months ago

I don't know if this is accurate but Aldrich is in civilian clothes during OKC's games so you might be right. Withey is not a bust. He had injuries last year that affected his development and has two more years to produce. I think he does have promise.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 6 months ago

So anyone who calls themselves a Christian is akin to those guys?

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 6 months ago

the pinnacle of their profession is being in step with God's plan. It has nothing to do with how much money they were making, or how wide their reach was.

They clearly were not in step with God's plan. That doesn't necessarily diminish the powerful works that they did in the name of Jesus. It doesn't mean that the people who were saved or healed, are now unsaved or unhealed. It just means that they were not right to be in the position of authority and high visibility that they were in. Or simply, that they are a great testament to Romans 3:23 which states that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

It's written all over the Bible. "There is no one righteous." "Equality with God is not something to be grasped." But as a person who is a witness for Jesus Christ we have to live as examples of that.

I say a big Congrats to Withey and Juenemann for seeking what's really important. I hope that they can exemplify that every day for the rest of their lives.

I apologize for the preaching. This is a basketball forum.

I hope that Jeff Withey can stay healthy and think that if he does, the coaches will find a way to build a winning system with him at the center.

Eric Williams 11 years, 6 months ago

No. The Pinnacle will always be those like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Martin Luther.

I would include Jesus, but he wasn't truly a Christian. I think there are a fair number of screw-ups in every religion including those that consider themselves Atheist.

KanedaMGM 11 years, 6 months ago

Mother Teresa was a terrible person that kept people in suffering and poverty for her own selfish reasons . She should be reviled not revered .

beware0fph0g 11 years, 6 months ago

And a +1 for you, as well. I feel like freaking Oprah right now.

beware0fph0g 11 years, 6 months ago


As much as it pains me to agree with the site troll.

Proselytizing does not a noble one make.

mattiesdad 11 years, 6 months ago

Yes, all falible people, just like you and me. The nature of God, however, does not change. He's the lover of souls and the giver of mercy.

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Well said mattiesdad. He even loves IrishDaddy. He MAY be the only one..........................

Eric Williams 11 years, 6 months ago

Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Martin Luther to name a few on the other end of the spectrum... etc etc etc

KanedaMGM 11 years, 6 months ago

Mother Teresa was a terrible person that kept people in suffering and poverty for her own selfish reasons . She should be reviled not revered.

Gregor Southard 11 years, 6 months ago

Are you serious? The pain of your life must be overwhelming. Let love heal

KanedaMGM 11 years, 6 months ago

Is that for me? If so, yes I am serious. Try learning what she really did to the poor people that were under her "care".

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Where are you getting your information?

KanedaMGM 11 years, 6 months ago

from all over but here is a very minor example from her wiki page

She has also been criticized for her view on suffering. She felt that suffering would bring people closer to Jesus.[43] Sanal Edamaruku, President of Rationalist International , criticised the failure to give pain killers, writing that in her Homes for the Dying, one could “hear the screams of people having maggots tweezered from their open wounds without pain relief. On principle, strong painkillers are even in hard cases not given. According to Mother Teresa's bizarre philosophy, it is ‘the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ’.”[44]

beware0fph0g 11 years, 6 months ago

You should check out Christopher Hitchen's book "The Missionary Position". Though a crass title, very informative.

See here:

And an interview with Hitch, here:

And all of this culminating to Theresa doubting her own faith, here:

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

beware and Kaneda, I have absolutely no authority to speak intelligently about Mother Teresa, either pro or con, because I have never studied her or know really anything about her. I would be very leery of internet sources however. Why is it when anyone speaks of another's willingness to help others, they are always compared to her? Understand, I'm not sticking up for her, I'm just asking.

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

ahhh - never mind. I don't care - let's just stick to KU basketball.

Ben Kliewer 11 years, 6 months ago

To be honest, I've been discussing Withey with a U of A fan, and they really couldn't care less that they "lost" him to us. In fact, it was more of a "good riddance" situation for them...not sure how well Withey will pan out.

KULA 11 years, 6 months ago

What's your UofA friend basing his judgement on? Did Withey ever even suit up and play for U of A? Sounds like sour grapes.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 6 months ago

u of a fans are the worst! They are so proud of so little!

Oh, and good bye momo.

lee3022 11 years, 6 months ago

Experience is good for both players and life experiences in Europe is positive as well.

However, my first thought it no training table and no supervision pumping iron might slow down Withey's strength development. But two weeks will not likely make or break it and Coach knows best.

Make_Ur_Free_Throws 11 years, 6 months ago

Nice to see Jeff and Jordan getting this opportunity, and using their God given talents to share in a positive way with others. Growth can be measured in many ways, even on the inside where you can't always see it, and I'm sure what they will take away from this summer will be a big benefit in their lives both on and off the court! Good luck men!

Ben Simonett 11 years, 6 months ago

shouldn't withey be spending the summer in the weight room instead of playing pall in a part of the world notorious for producing slender big men?

nicka 11 years, 6 months ago


"upside" usually refers to someone with unrefined athletic ability with loads of potential. Withey just has lots of room for improvement because he isn't very good. I believe that is called "sucky".

Nba aspirations are laughable. He's a stick figure that trips all over himself. Remember, he wasn't a freshman last year, plus he had a redshirt year to develop. Play the injury card here if you like, but he should already be showing signs of improvement, and hasn't.

nicka 11 years, 6 months ago

fyi...i'm a huge ku fan and have watched every minute withey has played in a ku uniform. "uncoordinated" is the word that first comes to mind. maybe this is the cause of all the injuries?

please don't try to show me up with your knowledge of the guy's high school stats. that was 3 years ago, and he is 7 feet tall...of course he is going to dominate in high school.

KU 11 years, 6 months ago

Withey needs to put his faith in Cheeseburgers and Milk Shakes............and Hudy.

I'm just not sure he has the drive to be a dominant Big. I can't tell if it's a lack of work ethic or a fear of getting hurt or something else. In the little time we have actually seen him on the court he rarely looks like he's into the game. You can make excuses all you want about how he hasn't played in an actual game situation, but give me a break.......he has gone up against the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson everyday in practice. If that doesn't prepare you to play in games, I'm not sure what will.

KanedaMGM 11 years, 6 months ago

Don't anger him with your false gods or you will feel the rath of His great Noodley Appendages.

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

Question for all you in denial KU fans......Not only does KU choke in March.....but they choke badly. So.....why? Why is that Northern Iowa and VCU not only won.....they completely destroyed KU......can you say blow-out??

This doesn't ever get mentioned.......everybody only talks about KU losing. They forget that KU was absolutely dismantled by two inferior teams.

So.....lets hear it you rah-rah KU fans......why? I know your perfect Jayhawks can do no how is this possible?

ccarp 11 years, 6 months ago

sorry, rearend...I guess I didn't get the it why they choke so badly? Why did they get destroyed? Or is it, can we say blow out? Is it why people forget about the loss? Is it that the hawks can do no wrong?

I don't know that they "choked" so badly. They definitely played tight, got a team that was hot from 3, and they diverted from the game plan and tried to chuck 3's themselves. I guess that's the reason they lost. Can you provide any insights yourself?

The fact we don't dewell on the losses is that it was just their 3rd loss of both seasons. So, you could say we won more games then we lost. We also won the conference both of those seasons, so we consider those years to be decent seasons. Trust me, we think and discuss the losses at the end of the season. Luckily, those sour end of season conversations always wrap up with, "Always next year!".

As for do no wrong, we've had plenty of growing pains with our teams, but we love basketball and understand it is a sport that is one of the best forms of entertainment in the world and our Hawks have been and always will deliver high quality entertainment. Sounds like they've even made you smile.

So, I guess the real question is why did you come to post? Who is your squad? Let's get a game lined up and see who wins. My money is on the hawks.

Thanks for giving me a chance to reflect that even with some blips in our seasons, KU is the most successful team in the country most of the year. That's something to be excited about. Oh yeah, our first coach invented the game, our second coach invented coaching, Wilt Chamberlain set up the modern game, KU has the most wins and appearances in the NCAA for the last 22 years, we're the reason the Kentucky and UNC grew to success, and we've got what will be the winning-est coach in college basketball history.

Thanks, rearend, you gave me time to think of my team and how great they are and how proud I am to be a jayhawk. ROCK CHALK ,JAYHAWK!

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

You think KU is in tandem with national powers Duke,UNC,UConn and KY??????? Not even close, friend. Kansas is a regional power at best......they get a lot of wins vs Iowa State and Nebraska......that's why they are at the top in wins. But KU has very few national titles....3.(Helms titles do not count). Until KU can win on a ntional level.....they are not a national power.

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

You are a national moron. Or is that ntional?

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

I like Herman Munster.......1313 Mockingbird Lane. What was the name of the neice that was really pretty but the family called her the ugly one?

Ethan Berger 11 years, 6 months ago

Guess who has the most ncaa tourney wins in the past 10 years? Even with the major upsets. We aren't to far removed from a title. I hate the argument that the only way to judge a teams power is by national title. Guess who isn't to far ahead of us? that would be UNC. Guess who only started winning in the 90s? That would be Duke. Guess who always has the best talent on their team and hasn't won since 98? That would be UK. Uconn? Please, they aren't a national power. Titles don't say it all. Basketball is a sport of who is hot. That why in the NBA they have a seris. I love march madness and don't want it to be gone with even though it seems that we are hurt the most. You say we are only in the top 3 in wins because of Neb and Iowa state, so are you implying those other schools never have to play weak teams in their conference? KU is a national power, who needs to step in up in march. This is the order of the last 4 national champs. UCONN, Duke, UNC, Kansas. Kansas had to beat the preseason favs UNC and the Dream team Memphis. In no way am I saying that Titles don't matter, but its not the only stick you judge by. KU is a national Power, go ask ESPN, Fox, CBS and any other sports stations.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 6 months ago

Hawk90, I am in no way defending rearend, however, winning it all is what many people judge a programs success on. UCONN now has 3 in the time we have 1. It's what I tend to focus on too. '97 was a great year, but we didn't win it all. 03, a great year, but...

However I do believe that KU is a premier program, a Porsche among the Cadillac's. Duke, UNC, KU, are the programs most people measure themselves against.

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

An excellent comment!!! Well said!!! National titles are not everything......but they are extremely important. It's hard for me to say KU had a great year unless they win it all. Am I spoiled? Yes.....but still.....I want national titles.

Ethan Berger 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree, I want em too. I still have nighmares about VCU. I love Self but he has to figure what is going on.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 6 months ago

You weren't supposed to make it look like I agreed with you :)

Ethan Berger 11 years, 6 months ago

UCONN is a great program. And I agree with you, my problem with UCONN is that they arent always on the top. They are very inconsitant. While I think they're are a great program. I also am really picky with calling schools elite. KU, UK, UNC, Dook, AU are the elite programs. UCLA has the most titles, but they got those in like a span of 10 years(which is why Wooden by far is the best coach). But to me you have to be at the top for a long time(Duke slipped in the 70s and 80s.but had good history before that.) So if I expanded what I believe to be elite, UCONN would be the first school

RockChalk26 11 years, 6 months ago

@ccarp - don't bother with theend. He makes the same post once a week about how KU doesn't win in March and that we need to change something.

Oh yeah, then he will give a shout out to Iowa State!

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

KU doesn't win in March and we need to change something.....and shout out to Iowa State!!!

dynamitehawk 11 years, 6 months ago


I usually ignore your stuff - you make me look like the Andy Griffith of citizen board rats. But to answer your's and other recent silly questions: Yes, KU has some embarrassing losses. Yes, we are some of the most optimistic and forgetful people you will ever find. In fact, I heard that Ben McLemore used to jump and put his lunch on top of the backboard every day in high school. It's possible because we're magic. Duh.

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

I've made my fair share of Mid-March choke comments, out of frustration, but it's almost June. Do you really not have anything better to talk about now? So - are you a K-State fan who is just jealous that we even make it TO the tournament? Or is it just because you're 12 years old?

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

DARN! DARN! DARN! DARN! (FYI - famous Herman Munster quote!) - I'm upset with myself. I really had you pegged for 12 !!

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

My favorite part of that show was people's reactions when they would see the Munsters for the first time(especially Herman). Those were the days of real comedies, my friend....Beverly Hillbillies,Hogans Heroes,Gilligan's Island, The Munsters....most of what is on TV today is trash(although I do like 'The Office')

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

DARN! DARN! DARN! DARN! I wish I hadn't read your latest reply. I'm actually starting to warm up to you. Actually, I had Grandpa put a spell on you and now you will start making very enlightened pro KU comments. (subliminal ... forget about March)

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 6 months ago

Man, has Zach Peters fallen like a rock since he committed or what???

Eric Williams 11 years, 6 months ago

This seems to happen to every guy that commits early (to us and others).

Remember Woolridge (who should have red-shirted his first year) was a top 50 recruit at one point, then he committed 2 years early and dropped to 80-90 range.

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, I somewhat recall Peters somewhere near top 10 when he was deciding between us and UK.

DrPepper 11 years, 6 months ago

Zach has also stopped playing AAU (working on his own instead) so he is not in front of those making the rankings.

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

Withey seems like a nice guy......but he needs all the help he can get. This will be good for him. Even so......I wouldn't expect too much from him.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 6 months ago

theend..this was a rational, insightful comment with a reasonable, mature conclusion and probably right on......are you feeling OK??

Just teasin' my friend. :)

theend 11 years, 6 months ago

I know......I'm not sure what's wrong with me. Well.....I hope Withey improves b/c it would be great to have him and T-Rob playing together. They both have a long way to go, though. But still.....a lot of potential......PS-they both need to start with improving FT's!!

nuleafjhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Oak - It's the spell I had Grandpa put on him, it's finally taking effect!! Gotta go tell Lilly.....

DevilHawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Sounds about right at this point. At this point I'd just like to see Withey contribute and stay healthy the entire season.

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