Jeff Withey's Stock Rising

      For the third consecutive game, the junior center set or tied a career-mark for the surging Jayhawks. Against Big 12 and in-state rival, Kansas State, Withey tied his mark of 9 blocks, nearly rounding out a triple-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. This is coming off of an 18-point, career-high 20-rebound, 7-block performance against Oklahoma State and before that it was a 25-point splash on the road at Baylor; against Baylor's athletic and deep frontline, Withey surpassed his previous career-high in scoring (15) during the first half by finishing down low (8-of-10 from the floor) and converting at the foul line (9-for-11). His three-game averages are 20.3 points, 12 rebounds and 6.3 blocks, obviously quite impressive considering Withey scored exactly zero points two weeks ago against an undersized Missouri team. It's just as impressive compared to his season numbers in the other 23 games Kansas has played this season- leading to marks of 8.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.

        His rise as one of the top centers (at least in this three-game sample) gives Kansas the most talented interior duo combining Withey's 7-foot shot-blocking and low-post scoring prowess with the burly Thomas Robinson, a master on the boards and scoring inside and out. On a personal level, Withey was not on many draft boards entering the season, but he did not have much time to showcase his talents; he played just 207 minutes over 38 career-games (5.5 minutes) in his two years prior to this season. So there is a bit of a learning curve for the junior, but he offers great size, mobility and an immediate defensive presence. If he can chisel out muscle onto his 7-foot frame and continue to develop his post moves, there is no reason why Withey could not rise to the likes of a first round pick in 2012 or even higher in 2013.

By President Corey Ruff - 2 - 16 - 12