Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jeff Withey named to preseason all-Big 12; Elijah Johnson honorable mention

Kansas center Jeff Withey pumps his fist after a Jayhawk bucket to end the half against Ohio State during the first half on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Superdome.

Kansas center Jeff Withey pumps his fist after a Jayhawk bucket to end the half against Ohio State during the first half on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Superdome.


Kansas senior center Jeff Withey was a unanimous selection to the preseason all-Big 12 team, the conference announced Thursday.

Withey, a 7-foot center from San Diego, was the Big 12 defensive player of the year last season and set a Big 12 record with 140 blocks a year ago.

“This is a great honor,” Withey said. “We have a lot of guys on this team that could have easily been in that category. The Big 12 is one of the best conferences in the nation. It is only preseason and hopefully I will be in the same position at the end of the year.”

Also, KU senior guard Elijah Johnson was named all-Big 12 honorable mention.

2012-13 Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Pierre Jackson, Baylor

Jeff Withey, Kansas

Rodney McGruder, Kansas State

Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State

Myck Kabongo, Texas

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):

Isaiah Austin, Baylor; Elijah Johnson, Kansas; Romero Osby and Steven Pledger, Oklahoma; Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State; Sheldon McClellan, Texas.

Preseason Player of the Year

Pierre Jackson, Baylor

Preseason Newcomer of the Year

Amath M'Baye, Oklahoma

Preseason Freshman of the Year

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State


Priest Fontaine 9 years, 7 months ago

So excited to see Jeff out there getting-Withey-with-it! Hopefully Hudy has packed some more muscle on his frame and has continued to work with him on his vertical. God I wish I was young and 7 feet tall!

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 7 months ago

kabongo can have the preseason...EJ will make the list in early March

Robin Smith 9 years, 7 months ago

my exact thoughts, but EJ will make the list that matters.

yates33333 9 years, 7 months ago

Unless something strange has happened Kabongo is not a first team choice.

I am surprised that West Virginia doesn't have anyone listed here. Who chose this team? A few office boys at conference headquarters.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 7 months ago

ATTENTION ALL HIGH SCHOOL BIG MEN!!!! Do any of you think he did this on his own?? Openings now available at BIGMANU. Be Selfed, Hudyed and Drafted for the BIG SHOW!!!!

Congrats to both you guys!!

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 7 months ago

As much as I want to agree with you, we lost a huge piece to the BigManU puzzle when Danny took the job with Tulsa. What he did refining post moves and giving the players his situational knowledge will be hard to replicate so we might see a drop off in the coming years. Hope I'm wrong though.

KGphoto 9 years, 7 months ago

Hudy has had a LOT to do with the improvements. No better trainer in college basketball. We'll miss Danny, but don't think we'll stop turning out NBA big men either.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 7 months ago

I think so also. Hudy is a great trainer when it comes to strength and conditioning, but D Manning taught technique.

kellerman411 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm not disagreeing with you at all but at the same time, let's keep it real. Jeff Withey was rated 96/100 by ESPN coming out of highschool. Self and his Kronies didn't exactly turn a toad into a prince... They sure did improve him though. He'll be drafted in the 1rst round.

Dan Cook 9 years, 7 months ago

I'd say the KU staff is 100% responsible for toughening Jeff up and that was the thing that would have held him back. He may have developed some skills elsewhere, but I don't believe he would have ever made the progress he made in getting tougher with consistency. That took a lot of work and now it comes far more naturally for him.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 7 months ago

100%? Jeff doesn't get any credit for his hard work? Not buying it.

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 7 months ago

How long ago was it that Withey looked like he didnt belong in Div 1 basketball?

Same with the twins their freshmen years, they looked lost, then 2 years later they are NBA lottery picks.

I hope we are able to continue the trend with Manning going to tulsa. And for those not listed- let this fuel the fire that is already burning. Rock Chalk

ParisHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Winston Churchill said: "Some men are born great, some become great and some have greatness thrust upon them."

Jeff Withey is a prime example of how the second and third options work together at KU.

Jeff, congratulations for becoming great!

Coaches Self and Hudy, thanks again for being the twin thrusters!

P.S. According to Hudy's bio, she has trained 25 players into the NBA.

actorman 9 years, 7 months ago

Excellent article. Thanks for sharing, hawkinator.

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 7 months ago

Is BMac eligible for newcomer or freshmen of the year?

Robin Smith 9 years, 7 months ago

He should be eligible for freshman of the year, newcomer at least.

Marcus Smart is a pretty darn good pick I gotta say, even in light of the other talent in the conference. I wanted that guy in Lawrence big time.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 7 months ago

Yes..this season will count at his first year of eligibility and is one of three KU players who I think have legitimate shots to be the winner when it counts.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 7 months ago

Hopefully you will be Big12 POY at the end of the season Mr Withey! Either you or EJ that is.

Would BMac be considered for freshman of the year or newcomer? Either way, he's got a legit shot at it.

KGphoto 9 years, 7 months ago

Perry Ellis will quietly be in the mix for FOTY.

Troll_or_AntiTroll 9 years, 7 months ago

Is this a down year for the Big 12? The all-conference team seem weaker than normal.

Michael Pannacciulli 9 years, 7 months ago

Who cares its all preseason conjecture. Did anyone think at this time Withey would turn out a stud year?

yates33333 9 years, 7 months ago

I did when it became apparent he would get a chance to play. He played very little because he wasn't needed with the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson in 2011-2012, and the same players with Mario Little the year before. Jeff was a 3rd team player along with Woolridge and Roberts. Most of the time when he got his 2 to 5 minutes, and a rare 10 minutes, he did pretty good. Of course, his strength conditioning helped as did his working with Danny Manning. But he had God's gift, a true 7 footer and the ability of a natural shot blocker. I hope he can develop into a scorer this year. If so, he will be an all-American. BTW, most players are better as Juniors than as freshmen, if you can still use freshmen.

Keith Kienzle 9 years, 7 months ago

What about OK St? I think Nash and Smart might make that team competitive if they can gel. But yes, there are no obvious threats to the conference title at this point.

Robert Brock 9 years, 7 months ago

Um, Baylor's addition of Isaiah Austin makes the Bears a really dangerous team.

yates33333 9 years, 7 months ago

Agree. Plus their horse's arse coach is pretty clever.

Dan Cook 9 years, 7 months ago

Baylor is still stocked with talent. Drew may be a liability, but that team is likely to be a contender. Same could be said for UT. Okie State will likely be most improved and it's possible OU could be improved as well. Overall, I agree the conference is down this year compared to last.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 7 months ago

If there's a Pre-Season Coach of the Year........

Well, everybody knows who that should be every year!

DDDHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Congratulations, Jeff and Elijah! We are so proud of you both!

REHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Joel Embiid, please take a good look at Jeff Withey's journey thru Division 1 basketball. No doubt in the minds of most Jayhawk supporters that Jeff made the best of all possible moves, transferring to the KU coaching/training program. Jeff has gone from a skinny 7' kid with lots of potential (in both hoops and volleyball) to a Big 12 stud who appears to be destined for 1st round NBA selection in June. He is on track to become one of the most memorable shotblockers in the history of the college game. You probably possess many of the same ingredients which have led Jeff Withey to an outstanding defensive performance in last year's NCAA Championship game. Commit to Jayhawk basketball, apply yourself diligently to improving your talents for 3 or 4 years, then walk away from an adoring fan base with a multimillion dollar offer to pursue the professional game.

REHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

To Perry Ellis, BenMac, and Travis Releford, I say Do not take to heart any unintentional slights from Big 12 prognosticators. Last season, very few national evaluators who follow the sport faithfully predicted that the Jayhawks had the lineup to play in the NCAA title game, and come within a few defensive stops of bringing home the crown. Come November, step out on the hardwood to prove that, once again, the oracles of the sport come up short when evaluating the Bill Self program and players.

Alohahawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Right you are. And add TRobb into that mix. How many predicted he would vie for National Player of the Year? Or come anywhere near to it?

yates33333 9 years, 7 months ago

Right on!!

I wish someone would mention Peters. He has real potential. OK, I mentioned him.

Alohahawk 9 years, 7 months ago

The first dominoes fell today, with the Harrison twins choosing Kenstinky. No real surprise. I would imagine Maryland will now go all out for Peters. Randle may wait till Spring, but I'd guess it's about 85% he'll join the twins, as he has hinted a few times before. That might nudge Gordon a little more into KU's corner, unless the reverse happened and Gordon chose Kenstinky before Randle. Then, Randle might re-evaluate where the best chance for playing time would be. Dominoes could still split a number of ways.

I'm still 'all in' for Selden and Gordon, with Shepherd or Embiid as the third.

BTW, does anyone know how Embiid pronounces his last name? Is it "M Be Eed"? "M Be iid"? "Em Bide"? (Or for fun sake: "I'm Bad", meaning he'll be really good?)

hotrodm 9 years, 7 months ago

I will cheer for MIZ-ZOU over Kentucky. I can't believe I am saying this, but does anyone else agree.

JHawk06 9 years, 7 months ago

Wow what a tough question.. I cheer against Mizzwho so hard down here in SEC country but man do I hate Kentucky fans. Ill let you know right before the game :)

yates33333 9 years, 7 months ago

Not me. I'd cheer for Satan over Misery. Cal must be crooked. He always gets the best, at least during the past three years. I hate to say this because I like him. After all he did coach at KU, and I believe with Bill Self and Larry Brown, probably the two best coaches in KU history.

Gary McCullough 9 years, 7 months ago

Marcus Smart over Perry Ellis for Freshman of the Year?

Priest Fontaine 9 years, 7 months ago

Why is that surprising? With freshmen you never know. He was much higher ranked to begin with. On top of that, he is playing with a less talented team that will depend on him being a go-to player from the start. I'm not saying I don't think Ellis deserves it, but it's really not something I would argue with.

Dan Cook 9 years, 7 months ago

Yes. I'll predict Smart makes me 1st team AA Freshman team. That kid is a winner with skills.

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