Okay, we all have followed the rise and fall...and rise of Tyshawn Taylor over the past few years. We all have fallen for the great story and greater play of Thomas Robinson. But what about the quiet man in the middle for the soon to be top-5 Kansas Jayhawks? Jeff Withey surely looks like a basketball player, standing somewhere over 7 feet tall. Unfortunately for him, he has been a 7 foot cheerleader for much of his collegiate career.
Withey originally committed to Arizona, but asked for his release after famed coach Lute Olsen retired. He was originally denied a release and due to the delay and to his eventual transfer he lost over a full season of college basketball. That said, the thinking goes that 'bigs' often take longer to progress, both physically and skill-wise. After sitting out a season and a half and then barely playing for the loaded Jahwak frontcourt a bigger, stronger Withey has emerged as an important cog in the Kansas machine.
Withey brings several distinct positives and negatives as an NBA prospect. Obviously his size is somehting that cannot be taught, and his physical progression shows a willingness to work. His frame is capable of another 15-25 lbs and he seems to have very long arms. On the offensive side of the ball Withey is almost never used in the post, but in the games I have seen he has shown a right handed hook turning baseline with nice extension and decent success. He is a good free throw shooter and shows nice form, while his J is still inconsistent though by no means bad.
Withey shows a much improved IQ, moving the ball quickly and willingly from middle to wing to help break the zone. He rebounds the offensive glass well, using his length more than positioning at this point.
On defense Withey seems to be a difference maker. He has nice timing and great length, either playing man or roatating from the weakside. The biggest issue here is his lack of strength and his stiffness. While Withey is a decent athlete for a big - he moves well and gets off the ground decently- he is a bit robotic in his movements and plays with a high center of gravity. That said, in last nights game against Baylor he was isolated on the perimeter against Quincy Miller and was able to stay in front of his man, stay down on a pump fake and ultimately force a difficult fadeaway over his outstretched arms.
I see Withey as a rotation player in the league, but by no means a sure thing. He needs weight and a chip on his shoulder to take his game to the next level. I don't think NBA teams like passing on legit bigs, especially ones who have demonstrated a high learning curve. Whenever he decided to leave, my guess is late 1st round with a stash in the D league for a season.
Withey is a good kid and I like his improvment from two years ago, but he's no pro, he has the height, but lacks the athleticism, coordination, and the strength to survive at the next level.
At best he's a serviceable backup, but he will be nothing more than a backup.
No.....because his name is suspiciously close to WHITE-y.
agree. Rotation big is his future.
Yeah, I think he'll be a 2nd round pick in 2013. He's 7 foot tall and blocking 3 shots per game in a major conference, plus he's got a nice touch. He's an 83% FT shooter. He's held his own against 2012 first round picks this year too.
7 points 6 rebounds 4 blocks v Kentucky
14 points 10 rebounds 2 blocks v Duke
10 points 10 rebounds 3 blocks v Baylor
He's also pretty mobile and good in the open court and has a decent hook shot. He's still not very strong despite putting on 25 lbs in college, and has a terrible habit of bringing the ball down low in the post.
Good analysis ChrisP, I think you're pretty spot on.
I agree that he definatley has a place in the league.
He will never be a start imo, but a rotation big for 10 minutes a night isnt out of the question.
definately worth a look in the second round for a team, or even as an undrafted free agent.
Just curious if minds are changed one way or another.
I thought yes originally, but after the Missouri loss he's really changed his level of intensity. He's always played hard and i associated him getting pushed around a little to his lack of strength for a post player. Rarely you see a player change his demeanor as a player, it's usually kind of programmed in with their personality on the court, but I think since Jeff Withey hadn't played many minutes until this season, he's gained a lot of confidence and it's pretty obvious.
He's put up monster numbers in the past 3 games, at 20.3 ppg 12 rpg and 6.3 blocks, and he's really dangerous down low because even if he gets a a little over powered he's not afraid to take the contact and he's and 85% FT shooter who's gotten to the line 7,8, and 11 times in the last 3 games.
If he keeps up this intensity ( I know his numbers will probably level off a bit) he could be a 2nd rounder this season ( although I think he'll return to college next season ) or a late 1st round pick next year. Another year with Manning and another 10 lbs of muscle and this guy will be a hell of a player. He's an 85% FT shooter and as soon he gains enough confidence to start shooting 10-15 foot jumpers that will add another element to his emerging game.
I think this seems like high praise for a guy who's kind of come out of nowhere, but you can't teach his size and coordination/athleticism and I feel this showcase the last 3 games is more of an emergance as opposed to a hot streak.
No. He doesn't have great hands to me, and I don't see him defending NBA bigs all that effectively given his fairly thin frame. He also doesn't seem to be a great offensive talent at all. He could make it for a few years, but he's gonna be in and out of the league I'd expect. He shouldn't ever play more than 3rd C minutes at any time
^ Iggy, he's not exactly a low post tactician, but a guy who shoots 85% from the free throw has some offensive skill and the potential to develop a nice high post jump shot off a flash to the top of the key. He's also a pretty solid passer, he knows when to drop it off to Robinson when the defense collapses and he had a great over the shoulder pass to Kevin Young out of a double team last week. He has an alright jump hook as well.
You're right about his hands, they aren't the best, but he's gotten better about bringing the ball down when he gets it in the post.
I don't think he's a projected NBA starter, but a guy worth drafting because I think he could be a nice option off the bench, I also feel he'll be close to 250 lbs by the time he plays an NBA game. 7' tall, a nice help side shot blocker, 85% FT shooter, good work ethic and 6 fouls will land you a job in the NBA for 10 years.
He's a guy who doesn't look cool doing what he does so people think he's not skilled or un coordinated, but he's really becoming an effective player.