The Sideline Report with Jeff Withey


It seems like a lot of Kansas fans want to hear more about KU transfer Jeff Withey.

Though the 6-foot-10 center from San Diego won't be eligible to play until next winter, he has been practicing with the Jayhawks since January.

I was able to talk with Jeff for a few minutes after last Friday's practice. Hopefully, you'll learn a little more about him in today's Sideline Report.

The Sideline Report with Jeff Withey

Jesse Newell: What’s your first impression of the weather in Kansas?

Jeff Withey: Definitely cold. It’s hard to get adjusted to, but I’m starting to get adjusted to it. I’m starting to like it, actually.

JN: What do you like about it?

JW: I like the snow. I think that’s kind of fun, but we haven’t seen it in a little while. It’s just different. I like different. It’s a little wacky how it changes up and down. Today was hot. Yesterday was freezing.

Ed. Note — I know this isn't Jeff, but it is a cool Lawrence snow photo shot by the LJW's Mike Yoder. Anyways, carry on.

JN: When was the last time you saw snow before you got here?

JW: I never saw it before I got here.

JN: What was your first reaction when you saw it?

JW: I thought it was fun. I got a snowball and threw it at someone. It’s just fun. I pictured it Christmas-y. It’s a lot different than southern California.

JN: How much do you miss the beach?

JW: I miss it a lot. It’s something I’m definitely going to go see right when I get back home. But, you know, I’m here, and I’m just going to make the best out of here.

JN: What do you miss the most from the beach?

JW: I just miss swimming and just hanging out. I miss the sun and all that.

JN: I heard you played volleyball when you were younger. Tell me about that.

JW: (Laughs) Yeah, I played volleyball, but it was indoor volleyball, not outdoor. That was when I was younger. When I was in middle school, I actually went to the junior Olympics.

JN: Do a lot of guys do that in southern California? Did you take a ribbing for that?

JW: (Laughs) No, actually a lot of people do play there. So it’s not that unusual.

JN: What’s your impression of Cole Aldrich after going against him in practice?

E.N.: Super short Cole video, but it made me laugh.

JW: He’s pretty strong. He’s a tough guy to guard. He’s really good. I’m learning a lot from him. He can only get me better, and hopefully, I’m getting him better. He’s a tough guy to guard, though.

JN: What’s one thing specifically that you’ve learned from him?

JW: Just going hard every time. Every day in practice, he goes hard and gives it his all. That’s something I’m trying to strive for, and hopefully, I can give everything during practice.

JN: Does it take a while to get used to tempo at this practice compared to some other ones?

JW: Yeah, definitely. Coach expects a lot of you. When I came in, I didn’t really (realize) how he liked everybody to play. It was kind of like a shell-shock. I started getting into the tempo and back into shape and all that.

JN: It seems like all the big guys have played better since you’ve been on campus. Are you taking credit for that?

JW: Not yet. If we win the national championship, I’ll take credit. (Laughs)

JN: What was your first impression of Coach Self the first time you met him?

JW: I really like him. He’s a real personable guy. He gets along with everybody. He likes joking around. Just a fun guy to be around and a good coach.

JN: Has your perception changed at all since you’ve gotten here?

JW: It’s definitely part of his little recruiting. (Smiles) He’s hard on the guys. He’s hard on me, but we need that. He’s a good coach, and I respect him. He wants to win, so he’s going to do whatever he can to win.

JN: In what areas has he been hardest on you?

JW: Just with the tempo and stuff, I’m trying to adjust to it. So he kicks my butt in that. I have to run a lot and just get back in shape. He’s kicking my butt with that.

JN: How well do you shoot threes?

JW: How well? I’d say pretty well. I like shooting threes. I like shooting jump shots and all that. And I think they’re going to let me shoot some threes next year. I’m working on my jump shot still.

JN: Do you think guys are surprised when they see a 7-footer pulling up from behind the arc?

JW: Yeah, I would say so. I don’t like to be one of those guys that just shoots threes or anything. I like to post up and get in there and get rough with everybody. Kind of like Marcus (Morris). He comes down and shoots a three every now and then.

JN: I read your brother is a firefighter. Tell me about that.

JW: I definitely look up to him. I’ve always looked up to him since I was younger. He’s a good example for me. He puts his life out on the line every day and just helps people. It inspires me to go out everyday and try my best and give up my body for the love of the game.

JN: Any example of when you were younger when you saw him as a good example?

JW: When I was little, I always wanted to be just like him. I would go to his basketball practice and just shoot on the side. I would just always follow him around.

JN: Any scary moments with his firefighting? Obviously that’s a profession that can be dangerous.

JW: In California, there’s a lot of wildfires. Five months ago or so, he went out to Santa Barbara to fight a fire, and we can’t really talk to him. It’s pretty scary, but he’s trained to do it, and we all know he’s a tough guy.

E.N.: A TV news report showing the damage caused by the recent southern California wildfires.

JN: What’s the best part about France? (Withey played there as part of Team USA in the 2008 Douai World Championships.)

JW: (Laughs) I don’t know. France was a different experience. It was different. I didn’t really like it too much. (Laughs)

JN: Why’s that?

JW: They didn’t have really good food or anything like that. We had to go out and buy a lot of weird food. Their pizza was different. They had a lot of raw meat and stuff. It was definitely a different experience.

JN: What was the worst food you had in France, then?

JW: I don’t even know what it was. It was some, like, nasty meat. And they have a lot of cheese everywhere, and everyone smelled pretty bad. It was a good experience. Everything over there is different. It’s what you would picture France to be like: old and beautiful.

JN: You’ve been to Germany, too?

JW: Yeah, me and Trav (Releford) actually went for a U.S. team over in Germany. That was fun.

JN: Is it better?

JW: Yeah, it’s definitely better.

JN: I heard you beat Stanford’s Lopez twins in high school. Tell me about that game.

JW: That was probably my biggest memory in high school. It was my sophomore year. We played the Lopez twins to get to State. It was a double-overtime game. We ended up winning by one. I’ve played with them before, actually, on my club team, so I knew them pretty well. It was a big step, because beating them, I get to talk trash and all that. (Smiles) It was fun. Just everything about that game was real memorable.

JN: Was it interesting watching them in the NCAA Tournament and thinking, ‘Hey, I’ve already beat these guys’?

JW: Yeah, they definitely got better, obviously. They’re in the League now. But just watching them on TV it’s just like, ‘I played against them. I beat them,’ (laughs) so I can talk trash and stuff.


railer1122 13 years, 7 months ago

Wow that is the first time I have seen film on him!! He looks like a player, and very athletic for his size

hirschtodd 13 years, 7 months ago

omg...i know it was high school footage...but THIS GUY IS GOING TO PLAY NEXT TO ALDRICH. HOLY CRAP.

d_prowess 13 years, 7 months ago

I especially like the way he attacked the rim on those dunks! I know it was against high school competition, but the fact that he has that experience is something we can hopefully see!

killabees 13 years, 7 months ago

Wait, so is he 6-10 or 7 foot? You mention both heights in your interview.

ku98 13 years, 7 months ago

Why are Americans so uncomfortable in foreign countries? And why do they always complain about the food? It's not we eat gourmet food here. Just a question... Please enlighten me.

chicagoeddie 13 years, 7 months ago

i love food!

we are going to have so many good players next year, i think self will just play everyone and sub in/out every 2 minutes. lol! especially with the 2 possibly 3 star players coming in (john wall).... thats enough mc donald all americans then franchises in a small city! =D

rock chalk!

Jesse Newell 13 years, 7 months ago

Out of high school, all the scouting services listed him at 7 feet, which is what I based my interview on. I checked later, and his official height on the KU roster is 6-10.

Jonathan Andrews 13 years, 7 months ago

Cole was measured 7'0 at the Rucker, I believe. Self DEFINITELY doesn't inflate the height of his bigmen. You'd be amazed what a difference in reaction there is, when NBA scouts think a player is 6'11 instead of 7', or 6'8 instead of 6'9.

Eliott Reeder 13 years, 7 months ago

So... he thought the food in France was terrible? He must have a very sophisticated palate. Also noticed that he mentions "talking trash" about five times in this article. Uh-oh, we might have a 7-foot Tyrel Reed on our hands. Love these Sideline Reports, Jesse, keep 'em coming!

rcaltrider 13 years, 7 months ago

The worst thing about France is that the French are there. Otherwise, it was great!

Clarence Haynes 13 years, 7 months ago

The French are proud people like us! Once you become intimate with them, they are not all that bad! Bien sur!

Clarence Haynes 13 years, 7 months ago

Aller KU! Tuer Mizzou! Go KU...Kill Mizzou

ku98 13 years, 7 months ago

OK, thanks for the feedback, guys. Lebowski, when you say "this is just what I hear", I assume it means you've never been there or met a french person... I think that is often part of the problem. Some people make up their minds based, not on personal experiences, but on what others might say. I spent some time in France, and I met some really nice people, and contrary to popular belief, they don't hate americans, and they are not any more rude than new yorkers or even just some random a-hole you might run into in Overland Park. As for our friend Withey, it looks to me like he went there with preconceived ideas, and never tried to get over the culture shock. That's too bad. He missed out on a great experience.

KUFan90 13 years, 7 months ago's simply "different". Not that hard to figure out. I'm sure other countries complain about our food. It's not only Americans that complain about food in other countries. My guess is most French people would complain about the food in India for example. It doesn't mean we have a superiority complex. Just what you are used to.

codybear 13 years, 7 months ago

ku98 you could move to France; I will buy your one way ticket!

jackhawk99 13 years, 7 months ago

Okay, codybear, KUFan90, Lebowski and rcaltrider, are you the same folks that insisted on calling french fries "freedom fries"? Are you rude to foreigners when they come here and try their best to speak our language, but when you go to their country, you expect them to speak English? It's people like you that make the rest of the world think that America is like a 13 year old 4th grade flunkie with a short man's complex.

Oh yeah, and this Whithey kid looks great!

Scott Oswalt 13 years, 6 months ago

Whithey and Aldrich down low together. Unstoppable.

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